Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta Lazaro Chiguil Elias Handwashing Station Project – Guatemala

Canton Xeta Cabaj, department of Totonicapan, Guatemala

Community Description Canton Xeta Cabaj is a small rural community of approximately 500 inhabitants of Mayan descent, located outside the municipality of San Cristobal Totonicapan, 185 kilometers from Guatemala City by way of the Inter-American Highway. Most community members are either farmers or business owners. All of the members speak K’iche, the Mayan language of the region, and/or Spanish.

The school Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta “Lazaro Chiguil Elias”, Canton Xeta Cabaj, serves 178 children, from Kindergarten to 6th grade. The school’s extremely dedicated principal of 27 years has been involved in the Healthy Schools program since 1999 and quickly led the school to healthy certification by 2001.

All 7 teachers give at least one health lesson a week. 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 and brush their teeth after.

The school has encountered a number of problems with the existing handwashing station. Only 5 out of 7 faucets currently function. The base and drainage were not well-constructed, so water backs up from the one small drainage pipe and leaks below the base, causing the deterioration of the surrounding cement.

Ideally, there should be one functioning faucet for every class, but due to the increase in the number of students over the years, they are in need of at least 2 more faucets for the effective practice of healthy habits. The number of children served has grown from 31 in 1974 to 178 in 2011, and this number is sure to continue increasing.

The school has access to water most of the time due to their use of a natural spring and mechanical pump. However, they have had some problems in the past due to a supply shortage from the spring.

The school is equipped with flush toilets that drain into a septic tank, and the handwashing station water drains into a seepage pit. All the main tubes are located on the school property.

Project Description
This project is to construct a handwashing station with 5 faucets, and to fully reconstruct the base and drainage of the existing handwashing station.

There is enough space in the area to the right of the existing handwashing station to construct an additional wall-style section with 5 more faucets. The new base will be one large cement structure, reinforced with iron rods, and placed against the wall connecting the kitchen to the bathroom area. The drainage will be connected to the existing tubes already in place.

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 will be purchased from a large hardware store outside the community.

A knowledgeable, experienced mason will be hired as the skilled labor and paid by the parent committee. Parents of the students will provide the unskilled labor free of charge in order to help construct the handwashing station.

Project funds will be used to purchase and transport the construction materials.

Project Impact
178 students and 7 teachers will benefit from the project.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Lauren Browne

This project will add capacity to serve a growth in the student population and ensure that all the students are practicing the habits needed to maintain a high level of personal hygiene and reduce the incidence of illness.

Lauren previously successfully completed the Escuela Oficial Urban Mixta La Cienaga Handwashing Station – Guatelmala.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed
$0.00 – This project has been fully funded through the generosity of The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust as a part of their Clean Water Projects initiative, along with help from Peace Corps Volunteer Lauren Browne’s friends and family.

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 of service.

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