health and wellbeing

  • a salad prepared with vegetables grown by local families in a sustainable development project by Yanapuma
  • teaching families to grow vegetables to improve health in Bua de los Colorados, in Ecuador
  • cooking with local families to improve their diet and nutrition through a sustainable development project by Yanapuma
  • creating a vegetable plot to grow nutritious food to improve diet in Santo Domingo, Ecuador

Health and Wellbeing projects with the Tsa'chila

Ecological Sanitation

Brief Description:

This project forms part of Yanapuma’s strategy to provide appropriate solutions for water and sanitation needs. With the high cost of conventional flush toilets and the stress that conventional toilets place on local water resources, an appropriate alternative is required. Presently most people use simple pit toilets but although these do not use high quantities of water they contaminate local groundwater, which then flows into the well water for human consumption. Often latrines are placed within four meters of wells, a dangerously short distance. Ecological toilets provide an alternative that conserves water, produces fertilizer for the planting of nutritious crops and native plants and serves as a way to educate local people about the importance of safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices. 

Yanapuma constructed three ecological toilets in different places around the community that had high levels of traffic in 2007 with the participation of the Tsa'chila people as well as the Shino Pi Bolon cultural group. This was followed by an education campaign organized with the professors of the local school, where children were to see how the toilets worked and receive an explanation of their purpose and impact.

In 2008 the Yanapuma foundation constructed a group of six ecological toilets at the local school for maximum impact with this age group as well as maximum visibility within the community. This project was implemented with the generous financial and material support of the Portland Chapter of Engineers without Borders as well as LEAP and Thinking Beyond Borders volunteer groups. The compost from these toilets and other toilets in the community will be used for the construction of the community nursery, which forms part of the sustainable agriculture program as well as integrated health promotion program.

General Objective: 
Contribute to the improvement of health and well being in the community of Bua de Los Tsa'chilas by providing sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions to human waste disposal and promoting the importance of safe water use and proper hygiene practices.

Specific Objectives: 
1: Improve the knowledge and capabilities of local people to confront ecological and health issues related to water and sanitation needs.

2:  Provide an alternative sanitation system that conserves local water resources, safely deals with defecation and urination processes, provides a source of fertilizer and demonstrates the cyclical nature of water and sanitation processes.

3:  Integrate the ecological toilets into the local school curriculum to serve as a window into the interconnectedness of health, water, sanitation, and ecological process

2009 Project Actions:

1: Continue Monitoring and Evaluation of ecological toilets at Abraham Calazacon School and at the four other sights in the community. This includes lab tests to verify the amount of fecal coliforms in the human waste, questionnaires, humidity/temperature readings, and regular observation/site visits to discuss with local beneficiaries how the systems could be improved. We also aim to do complete a random sample of community members to see if the toilets are having an impact on parasite illness.

2: Integrate an education program with the ecological toilets, which will educate local beneficiaries about water, sanitation, hygiene and its relationship to the environment


Formation of Health Promoters and Integrated Health Center

Brief Description of Project:

This project aims to provides preventative health education for the Tsa'chila as well as surrounding communities via health promoters. Recognizing that the majority of people believe that health is simply ‘I am sick’ or ‘ I am well’ the Yanapuma Foundation, along with local counterparts recognized the need to expand the definition of health and connect it more to notions of diet and nutrition. In addition, via health research completed in the village by Yanapuma field staff, it has been found that a large part of the population is under-nourished as well as unaware of reproductive, sexual or preventative health practices. It has also been found that many people complain of the lack of access to primary health care, needing to pay to go to other health centers, which can take as much as a whole day to complete.

In order to accomplish this the Foundation, together with local organizations aspires to work to form groups of health promoters who will learn in innovative ways how to improve their health and well -being. Yanapuma will then work with collaborating organizations to provide better access to various nutritional and preventive health programs already formed by various non-governmental and governmental agencies. Small projects in various communities to create family vegetable plots are combined with visits from a dietician/nutritionist to show mothers how to prepare the vegetables and incorporate them into their diet to improve the family's nutritional levels.

General Objective:

Improve the health and well being of the local population through the development of an integrated health center and training in specific areas such as nutrition and preventive measures.

Specific Objectives:

1: Renovate the currently dilapidated health center in Bua

2: Form small groups of health promoters

3: Implement capacity development in various areas of integral health promotion, which will be disseminated to the largest population possible via health promoters in areas such as nutrition, first aid, reproductive and sexual health, hygiene, and safe water consumption.

4: Coordinate with local organizations to raise awareness of available public health programs and improve the access to such programs for the local population

5. Create family vegetable plots and show women how to incorporate more vegetables into their family's diet.


Click here for information about the inauguration of the integrated health center in Bua