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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2006 Projects

July 15, 2006

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your July 2006 report for The $10 Club.

The community of La Pita is a rural village located 26 kilometers southeast of the municipality of Ciudad Dario, specifically in the district of Hispangual, in Nicaragua. There are 20 families there with 89 people in them, and 19 houses in the village (two families share one house). Most of the homes are of adobe, clay, or scrap lumber, and a few are made of local brick.

The economic activity of the village is cultivation of basic grains (beans, corn, and sorghum) in the rainy months. Although some people sell their labor to larger producers, the majority are subsistence farmers who work only with their own funds, without agricultural credit from any organization or the government. The average monthly income is about 950 cordobas, or US $54.

This village has electricity and a water supply from the nearby village of Sonzapote, constructed with the financing of ENACAL (the government water ministry) about 4 years ago. Their biggest current health problem is the lack of sanitary facilities.

The majority of the families have been using latrines, but they finished their useful life some time ago (they are more than 10 years old). As a result, the latrines are all full and closed, and the villagers have to defecate in the bushes. They do not have the economic resources to replace the latrines.

This month, 323 of us joined together to donate $3,230 to El Porvenir to construct 19 latrines in the La Pita community. Our grant will fund the bricks, cement, sand, precast floors and seats, zinc for the roof, nails, pipes, hinges, wood, hasp locks, tools, and staff time including hygiene workshops. The members of the community are all ready to provide the voluntary labor for the project, such as in digging the latrine holes and constructing their own family latrine. You make the rest possible.

When I told El Porvenir’s Carole Harper that we would be able to support her project this month she replied: “You have now joined the ranks of the blessed, along with catholic nuns, of those who fund latrine projects. God bless you and all your donors!!” Thank you.

These are traditional pit latrines, hand dug by the beneficiaries about 9 feet deep. The pit is lined with brick or block or stones and cement mix, to reduce filtration into the soil. The floor and seat are precast concrete. The walls and roof are zinc. They will last 5 to 10 years depending on the size of the family. The average is about 7 years and these latrine houses are substantially recyclable.

Without latrines there is a serious risk of proliferation of vector insects such as flies and consequently there are epidemics of diarrhea or even more serious diseases such as cholera and parasitosis. The most affected are small children—two million children die globally each year from diarrhea and the resultant dehydration and malnutrition. In fact, in the 1990s diarrhea led to the deaths of more children than all people killed in armed conflict since World War II. In the past five years there have been hundreds of cases of diarrhea treated at two different health posts in this specific municipality in Nicaragua.

Roughly one-third of people in Nicaragua lack access to adequate sanitation. United Nations Millennium Development Goal # 7 is to ensure environmental sustainability, with one of the targets being to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.”

Thank you for doing your part to reach this objective.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org