A loan of $950 helped to buy materials for installing a toilet and a wastewater treatment system.

Iris Mercedes's story

Doña Iris lives in the town of Niquinohomo, which was selected to participate in a pilot program to improve local training with respect to sanitation issues in Nicaragua. Iris is 32 years old, married, and a salaried professional who works for the state. She earns a very low salary as an entry-level clerk. Her family includes her husband and their young daughter. Iris says that she and her husband help one another in supporting their family, which includes paying for their child’s studies and building their house.

She is currently applying to participate in a water and sanitation project, which includes obtaining a loan for the installation of an affordable sanitation system. This includes the installation of a conventional toilet and a wastewater treatment system (that includes a tank and an absorption well). This setup is required because the place where she lives does not have access to sewer lines. For this reason, her family has been using a latrine. Her family is one of thousands who do not have access to improved sanitation. This project will benefit several municipalities across Nicaragua by providing them a better quality of life and a cleaner environment.

Without the opportunity provided by this loan, it would be impossible for Iris to have a toilet installed since it would be very expensive. The cost would be impossible with her low wages. These types of programs are helping extremely poor families since latrines cause illnesses and contaminate the air. Therefore, it is a good idea that these solutions are being targeted at the most vulnerable populations.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Ronan Reodica

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