April 23, 2019


EWB at WSU plans to assist various communities throughout the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé in the education and construction of ventilated pit latrines.  Currently, the minority of households have a latrine and practice open defecation either on land or in the nearest river or stream which introduces numerous health concerns.  Numerous communities, including one name Loro Arriba, have expressed an interest to learn how to construct and maintain healthier sanitation systems.  For this reason, WSU EWB members will implement their first 5 latrines in Loro Arriba this coming June 2019.  In order to foster a sense of ownership and pride for the latrines, families receiving latrines from EWB will supply 80% of the needed materials.  EWB students will then assist with labor and training to recipient families.  The latrine trainings will be open to the public so that families able to afford all materials on their own will still be able to learn best practices for latrine construction.

The ventilated pit latrine (VIP Latrine) design consists of a 3-meter-deep by 1-meter wide hole, a movable 1.4 meter by 1.4-meter reinforced concrete slab, and a small house structure for privacy and sanitation.  The concrete slab is designed to only require 1 bag of cement, reducing the cost of construction to an affordable level for community members.  The ventilation is provided by a 4-inch PVC pipe that runs from half the depth of the pit, through the small house enclosure, and then out through the roof.  The outside end of the PVC pipe is capped with a mesh material in order to trap entering flies or bugs in the pit and not let them escape through the covered pipe.  This cuts down on bacteria transmission from flies to food and people as well as cuts down on odor from the latrine.  The reduced insects and odor surrounding the latrine not only has numerous health benefits, but also encourages regular use from the community therefore decreasing the practice of open defecation.