In 2015, the Tierra Grata Foundation emerged in Cartagena and since then its members have been dedicated to finding environmentally friendly solutions for communities that lack access to basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation. Thus, Baño Grato was born, the ecological sanitation program that does not require water for its operation and that generates compost, with which they obtained the first place in the IV Pavco Water Prize category 19 to 28 years.
According to the World Health Organization, 600 million people share a toilet or latrine with other homes, and 892 million – mostly in rural areas – still defecate in the open air. As a result, 361,000 children under the age of 5 die each year from diarrhea. Poor sanitation and contaminated water are also linked to the transmission of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid fever.
To date, three of these ecological toilets have been installed: the first prototype in the village of San Basilio de Palenque and two more in the sector of Isla de León in Cartagena, benefiting close to 25 people.
The families and teams of volunteers participate in the installation of the toilets, which implies a day of work and a total of three months of hard work since the start of awareness and training sessions to families and communities. They also make follow-up visits to ensure its correct use, the useful life is ten years depending on the care taken, and the fertilizer obtained every six months is used in gardens.
At the head of the Foundation Tierra Grata is Jenifer Colpas (with a master’s degree in social responsibility); Alexander Durán, industrial designer and Omer Morante, student of Environmental Engineering. All of them were united by the same dream: to lead projects of community intervention and volunteering.
This work is carried out mainly in rural areas of the department of Bolívar, in the districts of San Basilio de Palenque, Gambote, Vereda Púa, and Caño del Loro, and in urban areas such as Isla de León in the periphery of Cartagena, and in the neighborhood Las Nieves of Barranquilla. This tool has also been applied to new communities, such as Silverio, in the municipality of San Estanislao, Bolívar, where another intervention project is being carried out.
The construction of each toilet and social intervention costs around two million pesos, money obtained through donations and other recognitions for their initiatives. In fact, the resources contributed by the Pavco Foundation through the IV Water Prize, have been allocated to improve the current prototype and the installation of four new toilets, to benefit more families, who were already selected. “We are redesigning the ecological toilets achieving structural modifications that will reduce logistics costs and improve product quality,” says Alexánder Durán.
From: Caracol Radio
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