A consortium of NGOs and CBOs (JIBIJOA Foundation, Centro Arco Iris and local CBO) carried out the third phase of this initiative to upgrade slum areas in the Municipality of Bajos de Haina. Deteriorated and makeshift housing is gradually being replaced by solid core units that families can enlarge in the future. Properly designed sanitary modules allow eliminating pit latrines which are of common use in the slums. Washing appliances and flush toilets are connected to public water system. An innovative procedure for sanitation - by treating excreta on the site- was designed following a research done with the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. JIBIJOA trained participating families on issues such as basic sanitation, water management and solid waste management, in order to create awareness about the importance of a healthy environment, motivate them to properly use and maintain their core units and prepare them to further improve their homes.
Successive projects implemented in the last years have visibly brought about a healthier environment. Local government acknowledges that working with the communities is an effective strategy that can be applied in other neighborhoods. Over time, a complex network of actors has been involved to meet the project´s challenges, and various support mechanisms are in place to guarantee its sustainability. Volunteer work has been promoted for students of electrical and civil engineering, thereby reducing costs of specialized labour during construction of modules. The local private sector is also contributing funds to some activities. The community now is empowered to plan local development and to negotiate resources needed to implement it. The neighborhood organization has formed a Water and Sanitation Committee that will allow taking over social supervision of a big initiative decided by central government, to install an aqueduct for overall sanitation in the municipal district. Finally, a research project is being prepared with professionals from different countries to identify and measure results obtained by this challenging project.