In December, we told you about the community of La Zarca and their need for adequate sanitation. Now we’re happy to announce our staff in Mexico have been working with the community to build Healthy Latrines™!
We’ve shared about what goes into our community-based projects and disaster response approach, so in honor of the beginning of this newest project we thought we would to break down how we build sustainable sanitation.
After tearing down their old, unsanitary latrines, work can begin on the new project. Before the day construction begins, our staff has already met with the community to plan out the project site. Community members and staff members always construct the new Healthy Latrines™ together.
Every latrine has two components—the privacy structure and the latrine pit—connected by a pipe. Construction begins with the team laying out the pipe in freshly dug earth. Once the pipe is laid out, they can set up the wooden frame for the latrine base. Next, they dig an eight foot deep pit. This rock-lined pit connects to the latrine base through the pipe.
Once both the latrine base and the latrine pit have been framed with wood, the team fills both frames with concrete.
After the concrete dries, it’s time to set up the latrine mold.
Every latrine gets constructed with an aluminum form that serves as a mold for the concrete privacy structure. The metal pieces screw together to form the structure. As the team sets up the mold, they coat the insides with vegetable oil to make sure the concrete they’ll pour inside doesn’t stick.
Once the form is up and ready to go, the team will mix concrete for the privacy structure. They add fibers to reinforce the structure and make the concrete stronger.
Once the concrete is mixed, our team will pour it into each metal mold.
Once the concrete gets poured, the team leaves it to set for 24 hours.
The next day, the team gathers together to unscrew the metal form from the latrine.
Once the metal form comes off, the team installs a pour-flush toilet in each privacy structure and a simple wood door. Then, finally, the latrine is ready for use!
Our staff in Mexico will continue to work with the community of La Zarca as they continue to construct latrines. They are also looking at other potential sanitation projects in communities in Mexico.