School sanitation project in Sololá, Guatemala

Students walking next to the selected construction site at the Campo Verde Primary School.
Students walking next to the selected construction site at the Campo Verde Primary School.

Proposed water and sanitation project in the Mayan Highlands

Campo Verde, Municipality of Santa Lucía Utatlán, Guatemala.  

In order to address the government's recent decision to tear down the Campo Verde Primary School’s bathrooms to build two new classrooms, the design incorporates a library and reading room, plus composting toilets that acknowledge the severe lack of water in these mountain communities, training for the proper use of the toilets and a system to collect rainwater for handwashing. 

For this project, ViviendasLeon is partnering with Mil Milagros, a local non-profit focusing on personal hygiene and nutrition, and the University of San Francisco (USF) Department of Architecture and Community Design and the director, Seth Wachtel, who conducts a unique program teaching students through a social justice lens to work on real-world design projects for underserved communities.

Campo Verde is a small community in Santa Lucía Utatlán, a municipality in the Mayan Highlands region in Guatemala. Characteristic of many traditional Mayan Highlands communities, Campo Verde families struggle with unemployment, a weak educational system, and degraded natural resources. There is a lack of accessibility to water due to overexploited land, deforestation from industrial farming, and the effects of climate change. As a consequence, these conditions have affected many families' food security. 80% of these families depend on agriculture for their daily diet and livelihood, in a region that is becoming less hospitable to farming, demanding rapid adaptations in order to combat these challenges.

The project includes 4 composting toilets, a small library, and an outdoor, covered reading area. By using the slope of the site, the design elevates the toilets above removable PVC tanks that hold the waste and are removed when filled and stored in an adjacent area for the remainder of the composting cycle. These will be replaced with empty tanks as needed.

Through this project, ViviendasLeón hopes to address problems of water and sanitation for Guatemalans living in rural areas. In some communities, such as Santa Lucia, 45% of people live below the national poverty line. These statistics emphasize the dire need for solutions to the rapid decrease in water security, which has a domino effect, including the loss of ability to maintain farms that are a primary food source and access to sanitation. 

Condition of the selected site for the construction and sanitation project.
Condition of the selected site for the construction and sanitation project.


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School sanitation project in Sololá, Guatemala

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