Machacamarca - Micucani, Bolivia

Machacamarca is an agricultural community of approximately 64 people in the La Paz Department of the Larecaja Province in Bolivia. We have started a new program with the community as of 2016, and we plan on working to improve the sanitation and health of the community members as well as the environment by implementing a sustainable engineering project for sanitation. We are partnered with the Oklahoma East Professional EWB Chapter and Engineers in Action in Bolivia.

Assessment Trip

The assessment trip took place in November 2017 and was designed to find the needs of the community and gather relevant data to potentially build a sanitation system. The main methods of data collection were questionnaires, water-testing, soil-testing, and ground surveying. Through surveying families, the biggest needs of the community were irrigation and sanitation; Furthermore, in terms of sanitation, the community’s largest sanitation needs are for latrines and showers.  

Using the information gathered the team decided that the project is economically feasible as well as desired by the community. Therefore the project was started and planning of the implementation trips began. Each implementation trip would involve the construction of latrines and showers. Irrigation was not chosen as it is already being addressed by the local government.

Cooperation and involvement from the community are essential for the project to be successful. In the future they will need to maintain, and hopefully construct more latrines. Therefore, it is essential that they gain the expertise to be self sufficient. That is why the assessment trip was also about building a strong base relationship with the community, and ensuring that the project was supported and desired.

Implementation Trip Number One

The first implementation trip took place in November 2018. Eight students, a faculty adviser and an engineering mentor traveled to Machacamarca-Micacuni and completed two structures. Each structure contained both a shower and a latrine.

The structures were constructed using local materials and practices as well as the help of community members. This is to ensure that in the future the community is able to construct and maintain their own latrine/showers. This is part of Engineers Without Borders mission of providing solutions that still allow the community to be self sustaining.

As well as constructing two structures relationships with the community continued to be made. Support and excitement from the community only grew throughout the trip and community members expressed their  delight with the completed structures.

Implementation Trip Number Two

Planning for the second implementation trip is currently underway, with the goal being to travel in November of 2019. As well as trip logistics and fundraising efforts are also being made to improve the design and improve the construction process. This includes the completion of a construction manual to be given to the community so that they may further assist in the construction of the structures.

This additional involvement from the community is essential as the plan is to construct significantly more structures on the second implementation trip. This is to ensure that we can meet the needs and requests of as many community members as possible.

As well as completing more structures, we hope to also increase the amount of hygiene and sanitation education provided to the community. This is to ensure that our structures are being used to their maximum potential and improve the quality of life in the community.

Lastly the status of the the structures completed on the first implementation trip will be evaluated, and any repairs will be completed. We will also use this evaluation of past structures combined with input from the community to further improve our design and asses the success of the project.

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