Without reliable access to safe water, marginalized communities face the largest burden of disease. Lack of clean water leads to waterborne illnesses, children missing school (with girls disproportionately affected), stifled economic growth, and poor hygiene. In Nicaragua, 800,000 people lack access to clean drinking water, resulting in 100+ annual deaths of children from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor hygiene practices. 

Yarisleidy Cortez holding a training session about bio-sand filters with community health promoters

In 2021, 50 families from Los Robles, Nicaragua will receive bio-sand filters. We have made the switch from ceramic filters to bio-sand filters for two main reasons. First, the materials used to construct the filters can all be sourced locally at affordable prices. Secondly, the bio-sand design can last up to 30 years if maintained properly, compared to the 5-10 years of ceramic filters. Participating families must invest 16 hours of community service in projects like road repair, bridge construction, school maintenance, and health seminars.

The Nica Agua program directly addresses Sustainable Development Goal # 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, established by the United Nations, for the purpose of improving the quality of water available to families through accessible technology. In addition, because access to clean water is so important, the program also overlaps with other goals, including: 

SDG # 1: Zero poverty:

SDG # 2 Health and well-being:

Nica Agua improves the health of families, especially growing children and infants.

SDG # 9: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure:

The program employs proven, easy-to-use technology that improves water quality. It also contributes to the development and improvement of community infrastructure as beneficiary families meet community service requirements. 

SDG # 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities:

A healthy and united community can better adapt when faced with difficulties and limitations 

SDG # 17: Partnerships for the goals.

The success and community adoption of the project are dependent upon the collective efforts of all involved stakeholders. 

Rosario Granados with her bio-sand filter

Over the next year, participating families will be surveyed monthly in addition to water quality tests to ensure the filters are working properly. Families will also receive training about filter use and maintenance. As we look ahead, we intend for this data collection to be the foundation of future rounds of filter distribution in Los Robles, San Esteban, and new communities. Stay tuned over the next few months for updates as the project progresses. 

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