Escuela Oficial Urbana Mixta La Cienaga Handwashing Station – Guatemala

Barrio La Cienaga, Municipality of San Cristobal Totonicapan, Department of Totonicapan, Guatemala

Community Description
La Cienaga is a small community of 1,250 inhabitants of both Mayan and Spanish descent, only 2 km by 2 km in size and located 1,500 m outside the municipality of San Cristobal Totonicapan. Most of the community has access to a paved road, so it is teeming with activity.

There are many churches and schools, in addition to various factories and farms dedicated to the cultivation of corn, wheat, beans, and potatoes. Community members are farmers, bread makers, drivers, and business owners, to name a few of the more common occupations. All of the members speak Spanish and/or K’iche, the Mayan language of the region.

 The school Escuela Oficial Urbana Mixta Barrio La Cienaga is one of 3 urban public primary schools. It has two primary school sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The morning session serves 258 children from the community who are 5 to 14 years old, kindergarten to 6th grade. This session has been involved in the Healthy Schools program since 2001 and was certified as healthy in 2004.

All 10 teachers give 3 health lessons a week and ensure that their students come to school clean. Each class has a health corner equipped with the utensils needed to practice healthy habits, a daily review of personal hygiene, and a system in place for the students to wash their hands before eating the school snack.

However, the classrooms lack a teeth-brushing system for after snack due to many reasons. For one, the 6 existing faucets are located within the bathrooms, and the lack of space increases the amount of time needed for teeth brushing. Also, there should be one faucet for every class, so due to the increase in the number of classrooms over the years, the students are in need of at least 4 more faucets for the effective practice of healthy habits.

The afternoon session of Educacion Especial tends to special needs children who are unable to hear or speak. The 25 students range in age from 5 to 24 and travel from many other communities to receive the more individualized attention that the school provides. This session only started its involvement in the Healthy Schools program this year. However, the 2 teachers have already taken the initiative to give a lengthy health lesson each week and ensure that their students come to school clean. Both classes have a health corner equipped with the needed utensils, a daily informal review of hygiene, and systems in place for the students to wash their hands and brush their teeth.

The school has not had many problems with the water supply due to their use of a community well and mechanical pump. Therefore, the students have access to water basically all the time. The school is equipped with flush toilets and a drainage system, and the main tubes are located on school property.

Project Description
This project is the construction of a handwashing station with 7 faucets at the school.

There is enough space in the area between the bathrooms and the kitchen to construct a wall-style handwashing station. It will be one large cement structure, reinforced with iron rods, and placed against the wall connecting the bathroom building to the kitchen. The station will be connected to the existing tubes already in place for the bathroom faucets. Faucets in this new location will allow the students easier access to water in order to practice all of the healthy habits.

The needed materials include cement and iron bars for the main structure, as well as a variety of PVC pipes, faucets, wire, gravel, tiles, nails, glue, paint, and other accessories. All of the materials are available from hardware stores within the community.

Project funds will be used specifically for the materials and supplies.

Knowledgeable community members will provide the skilled labor, and parents of the students will provide the unskilled labor, both free of charge.

Project Impact
283 students and their families, in addition to the 12 teachers, will benefit from the project.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Lauren Browne

This project will ensure that all the students are practicing all of the habits needed to maintain a high level of personal hygiene and reduce the chance of becoming ill.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed
$0.00 – This project has now been fully funded through the generosity of Steven Browne, of Ronkonkoma, NY, USA, with the help of friends and family of Peace Corps Volunteer Lauren Browne. Additional amounts have been donated for future projects.

We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify Lauren of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund the next project by Lauren and/or those of other PCVs in the country.

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.