Cochabamba, Bolivia

Gabby, Katie, and Maria spent 10 weeks in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and each worked on different projects. These projects included addressing issues of high iron concentrations in water, scarcity of water resources and little access to sewage, poverty, gender-based violence, and environmental contamination. 

project highlights: iron-removal/ eco-toilets/ soap making

Iron-Removal: A small, household-size water filter was constructed in Cochabamba, Bolivia in order to address the issue of high iron concentrations in the water of the Chapare and Tipnis regions of the Cochabamba Department. The filter was constructed using the elements from a sand filter constructed by a previous engineer at SODIS and banana peel ashes collected by volunteers at Sustainable Bolivia. Overall, the banana peel ashes were found to remove iron from the water, however, further testing is necessary to determine the quantity of iron removed.

Eco-Toilets: Cochabamba, Bolivia is located in the heart of Bolivia. The center of the city falls on the valley of the same name in the Andes mountain range. CONSES addresses the problem of scarce water resources, little access to sewage and the poor health problems that arise with these issues. CONSES wanted to eliminate the pathogenic cycle related to lack of proper sanitation and reintroducing human waste back into the environment without contaminating local water sources and spreading disease. Around 60% of the inhabitants of Cochabamba have no access to proper sanitation. The government does not provide sewage systems, and most people get their water by independent sellers, a process that can be very expensive and not clean. 

Soap Making: CECAM Bolivia is an organization located in Cochabamba which focuses on the sustainable development in the Bolivian population who are facing problems with poverty, gender-based violence, and environmental contamination. The goal of this ETHOS project was to help empower the women in the surrounding communities so they would be able to make a living for themselves. The purpose of this project was not only to improve the existing artisanal processes used to make soap, but to give these women the tools and knowledge so they would be able to make their own profit.

See Project Poster: Iron Removal from Water Using Banana Peel Ash: Cochabamba, Bolivia

See Project Poster: Cochabamba Eco-Toilet Project

See Project Poster: Soap Making - Cochabamba, Bolivia

student experience

“I got the chance to work with dry-waste ecological bathrooms and used solar cookers as the main source of energy in Cochabamba, Bolivia. We were able to provide a cheap, sustainable way to remove pathogens from human waste in order to avoid disease spread. Very grateful for the opportunity!” – Gabriela Campa, 2016 ETHOS Participant

“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with people from such different backgrounds and cultures. I learned how to effectively communicate with others and overcome language barriers. Through ETHOS I was able to discover my own passions and challenge the way I think.” – Maria Leonardi, 2016 ETHOS Participant

Contact Us

The ETHOS Center, Dr. Malcolm Daniels, Director

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