Access to Education

We address health issues affecting school attendance and success for rural children by installing school wells and composting latrine systems. Our projects help combat water-borne illness, prevent the spread of disease, and promote good hygiene. Children are sick less often and able to attend school regularly.

Our commitment to a school community extends beyond the improvement or new construction of a school building. Project Ethiopia also works to support the health and well-being of these young learners through the provision of clean water wells and ecological latrines installed at the schools. With the same community engagement and volunteerism that helped raise a school building, villagers step forward to help and learn from the Project Ethiopia team to dig a well and construct composting latrines; building valuable knowledge and skills that will ensure these improvements are appropriate and sustainable.

It begins with a school well, delivering clean water to students and surrounding villagers who previously only had access to drinking water from contaminated streams. School wells are dug during the dry season to be sure water will be available year-round. The site is selected with guidance from the Department of Mines and Water which also regularly tests and treats the water once the well is installed.

School latrines are the next step in ensuring better sanitation and healthier students. Project Ethiopia latrines are urine-diverting, composting and above ground. Blue barrel washing stations are outside the latrines so children can wash their hands afterwards. The latrines have one composting pit and screened vent per drop hole, eliminating flies and odor.

Clean water = a significant reduction in waterborne diseases

Better access to clean water = girls are in school instead of using time and energy getting water for the family

Clean water weekly eye washing = no more trachoma

School latrines = easy acceptance of family latrines

At a Glance

5 school latrine projects

49 total latrine stations

7 school wells installed

3 piped water systems installed

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The Amazing Composting Latrine

Ecological sanitation latrines, like the ones installed by Project Ethiopia, sound good, but how do they work? Our latrines are:

Urine diverting to a storage tank for farmers to use instead of expensive chemical urea.

Dry so, as organic material is added to the compost, there is no smell.

Equipped with lids and screens on the vents so that flies, if they enter, are left in the dark and ‘escape ’ to the screened vent and can never exit, but do not return to the dark pit.

Above ground so torrential rains cannot wash the contents out on the hillsides and into streams.

Once a day a school latrine manager adds handfuls of compost to each compost barrel. After about one year of use, the compost barrels are moved to a dry covered storage area, are screened and composted for 1 1/2 years. After that time, with the Ethiopian temperatures, the compost is germ-free and ready for agricultural use to build the soil. Urinals drain to a tank for use as fertilizer and is germ-free in 3 months.

Smell? The toilet pan pit has a tight lid (which is easily moved aside for use and replaced afterwards by one’s foot), so smells are minimized and the air flow from the outside flows inside and carries odors up the screened vent. The urine tank is air tight and each latrine has a P-trap which prevents urine from becoming ammonia and having a smell.   The toilet floors are painted concrete and are cleaned daily, keeping urine from seeping into the concrete and creating a smell.

Click here to see how this works.


Our work to help create opportunities for families and communities in rural Ethiopia is only possible because of YOU. Learn about the different ways you can partner with Project Ethiopia, connect with others, and make a difference. Join us today!



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