This project is focused on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua in a community called Bluefields. Approximately 63% of the population in this region lives in “extreme poverty” with public drinking water available in only 64% of the homes. In urban areas, only a quarter of homes have toilets, another 50 % use latrines and 14 % have no sanitation facilities available to them. The number of homes without access to water and sanitation facilities is much higher but undocumented in rural areas around Bluefields.

Waterborne illnesses are a severe health concern in this region due to a variety of contamination sources including an absence of any sewage or wastewater treatment facilities. A lack of formal garbage collection by the local municipalities and the poor condition of 45 % of the existing latrines. Many wells in the Bluefield area are constructed at a shallow enough depth that they are easily impacted by the sources of contamination outlined above. In addition, most of these wells do not have covers installed to protect from surface contamination. The community is asking for assistance to address these concerns as three local children have died in the last few months from waterborne illness. This illness could have been prevented by clean drinking water along with improved hygiene and sanitation practices. 

The Solution

To proposed solution has two key areas:

  • To install two new wells at schools within the city where clean water is not available
  • Secondly, to repair two wells in two rural schools were the wells no longer function

Each well would be designed with a proper well cover, pump and a tank for drinking water treatment. Water treatment is expected to primarily be chlorination. Each of the wells will be certified by the local Ministry of Health and a community well committee (CAPS) will be trained to maintain, repair and ensure adequate water treatment at each well. The CAPS group will be formerly trained and monitored for a period of 1 year to make sure that they are well-versed in well-management and maintenance. Water from these wells will not only supply the school children but also their families and other members of the community. Thereby providing a safe source of drinking water for the larger community. Approximately 275 people (Students, Teachers, Parents and CAPS members) are anticipated to be direct beneficiaries of this well with 45,000 indirect beneficiaries in the broader Bluefields community.

This project will also use communication methods such as skits and media, which have shown to be effective in Nicaragua, to educate local community members about strategies for maintaining a well to maintain water quality. Information and education about basic hygiene, trash control and the prevention of open defection will also be provided. Communications have already began with the local municipal government and Ministry of Health in Bluefields who are helping to implement the project.

Project Partners

The Mennonite Central Relief Committee and Accion Medica Cristiana (AMC) a local NGO

Measurable Impact

This project will improve access to clean drinking water and educate 275 students, teachers and parents about hygiene, water and sanitation. It will also have an ancillary benefit to the 45,000 people in the municipality of Bluefields, Nicaragua, by diminishing the incidence and prevalence of water borne illnesses and the poor sanitary conditions in these communities.


1st disbursement (2 new wells) 12,198
2nd disbursement (2 rehabilitated wells and WASH education for all 4 schools/communities receiving the new or rehabilitated wells) 6,878