Safe WASH Program for Students in La Jagua, Honduras

Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Initiative in the Pedro Nufio School, La Jagua, Escuapa, Danlí

Written by: Annette Butty, PWW Honduras Intern

La Jagua is a village located about one hour, by truck, from Danlí, a small city in southern Honduras. Forty students, ages 5 to 15, attend the local school, Escuela Pedro Nufio. Anna is the teacher of Escuela Pedro Nufio and is responsible for educating all 40 children in the school.

Until very recently, the only water point of the school was a well with a hand pump. Students had to pump water for 15 minutes to fill a 20 liter bucket. They used bucket after bucket of contaminated water for drinking, as well as cleaning the blackboard and the classroom. Students also had to carry heavy water buckets from the well to the latrines, located on the opposite side of the school playground.

A year ago, the Community Health Center of La Jagua reported many cases of diarrhea, with some cases of children diagnosed with hepatitis. The situation in La Jagua was identified as “critical”, in dire need of safe water and sanitation solutions.

To support the health and wellbeing of the children of La Jagua, the teacher and parents came to Pure Water for the World to collaborate and focus on what could be done to improve the health situation at the school.

Last month, the Pure Water for the World team came, along with amazing volunteers, to implement a comprehensive safe WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) program at Escuela Pedro Nufio.

Thanks to funding provided by Rotary District 7870 (southern NH & VT) and a group of volunteers from the United States that have become well-known as The Amigos of Honduras, a biosand water filter was installed in the school’s classroom and three latrines, with five taps in the hand-washing station, were constructed. What’s more, an electric generator was installed to pump the water from the well. Now, it takes only 10 minutes to fill the 400 liter water tank!

A very special thank you goes to Chris Parkinson and Tony Gilmore for their remarkable efforts with organizing the teamwork in Honduras.

The students and the teacher were very excited during the entire installation and construction process, as they knew it would dramatically improve the health and safety situation at the school.

To support the long-term success of the program, hygiene training was given to Anna, the teacher, and David, President of the Parent Association, about how to effectively use the filter and latrines as well as how to safely maintain them.

Anna took on the responsibility of pouring a bucket of water into the filter each morning. Students are in charge of bringing their own water bottles that they will fill and use each day so they are always drinking safe, clean water at school.

The teacher, parents, and students are overjoyed with the new latrines. To help them understand how to safely use the latrines and hand-washing stations, a variety of educational activities were performed, by the PWW team, with the students and Anna.

The community of La Jagua feels tremendous relief that their children now have safe water to drink and safe bathroom facilities at school.

Because of this project, these students no longer have to spend a significant part of every school day pumping and transporting water that was not even safe to drink! Instead, they can now focus on learning in the classroom, and they can spend their break time just being children, having fun on the playground!

“We have been looking forward to having these installations for many years,” says Juan Bautista, the former teacher of Escuela Pedro Nufio, who retired after 30 years. “We are proud of how much the students’ parents and Anna have gotten involved and contributed to help carry out the project with Pure Water for the World and The Amigos of Honduras. Thank you so much.”

Not only will this project change the lives of these 40 children, it will continue to impact the lives of all of the students who will come to this school in future years!

Thank you so very much Rotary District 7870 and The Amigos of Honduras for generously supporting the children, families and community of La Jagua and creating lasting change.