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Poverty Alleviation Projects

November 4, 2010

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your October 2010 report for The $10 Club.

Lack of water and sanitation facilities creates hardships for women and children: children suffer from otherwise preventable diseases such as diarrhea, parasites, and skin infections; women spend hours a day carrying water in 40 pound buckets for all their household needs.

The UN has found that access to clean drinking water dramatically improves child welfare and family living standards, reduces disease and child mortality, frees girls’ and women’s time, and improves school attendance and performance.

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and approximately 80% of the population lives in poverty, surviving on less than $2 a day. More than half of Nicaragua’s population of 5.8 million people lacks access to clean drinking water and sanitation, relying instead on polluted streams and rivers as their only source of water. The same streams and rivers that supply water for drinking and cooking are also used for cleaning hand-held pesticide pumps, washing clothes, and bathing. Livestock and other animals bathe in and drink from the same water sources as well. These conditions result in contaminated water which is unsuitable for human consumption.

Currently, the 68 families in Nicaragua’s El Tanque community do not have access to clean drinking water. Their existing well is an artisanal open air well and does not provide clean water suitable for human consumption. The water is contaminated and muddy, and families often suffer from diarrhea and other preventable diseases related to poor sanitation and unclean water. The families undertook hand digging a new well in 2009-2010, but hit solid rock that did not allow them to continue digging.

The community does not have a school or a clinic, and only half the families have electricity in their homes. The residents of El Tanque are subsistence farmers who live in extreme poverty and can’t afford to buy the construction materials themselves to drill and build a well. Sadly, other development institutions that undertake water/sanitation projects won’t work with communities this small.

This month, 310 of us joined together to donate $3,100 to El Porvenir (EP) to assist 408 people in Nicaragua in gaining access to clean drinking water, as well as health and hygiene education. A hydrogeology study conducted by EP indicates that the water table is at a depth of 200 feet, and it will be necessary to drill the well. EP will provide building materials and technical assistance to facilitate effective drilling. The community will provide the labor, and will be responsible for building and maintaining the well. In addition, EP will provide health and hygiene education to children and families, so that they learn good sanitation and waste management practices. Thank you.

The project consists of four components, the first of which has already been completed.

1. In phase one, the community identified and committed local resources to the project, agreed to the ongoing repair and maintenance of the facilities, identified volunteers, and created a labor schedule for project completion from start to finish.

2. In phase two, construction materials will be acquired and delivered; EP will provide training and technical assistance in well construction, operation and maintenance; and one new well will be drilled and built (with a concrete or brick ring, lined with rocks, bricks or cement, covered with concrete lid, and fenced off to keep animals out).

3. In phase three, the community will learn how to reduce water and sanitation-related illnesses through good hygiene practices through a series of health workshops on hand washing, proper latrine maintenance, and the connection between water, sanitation and disease.

4. In phase four, the community will learn how to increase infiltration and aquifer recharge and to prevent landslides and soil erosion through reforestation and conservation. Each family will be provided with a set of five grafted fruit trees to plant in their yards, and a community seedling nursery will be established to provide transplant seedlings for further reforestation.

Globally, contaminated water is the second greatest cause of infant mortality – an estimated 1.5 million children die each year as a result of illnesses linked to unsafe drinking water and inadequate sanitation. Studies undertaken in Nicaragua indicate that access to clean water and sanitation can reduce risk of diarrhea in children by up to 30%.

This project will build community capacity and organization, improve children’s health by reducing incidences of diseases linked to poor sanitation and contaminated water (parasites, diarrhea, stomach infections, rashes etc.), as well as reduce burdens on women and children from carrying water.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,


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Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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