LEI works internationally to empower communities to protect their health and environment through the sustainable use of water resources.  Our primary focus is the development of water supply and sanitation projects; however, through experience, we know that in order to make these projects sustainable, we must take a holistic approach.  This means that we must include income generation training, micro-lending programs, literacy classes, and other programs deemed necessary by the community to support long-term sustainability of the project.

Locations

For the past 10 years, LEI has conducted projects in central and southeastern Nepal and Central America.  We target communities that are often overlooked by traditional aid organizations.

Approach and Philosophy

Before we enter into a community, we identify organizations that are already working there.  We work with these local organizations and groups to empower the individuals in the community to identify and communicate their needs.  Then we work in partnership with the community to meet those needs.
LEI projects are based on the following principals

  • We work with community groups to identify problems and develop sustainable solutions
  • We only use local expertise, raw materials (where available) and labor
  • We are conscious of gender equity issues and involve women in decision-making processes and ongoing programs.
  • We emphasize education and income-generation skill development to ensure long-term project success.

Example

One of these successful projects resides in the villages of Rajul and Mujeliya in the Dhanusha District of Nepal.  A partnership was developed with the Women’s Development Service Centre (WDSC), a local non-profit made up of women volunteers who work directly with community members.  With the WDSC we trained and utilized local labor from the community to install 230 single family latrines, and develop 46 tube wells that provide clean water to 336 households (about 2,000 individuals).  The project results also include 40 newly literate women and 44 women now able to generate their own income through LEI-sponsored programs. Construction of this project, which improved the lives of thousands of people, cost $60,000 and took three years to complete.

Current Projects

Drinking Water and Sanitation

Dhanusha District Nepal, Mujeliya and Rajual Villages
LEI joined forces with the Women Development Service Center (WDSC), a woman-focused non-governmental organization, to aid two low caste villages outside of Janakpur, Nepal. The project installed 230 single family latrines and developed 46 tube wells that provide clean water to 336 households (serving ~2,000 individuals).  All the project programs were implemented by local experts, technicians, social workers and skilled laborers.

To ensure project sustainability for generations to come, this project also included women’s literacy training, skill development programs, and income generation classes.

Health Impact Study of the Dhanusha Drinking Water and Sanitation Project
LEI received a grant from Puget Sound Partners for Global Health to conduct a health impact study to evaluate mortality, morbidity and nutritional status in the villages of Mujeliya and Rajual, prior to the construction of deep water tube wells in the community (see above). This health evaluation was done to provide baseline statistics for evaluation of changes expected to occur following their access to clean water, sanitation, and education. Prior to these communities’ involvement with the LEI project, the source of most of the water collected and used in these households was nearby streams and ponds. LEI is currently looking for resources to perform a follow-up study to compare the health-related impacts of access to clean water and the presence of sanitation facilities in the community.

Water, Education, and Capacity Building

Namje Village, Nepal
Nanda Magar and her two children used to spend half the day fetching water, 16 liters at a time, from the stream in the steep ravine below their village. LEI worked with the community to dig trenches, install pipe, build tanks and collect a community maintenance fund to build the first ever two-stage water pumping system fully operated by a small village in Nepal. This project serves 550 villagers, bringing water directly to their homes. Not only is there enough drinking water but drip irrigation produces crops year round and enables villagers to create much needed income.

Drinking Water and Sanitation

Dhanusha District Nepal, Mahuwa Village
Building on the success of the first Dhanusha District projects in the villages of Mujeliya and Rajual, LEI brought a similar program to the village of Mahuwa.  This project serves about 800 people and includes 113 single family latrines and 31 tube wells. This work vastly improved the health conditions and the overall village environment.

Income-generation skill development training for women and workshops on hygiene and sanitation were also important components.  LEI also improved village schools and community centers by providing potable water and sanitation facilities.

Sanitation and Community Development

Dhanusha District Nepal, Sohani, Rani Bazaar, and Dhatta Tole Villages
While constructing the first Dhanusha District projects, people from the nearby villages of Sohani, Rani Bazaar and Dhatta Tole took notice. They inquired about how to partner with LEI to gain access to clean water and sanitation, and quickly organized themselves into “water user groups” in order to participate in the LEI programs.  In these villages, LEI worked with the local residents to construct 170 single family latrines and 27 tube wells, serving almost 1,200 individuals who previously had no access to these vital resources.

Ruiz Castillo School Water Catchment and Sanitation

Diriá, Nicaragua
LEI teamed with Proyecto Laguna to improve conditions at the Ruiz Castillo school in Diriá Nicaragua. A total of 580 staff and students, ranging from preschool to the 6th grade, benefit from the improved access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. This project installed drinking water and rainwater catchment tanks, improved existing latrines, constructed hand washing stations, provided health and sanitation education, and installed rain gutters and ditches to control rainfall runoff and reduce erosion on school grounds.

Community Development

Bara District Nepal, Rampurwa VDC
This project will improve the access to drinking water and sanitation facilities, and enhance the income generation opportunities for over 700 households from very poor, low caste areas of the Bara District. The project will be implemented in the nine villages of the Rampurwa Village Development Committee (VDC) through a local non-profit organization, Bikas Bikalp Santha, based in the district. Consistent with LEI philosophies, the project is locally focused and locally driven. The community has been very active in the planning phases and will be involved in all future aspects of the project including the system design, construction, training, maintenance and operation.

Diriá School District Water and Sanitation Program

Diriá, Nicaragua
Building on the success of the Ruiz Castillo School project, water and sanitation improvements were made at 5 more schools in the Diriá school district. This project increased access to drinking water and sanitation facilities (latrine and hand washing stations) provided health/hygiene education to the children in the schools, and worked with the community, women in particular, to ensure their ability to sustain the facilities over time. World Water Day was celebrated at each school in March 2009 to provide education about the new facilities and encourage enthusiasm about water and the environment.

Rural Water Supply

Anambra State of Nigeria
Nigeria, with population well over 140 million people, has limited infrastructure to sustain the people. This project is seeking for funding to develop potable water supply for the benefits of public schools (primary and post-primary), health care institutions and markets around Anambra State. The overall goal is to provide safe water (for drinking and improved hygiene) to the disadvantaged general public.