Carijana, Bolivia

An evening soccer match after a long day at work. The main source of entertainment in Carijana is their soccer field.

About Carijana

Carijana is a vibrant community of about 50 families who all share a passion for soccer. Most days you will find everyone in the community gathered around the soccer court that they have in their community square, passing around a bag of oranges to snack on. This lovely community is located Northwest of the city of La Paz in the Andes mountains. It is because of their remoteness that they have come to EWB seeking help getting the resources they need. Most families in Carijana currently lack access to adequate sanitation, specifically latrines and hand-washing. This has contributed to numerous waterborne-illnesses among the community members, which affect their ability to farm and work. However, this does not stop the community from innovating and thriving. With so many brilliant minds in this community all they need is a strong foundation to support them.

Our Partnership

The community reached out to EWB Pitt in 2018, with the project being confirmed early in 2019, to design and construct personal latrines for each household. In May 2019, we completed an assessment trip to gather information about the community and the status quo. Surveys from that assessment trip as well as information from the community doctor indicated that illness due to contaminated drinking water impacts nearly every member of the community. The travel team then worked with our chapter’s full project team to design a latrine with the community. The final design, chosen and agreed upon by the community, has been used to construct 50 latrines so far. The implementations in 2020 and 2021 were conducted remotely due to the pandemic, and we were able to conduct in-person implementations in 2022 and 2023. This year in 2024, we will be constructing additional latrines and closing out the project with a monitoring and evaluation trip.

The project lead and community leader sign the Project Partnership Agreement which sets guidelines and expectations for the project. 

Project Timeline

Assessment (Jan. 2019 - Aug. 2019)

In May 2019, five members of our chapter, along with a mentor, traveled to Carijana to conduct an assessment trip. They met with community members, tested the water to obtain baseline data, surveyed the pre-existing health practices and health beliefs of the community members, assessed the pre-existing sanitation system, and began building a relationship with the community. 

Alternatives Analysis (Aug. 2019 - July 2020)

That information was then used by the chapter to work towards the best solution for Carijana. During the Fall of 2019 and Spring of 2020, we iterated through various latrine designs with community input. We received additional input after the first implementation trip leading to our final design of a twin-pit pour-flush latrine that can be seen in the CAD model.

CAD model of our twin-pit pour-flush design.

Implementation (Aug. 2020 - June 2024)

Implementation Trip 1: October 2020 (5/50 latrines)

Our initial plan was to travel to Carijana in Summer 2020, however due to the pandemic travel was restricted and funding dried up. Despite COVID-19, we continued to make progress by working more closely with our in-country partner, Engineers in Action (EIA). We shipped the materials for the first 5 latrines along with a construction guide, a mason and a representative from EIA. The community had adobe bricks prepared that were used to construct the superstructure. The mason and EIA representative helped the community build the first 2 latrines and taught the community the construction process. After the EIA team left in early October 2020, we continued to remotely monitor the construction and installation of the other three latrines during the months of October 2020 and early November 2020. 

We were able to send our education plan for health and sanitation as well as a maintenance guide for caring for the latrines. By using locally sourced materials and providing the community with the expertise needed for sanitation, EWB Pitt hopes to make a sustainable and lasting impact on the Carijana community during this and future assessment trips.

Implementation Trip 2: September 2021 (20/50 latrines)

After getting feedback from the community, we redesigned the latrine. With travel restrictions still in place we were not able to travel. Thus we conducted another remote implementation with the help of our partner EIA. In September 2021, materials for 15 more latrines and 2 masons were sent to the community along with our updated construction and public health plans. All latrines were successfully constructed brining the total number of latrines to 20

Implementation Trip 3: August 2022 (35/50 latrines)

Travel restrictions are lifted! On the third round of implementation we were finally able to return to the community where we received a warm welcome. On this trip, in addition to overseeing the construction of 15 additional latrines, we accomplished aspects that were not able to be done remotely: conduct household interviews, gather public health data, have meetings with different groups to get feedback and answer questions, inspect previously built latrines, teach how to build tippy-taps (a handwashing station that can be built with local materials) and then use one to run a handwashing activity with the children at school, share the long-term maintenance plans, and more. We accomplished and learned a lot. Today, more than half the community has access to a toilet which according to the local doctor has already led to a 30% drop in intestinal sickness among children.

Implementation Trip  4:  August 2023 (50/55* latrines)

In August 2023, our chapter returned to Carijana to construct 15 additional latrines. Alongside overseeing this construction, we engaged in various public health initiatives. We facilitated separate focus groups for men and women, creating a platform for discussions on relevant health topics. Additionally, we identified necessary long-term maintenance procedures to ensure the sustained functionality of the facilities. Our commitment to community well-being extended to ongoing sanitation education sessions, particularly with the children. Through these efforts, we aimed to contribute not only to immediate infrastructure needs but also to promote lasting public health awareness in the community. 

Implementation Trip 5:  June 2024 (55/55* latrines)

Since the project began, the community has grown. In 2023, the chapter agreed to expand the project to construct 5 additional latrines. These last latrines will be constructed via remote-implementation as a partnership with EIA.

Monitoring and Evaluation (June 2024 - Aug. 2024)

On the upcoming Monitoring and Evaluation Trip in August 2024 we will collect data to measure the impact of our project on the health of community members and the environment. This trip marks the conclusion of the project.

The 2022 travel team poses by the sign for Carijana.

The 2022 travel team works with the community to distribute materials.

The 2023 travel team teaches a lesson on sanitary education.

A latrine completed during the 2023 implementation trip.

Photos of the Construction Process

Some Completed Latrines