1 in 10 Bolivians lack access to safe water.
We construct metered distribution systems specifically designed to meet the needs of the individual village. We plan and work in partnership with communities and local governments to make systems that are appropriate for the technology available in the community. Families are responsible for assisting with manual labor and financially contribute for their own domestic connection. Water committees are created by local elections; members are trained and educated on the maintenance of the system as well as a process for collecting fees to allow long term sustainability.
In 2009, La Banda, a rural area consisting of 8 villages, had poor water infrastructure. While some villages had access to water, others did not. We began our work. With clean water, villagers began to see the connection to better health and asked for additional training. We began our Health Promoter's program. Each village now has its own small health care system. Not quite done-- as clean water became available and recognition of the causes of poor health, another piece of critical infrastructure was sought, bathrooms. Communities requested a final project leading to clean sanitation, replacing open defecation. Our goal became to leave these villages with clean water systems with trained water committees, health promoters and medicines available in each village and finally a viable sanitation system in each village by 2015. We are proud to say "Mission Accomplished".
1 in 5 Bolivians lack access to a sanitary toilet.
We construct and educate communities on the use of dry-ecological composting latrines and water containment systems replacing shallow pit latrines or open defecation. Program goals include improving hygiene habits involving excreta disposal through latrine, hand-washing and safe water practices reducing water-related illnesses including intestinal parasites, diarrhea, dengue, and scabies.
Reina lives in the community of La Reforma with her husband and five children. She attended all of the Etta Projects workshops about sanitation and hygiene, now religiously separates her trash and sold all of her feral pigs after learning about the dangers of domestic animals running around her living space. When Etta Projects started building eco-latrines in her community she signed up and began saving the money for her share. She learned through the workshops that it would change their lives. Because of her continued participation and motivation, her family completed their latrine first!
3 in 10 births in rural Bolivia are without access to trained healthcare.
By training village women to become certified Health Promoters, healthcare becomes local and available. Health Promoters are able to perform life saving measures, suture wounds, assist with child birth, administer antibiotics and educate their community on disease prevention, family planning, nutrition, hygiene, child, adolescent and community health. They become vocal advocates for the overall health of their community.
"I used to I spent all my time in the house or in the sugar cane fields doing heavy labor" says Martha, a health promoter. Now she is equipped with the skills to make a difference in her community. "I delivered a baby in the ambulance at 11pm one night. The ambulance driver arrived at my house and said, 'Someone needs you, I can't find a doctor and I don't know if I can get this mom to the hospital in time'. The hospital was over an hour away and the baby was close. "My training made the difference for two lives!" "Now, I am studying nursing and my kids see me as an example. My husband is learning to accept my independence; this is a big change in our very traditional culture".
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