Managua, Nicaragua September 3rd, 2015.– FEMSA Foundation, through Coca-Cola FEMSA, and in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua, made the official presentation of 160 Eco Bathrooms at rural community La Gallina, located in the municipality of San Rafael del Sur, Managua. Since 2013, the three institutions have worked together to improve the quality of life of this community: the first year they focused in providing access to water, while in 2014 and 2015, they collaborated to provide access to improved sanitation.
The initial diagnosis stated that La Gallina community is composed of 800 inhabitants, of which 76% lived in extreme poverty, and 87% did not have a sanitary alternative in their homes.
In 2013, the program provided access to safe water to 163 families, but the sanitation problem continued because people kept going to the bathroom outdoors, or shared some of the few latrines their neighbors had, which were in very bad state, constantly filtering water without subsoil treatment, and polluting the rivers and wells from which they took the water. These conditions had a negative impact on the community, causing diseases such as diarrhea, parasites, kidney problems, skin diseases, among others.
Given this reality, since 2014 FEMSA Foundation, through Coca-Cola FEMSA, and in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua, have led the implementation of a program dedicated to provide the community with the needed sanitation infrastructure. Throughout the project, companies like PLYCEM, Almacenes de Contrucción El Halcón and CEMEX, have joined with technical and financial support.
The project received the unconditional support from the mayor of the municipality of San Rafael del Sur, and donations from individuals who are part of Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to these companies and individuals, along with the active participation of the community, the installation of 160 Eco Bathrooms was achieved, and its inhabitants were offered the tools to adopt better hygiene habits.
“To Coca-Cola FEMSA it is extremely important to make a positive impact in the life of the communities. In La Gallina project we worked in collaboration with FEMSA Foundation and Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua who, like us, were interested in providing a long-term solution that would allow a real change in their lives”, said Central America Coca-Cola FEMSA Corporate Affairs Manager, Catherine Reuben.
The Eco Bathroom is a sanitation system that works as a small domestic treatment plant, consisting of four basic components: stand and cup; biodigester that consists of a sealed tank where matter degrades; biofilter or secondary treatment, where the water treatment is finished; and the soakaway for the subsequent infiltration of treated water, to the ground.
The project had an educational stage, in which at least one member of each family was trained in the self-construction, operation, use and maintenance of the Eco Bathroom through the “learning by doing” methodology, through which learning and community participation is promoted.
“In La Gallina community we have found a lot of need, but also a lot of desire of change, as well as enthusiasm and willingness in the people. It gives us great joy to hear people tell us how they no longer fear their children will fall down the latrine, or get sick from having to touch the latrines for support; that they no longer have to go to the hill, and that the bad odor surrounding them has finally left. For us, that is building hope”, said Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua Director, Frank Matus-Aguirre.
With the aim of providing a sustainable project, 168 members of the community have been trained in healthy housing issues, emphasizing on hygiene, sanitation and water management practices. Also, more than 300 families were visited to evaluate their changes in hygiene and behavior.
“At FEMSA Foundation we know that community’s participation is one of the key elements that allow the sustainability of projects. In La Gallina we found people willing to learn and committed to keep the project alive. This interest is undoubtedly due to the positive impact the Eco Bathrooms have had for each family of this community”, FEMSA Foundation Director, Vidal Garza, added “By supplementing the access to water project with the sanitation component, we are sure health and quality of life of the inhabitants of La Gallina community will improve”, he said.
On September 3rd, the closure of the project was held at La Gallina community, with an event attended by representatives of the partner organizations and members of the beneficiary families. During the event, the positive change the installation of the Eco Bathrooms had in the community was noted, especially how much it changed the lives of the families by promoting the adoption of better hygiene habits, and changing customs that affected the environment and, consequently, their health.
FEMSA is a leading company participating in the beverage industry with Coca-Cola FEMSA, the largest franchise bottler of Coca-Cola products in the world; and in the beer industry, through its ownership of the second largest equity stake in Heineken, one of the worlds leading brewers with operations in over 70 countries. FEMSA participates in the retail sector with FEMSA Comercio, which operates various small-format chain stores including OXXO. Through FEMSA Negocios Estratégicos, the company offers logistic services, point-of-sales cooling solutions, and plastic solutions for FEMSA’s companies and external customers.
About FEMSA Foundation
FEMSA Foundation is an instrument for social investment that supports both the conservation and sustainable use of water, and the improvement of the quality of life in the community through applied education, science, and technology.
Its department of Sustainable Development of Water Resources channels resources to projects that focus on protecting water sources and promoting their appropriate use and on sanitation and hygiene practices both for present and future generations. It is divided in three programs: Conservation of Watersheds, Water and Sanitation, and Construction of Capacities and Applied Research. The department of Quality of Life focuses on supporting projects that center on improving the nutrition and health of the population in our communities; its programs are: Education in Nutrition and Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles and Construction of Capacities and Applied Research.
About Coca-Cola FEMSA
Coca-Cola FEMSA, S.A.B. de C.V. manufactures and distributes Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Del Valle, and other products of The Coca-Cola Company brands in Mexico (a substantial part of Central Mexico, including Mexico City, and South and Northeast Mexico 😉 Guatemala (Greater Guatemala City 😉 Nicaragua (nationwide 😉 Costa Rica (nationwide 😉 Panama (nationwide 🙂 Colombia (most of the country 😉 Venezuela (nationwide 😉 Brazil (Sao Paulo, Campinas, Santos, the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, the state of Parana, part of the state of Goias, part of the state of Rio de Janeiro, and part of the state of Minas Gerais 😉 Argentina (Greater Buenos Aires 😉 and The Philippines (nationwide.) It also manufactures and distributes bottled water, juice, tea, isotonic beverages, beer, and other beverages in some of these territories. The Company has 67 bottling plants and serves 338+ million consumers through 2,800,000 retailers and 120+ thousand employees throughout the world.
About Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua
Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where every person has a proper place to live. Clinging to the belief that safe and affordable housing provide a pathway out of poverty, since 1976 Habitat has helped more than 5 million people to build, rehabilitate and repair their homes.
In Nicaragua, Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 10.000 families and 40.000 people in solutions for housing; it has supported the early recovery and disaster response in more than 11 communities; and it has built community infrastructure and joined forces to give access to water and sanitation to two communities of the country. Between 2010 and 2015 it has trained more than 7,400 people in 11 regions of Nicaragua. To learn more, donate or volunteer, please visit: www.habitatnicaragua.org