El Zapote -- "Back to the Basics"

by High Plains Professional Chapter

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement detailing the scope of the project has been approved by local government officials! This agreement details the pricing on latrine materials for construction and specifies the locations of the latrine installation sites.

As a result, work is proceeding on the post assessment report, which details all of the necessary construction, material and labor requirements for the project as well as providing an overall project execution plan. This will allow us to proceed with construction once it is approved by the national Engineers Without Borders review team!

We are looking forward to moving beyond this planning phase and beginning construction on these facilities next year so that El Zapote residents can finally receive the basic sanitation facilities that they have needed for so long.

Our Engineers Without Borders HPP Chapter team recently returned from our second assessment trip to El Zapote/El Porvenir in El Salvador. Our trip had multiple purposes including:

  • further develop the relationship with the community
  • negotiate and reach an agreement with the community and the beneficiaries
  • confirm pricing on latrine materials for construction
  • locate sites for the latrines and visit some of the families who will benefit from their installation 

We are pleased to report that community leaders have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement detailing the scope of the project. It has since been taken to the local government for their approval and to confirm additional funding for materials and labor. We are now in the process of completing a post assessment report which, when approved by the national Engineers Without Borders review team, will allow us to proceed with construction!


EWB HPP hopes to significantly improve sanitation
EWB HPP hopes to significantly improve sanitation

Our EWB HPP Team has been hard at work preparing for our second assessment trip back to the coastal community of El Zapote in El Salvador. Currently we are working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to send to the community, reiterating the scope and our commitment to this project.  We are on schedule to complete our second assessment trip in late April, with a project kick off and construction start date scheduled for July 2012!

Our initial scope to build latrines and improve the sanitation in this community is slowly expanding as we are discovering the additional needs of this region.  The EWB HPP Team is looking at erosion control and determining how we could help stimulate the economy through agricultural advancements. The constant flooding and poor irrigation severely limits the community's ability to take advantage of the lush, fertile surroundings.

Stay tuned for more as we get kicked off later this year! Visit our website if you want to know more about our chapter or just want to help us with this important project!


A coloring book developed to teach basic health
A coloring book developed to teach basic health

The HPP Team submitted a Preliminary Design Report to EWB National in October.  A subsequent teleconference was held and EWB National encouraged us to target the construction of 5-10 latrines during our implemntation trip.  One of our main focuses is to re-establish relations with the community now that our Peace Corps volunteer has exited the country.  HPP Chapter President, Barry Borges, is planning a trip to El Zapote in January with two others to negotiate the MOU, plan the implementation trip, and evaluate the erosion concerns the community has also raised. 

We continue to develop material to educate the community as well.  Our efforts to raise funds also continue and every bit of support helps! Thank you to all of our donors thus far -- you are truly makign a difference!

EWB HPP designed educational coloring books
EWB HPP designed educational coloring books

After the initial scoping trip, our team has been busy preparing for a potential November start date for this project. 

The focus of the November kick-off will be the construction of approximately 20 new latrines for those located in the high-risk flood areas.  The rainy season flooding poses the most immediate and serious health risk to the community and nearby water supply.

In addition to the fundraising efforts for the November start, our team has created coloring books that will help educate the children of El Zapote about the importance of health, hand-washing, and other sanitation habits.  EWB - High Plains Professional Chapter is dedicated to not only completing successful projects in the communities we serve, but ensuring that we leave with a sustainable plan in place through education and training.

A special thank you to the EWB Rice University student chapter and EWB Colorado School of Mines student chapter for working with us on this project!  We continue to see the benefit of continued collaboration with young professionals.

We appreciate all the support we continue to receive on this project and look forward to providing everyone with updates as we move forward!

Education remains an important part of our work
Education remains an important part of our work



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Organization Information

High Plains Professional Chapter

Location: Denver, CO - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.ewbhighplains.com
High Plains Professional Chapter
Project Leader:
Allen Erickson
Denver, CO United States

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