Hand Dug Well In Nicaragua
Rinconada Village, Nicaragua
Rinconada Village is a remote community with 50 families (252 people) dispersed throughout a forested valley. It is located in the municipality of ElSauce, which is approximately a three hour drive from the capital, Managua. To reach the community from El Sauce, one must drive one hour on a dirt road and an additional one hour on horseback (as shown in photo below).
The Rinconada Village Project consisted of the construction of one hand dug well and rope pump (as shown in photo above) and 50 latrines, each located at a home site. The community provided all the labor to construct the facilities and a local organization purchased all the materials and will provide all long-term follow-up. for the project.
The social norms in this community are very traditional. The women and children carry water two or three times a day for the various domestic chores, cooking and cleaning, while the men take charge of the farming, bringing the firewood, etc. The typical level of education of community members is sixth grade.
Training was provided to the community to maintain the well and latrines in good condition and applying any minor repairs that are necessary. In addition, a health education program was established, instructing on health prevention, hygienic use of water and a latrine. Lastly, native trees were planted near the watershed area and community members learned about environmental health and reforestation.
Prior to this project, villagers walked to a nearby stream (shown in picture to right) to use the water for drinking, bathing and cooking. Without a latrine, villagers practiced open defecation. All of the families have horses and farm animals, including chickens, pigs, which roam freely and often defecate near and within the stream.
Poor sanitation facilities resulted in the water source becoming vulnerable by fecal contamination and the spread of microbial disease (bacteria and viruses). Microbial diseases cause diarrheal symptoms, which if persistent can cause death. This is especially true with young children who do not have a strong immune system to fight off the invading microbes. Therefore, a clean water source and the health of the community is directly dependent on sanitation facilities.
It is women and children who are responsible for locating and transporting water. Fulfilling this daily responsibility often leaves little or no time for women to pursue developmental opportunities and for the young to get an education – and so poverty continues.
Because of this project, everyone now has access to clean water from a well and has a latrine at their home site. Clean water will make this community healthier, especially effecting young children who are most susceptible to illness due to their fragile immune systems.
Women and children have time to pursue other things with their spare time, including education or working opportunities. Due to the training that was provided to the community, everyone now knows how to maintain the well and latrines to remain in good condition. Some community members decorated their latrine (as shown in the bottom right photo) to personalize their latrine and show their pride of having such a facility.