HIS Ministries

Ecological Outhouses

Ecological Outhouses Projects:

Different county governments and health departments have worked with Manos Hermanas to help families build their own ecological, ventilated, dry pit outhouses in rural areas with no sewage systems.  We visited the first unit we built in an isolated, desert mountain village.  It was still clean with no smell and no flies some fifteen years later, in stark contrast to the usual pit outhouses across the country.  This “user friendly” latrine helps break the fecal – oral cycle of diseases, which have long been a major cause of death for children under 6 years of age in Mexico.  We have been able to help build some 140 outhouses in about 11 communities.

How does it work?  The wind is trapped and flows down the seat.

Because we had coordinated our projects with the State Health Department, they asked us to help in their efforts to stop a hepatitis epidemic that was spreading from one community to a small city down stream.  After the joint project, there were no more new cases of hepatitis in the area.  They then requested our help for another community with a dysentery epidemic that was killing small children.  They later informed us of the marked decrease of fecal borne diseases where we had helped build units, up to 90% in some areas.

To participate in the projects, each family agrees to: dig their pit; provide sand, gravel, and the less expensive materials.  We agree to purchase the more expensive construction materials: urine separator seats, re-bar, lime, cement, bricks, and chimney pipe.  Experienced volunteers assist the local families and monitor the construction progress.

For just a moment, think about this highly important technology:   

  • It provides an echological solution to a common problem.
  • The health benefits are great.
  • It helps the family economy.
  • It has low maintenance.  
  • It does not use water, a valuable resource.

Expected useful life:

  • For a family of 8: 15 years.
  • Can build a double unit to alternate pits and composte one while the other is in use.


  • Requires minimal maintenance.
  • Does not use water.
  • Has no offensive odors.
  • Is not offensive like the usual outhouse.
  • Gives better control of problem animals and bugs.
  • Is cheaper than drainage and sewage lines.
  • Provides a community project.
  • Is inexpensive.
  • Is an ecological solution to a comon problem.

Hurdles to overcome:

  • Many are accustomed to stooling on the ground.
  • Others are accustomed to a water flush toilet.
  • Lack of awareness of this option.

This is recommended for:

  • Marginal communities.
  • Communities with a high cost for sewage lines and treatment plants.
  • Regions with little water.
  • Communities affected by illnesses transmitted by fecal contamination.

Communities without basic sanitation services. 

News Updates

Report for TBMF

Report for TBMF

| August 23, 2021