Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

We often take our health for granted. Most of our daily hygiene practices or routines to maintain good health were instilled in us from our parents and schools at such a young age that we don’t remember learning.  For most of us they just seem innate. But this isn’t true for everyone.  Some cultures don’t know that their sickness is coming from the water they drink or from walking on the contaminated ground. Human excrement has been implicated in the transmission of many infectious diseases including cholera, typhoid, infectious hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, and ascariasis. Diarrheal diseases are the most common problem caused by poor sanitation and contaminated water. Developing good sanitation and hygiene can also prevent these issues. Acute respiratory infections can also be caused by poor sanitation. And while most reading this take this knowledge for granted the village where we are doing our next project has never been told and therefore have never made the connection of their actions to disease and sickness.  This project is about educating the village on cause and effect;  making those connections so they become empowered with the knowledge we take for granted that allows us to maintain good health and a better quality of life.


Bocas del Toro/Comarca Ngobe Bugle


This project will take place from approximately June 10th through the 16th, 2017.


We will be working with the non profit Give and Surf on this project.  We have worked with them before and they will continue beyond the work we do as they have an ongoing relationship in the community. Their focus is on education.  We will be giving them specific educational materials on water-borne and waste-borne disease prevention which they will disseminate in the community.

The Scope of Work. 

Give and Surf has previously built a building in the village for community activities such as education. We will construct a bathroom and a hand washing station next to this existing building which they will use as a model to teach the community the benefits of sanitation and hygiene practices. To do this we will need to pour a concrete foundation and floor, build wood walls and rafter system and install a metal roof. There will be one door and a small window for ventilation in the structure. We will install a basic septic system consisting of a plastic retention tank, now required by Panama law, and a small leaching area of stones set below grade. We will install a standard toilet in the bathroom and a double sink basin outside of the bathroom. We will also install a water catchment system on the existing roof structure to allow a clean water source. While doing this we will be working alongside community members on this project to further educate on the construction methods.


In community development work we maintain the discipline of the empowerment approach.  The first step in empowerment is realizing there is a need for change and recognizing what can be done to make the necessary change. This bathroom/wash station will be set in place as a model to be used for education.  It will serve as an example that can be used by the community and the community will be encouraged to do so.  Eventually there will come a point when the community will realize the need to use it and the demand for more bathrooms will arise.  At that moment we will assist them in meeting that need.

Between now and then Give and Surf will be working to strengthen water committees to manage and conserve water resources; train on management, and maintenance of water/sanitation systems; conduct awareness campaigns, trainings, and other events about hygiene topics such as personal hygiene, hand washing, and food preparation.

Partner With Us

This project will cost about $7,250.00 and those funds will come through donations from you. Donate below today and watch for our progress updates.  Enter the tax deductible amount you want to give below and when you click the donate tab you will have the option of using PayPal or a Debit/Credit Card.

San Cristobal: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

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