Sustainable Development Success Stories

Salud Para el Pueblo - a health and sanitation project of the Rotary Club

Location 21 villages on the southwestern coast of Ecuador.
Responsible Organisations Rotary Club of Salinas,Ecuador; Rotary Clubs in Oregon, USA; Public Health International (PHI); FASBASE (non-profit Ecuador reforestation agency); Corps Porvenir (NGO against poverty).
Description Salud Para el Pueblo (started in April 1995 and due to completion by Mid-1998) was jointly conceived and developed by Rotary clubs in Ecuador and USA in response to a critical need for solutions in the prevention of water-borne diseases, reduction of infant mortality, provision of clean drinking water and sanitation, and prevention of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. Rotarians, with the assistance of the Public Health International (PHI), developed the project after careful analysis of each community‚??s needs. The project has succeeded in providing each participating village with a Public Health infrastructure, clean drinking water and sanitation, and a reduction in the incidence of cholera, malaria and dengue. First, they worked with village residents, forming 56 active village public health committees. Training and technical assistance provided by Rotarians and PHI enables the committees to solve public health problems. Committee members then appointed "Village Health Educators" who participate in regional health education training seminars, increase public awareness and educate the people in their villages. Next, they integrated and implemented a self-sustaining water supply infrastructure, with additional technical support provided by FASBASE and Corps Porvenir. To date, 4,000 latrines (with private facilities for 79% of the families) have been constructed, piped water systems have been designed and built, and guidelines were created for water system use and maintenance, including water supply distribution, provision of chlorinated water, and the twice weekly disinfection of home water storage tanks. Project coordinators worked with town councils and Ministries of Public Health to control loose animals (thus protecting the water supply from contamination), and to implement a vector control program to eradicate malaria and dengue. In addition, aggressive efforts to clean up open village dumps helped control the spread of disease. Commercial markets for recycled materials were identified and the villages are now actively recycling.
Issues Addressed Capacity Building, Social and Environmental Development.
  • Clean drinking water and sanitation for 21 villages and some 40,000 people†

  • Each participating village has a Public Health infrastructure including commitments for government funding for one health educator per village

  • 20% reduction in the monthly case rate for severe diarrheal illness

  • Eradication of cholera in participating villages (in contrast to the increase of cholera cases in other areas of Ecuador)

  • Elimination of open dumps and litter-filled ravines.†

Lessons Learned Key contributing factors to the success of the Salud Para el Pueblo project include:
  • Strong public awareness campaign;

  • Close cooperation with local government agencies and public health officials to create an organised and sustainable public health infrastructure. Components would include the formation of local public health committees, negotiation of governmental financial support for public health education, and the creation of a system of budgeting and accounting;

  • Development of a set of model guidelines for water system use and maintenance;

  • Development of a process for citing and building solid waste disposal sites;

  • The project has passed the planning stages for replication in other areas of Ecuador, Peru and Nicaragua, and will benefit more than 170,000 people.†

Contacts† Mr. Patricio Cisneros Granizo, Rotary Club of Salinas
Ciudadela Carolina, Salinas, Guayas, Ecuador
Tel. (593 4) 786 296; Fax (593 4) 786 822;

† Mr. Theodore Zacher, Rotary Club of Roseburg†
P.O. Box 950, Winchester, OR 97495 USA
Tel. (541) 440 4403; Fax (541) 440 4388.