The best toilet in the village

Alfonso wants nothing more than to give his two boys a good start in life. Until recently, this felt impossible. His tiny village is perched so high up on the mountains that his family had no clean water or safe sanitation. Dreaming for anything other than water or food or good health would have been too much of a luxury…

Yet thanks to his work with Practical Action, life for Alfonso and his children is beginning to shine a little brighter. In the early summer of 2010, Alfonso was given both materials and training to build “very nice toilets” in his own home. Alfonso was initially suspicious:

“When Practical Action first explained how the toilet worked, I thought it was very strange, and that it would never work. But after the training we received, I realised that it is very easy to use, and most importantly, that the waste can be used to fertilize our pastures!”

After he finished building his eco-san latrine, Alfonso’s toilet was thought to be so good that it won First Prize in the contest for the best toilet in the village!

In addition to constructing an eco-san latrine, the project has allowed Alonso to benefit from a community water system and a new stove for his kitchen. He has also been given training on good water hygiene and the safe disposal of rubbish.

These may be only simple ideas and technologies, but for Alfonso they have transformed everything:

“Practical Action’s work has opened my eyes to the future. I now have a different mentality, and am hopeful for the future of my children. They don’t suffer anymore, like my brother and I did when we were young. I think they will have a better life now. Everyone in my village is so grateful because we are working together to improve life for everyone – especially the children. I hope that there will be more projects of this kind to remember those of us who live in the highlands of the Andes.”

Water and sanitation

Conventional market mechanisms do not always deliver clean water and sanitation in small towns in Peru and Bolivia. New management models and local capacity building is required.

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