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Latrines improve health in Honduran community

CFCA Healthy Communities Fund helps build latrines in Honduras
Residents of Cipresal, Honduras, unpack ceramic toilet basins for
their new latrines. The CFCA Healthy Communities Fund helped
provide materials to build 19 latrines in Cipresal. Click the photo
to see more about the latrine construction.

May 31, 2012

Families in a mountain village in Honduras ensured a healthier future for their children by partnering with CFCA to improve sanitation.

Residents of Cipresal, a community near Ocotepeque, recently completed construction of 19 latrines, one for each family.

Support from the CFCA Healthy Communities Fund has provided materials to build latrines in Cipresal and several other Honduran communities served by the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.

Santos, whose 7-year-old son, Kevin, is sponsored through CFCA, said having access to latrines is life-changing for the families of Cipresal.

"... It's going to be a different life now with regards to health and with the environment better protected," Santos said.

Kevin, CFCA sponsored child in Honduras, and family
From left are Santos, Maria and their son, Kevin,
who is sponsored through CFCA's Hope for a
Family program in Honduras. The family
received a new latrine through a CFCA grant.

Before construction started in March 2011, poor sanitation contaminated the water in Cipresal and communities downstream. The Marchala River flows through Cipresal to the valley below.

Jesus Mejia Serrano, the CFCA social worker for Cipresal, worked with the families to raise awareness about the risks inadequate sanitation posed for their children, such as contracting parasites and intestinal diseases. Also, families lacked the privacy and comfort that come with convenient access to a latrine.

The new latrines have changed that.

"Now, it's easier to use the bathroom at night and during the rainy season," said Rosa, mother of sponsored children Henry and Wilmer.

More than 2.6 billion people in the world lack access to toilets, according to UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

The Cipresal latrine project is a good example of a project supported by the CFCA Healthy Communities Fund, said Ana Martinez, CFCA project director for Honduras.

To build one latrine, families:

  1. Identified a location away from natural
    water sources, but close to potable water
    so it would be easy to clean the basin.
  2. Dug the waste pit. Pits are 86 square feet
    and last eight to 10 years.
  3. Poured a foundation with four studs for
    the latrine.
  4. Poured a cement top for the waste pit.
  5. Set the ceramic toilet basin on top of
    the foundation.
  6. Connected the basin to the waste pit with
    PVC pipe.
  7. Enclosed the latrine with sheet metal.

"Anything involving the health and hygiene of the children, like medical situations or community cleaning efforts, those things apply really well to this fund," Martinez said.

The fund has also supported latrine construction in Suyapa and cervical cancer screenings for mothers of sponsored children in Santa Barbara. Both are Honduran communities served by CFCA.

In addition to funding a health or hygiene project, CFCA raises awareness on how the project will improve the families' health, Martinez said.

"It's part of CFCA's effort to create a culture of learning and increase the worldview of the families, helping them understand they are part of something bigger," Martinez said. "The latrine project not only benefits the family, but also the community."

Families in Cipresal worked together on the project, and their efforts resulted in a more cohesive community.

"Through this project, families have managed to learn positive things like teamwork, responsibility, how to prioritize needs and care of the environment," said Luis Jaco, coordinator of CFCA's Ocotepeque project.

CFCA Healthy Communities Fund

Donate to the CFCA Healthy Communities Fund

Improve the health and hygiene of sponsored members, their families and their communities by funding initiatives that provide treatment services for illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, supply equipment and therapeutic services for sponsored members with disabilities, dig wells for clean water, provide hygiene education, build sanitary toilets and address other sanitation needs. Learn more »
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