Health Risks of Dirt Floors
The second focus of our construction is the installation of cement floors for the participating families that already have an existing stove in their home. All of these families currently live in kitchens with nothing more to the floor than wet, compacted dirt and stone.
There is no way to effectively clean these floors, and they promote an unhygienic state in the home. Harmful bacteria and parasites prosper in soil, and their constant presence is the source of recurrent infectious illnesses.
Benefits of Cement Floors
The construction of cement floors will greatly improve the sanitary conditions of these families' homes. With the help of family members, we will lay the floors with a mixture of sand and cement that will cover the entire space of the kitchen house with a thickness of two inches.
These cement floors will eliminate dampness and the environment for the growth of bacteria and parasites, and they will also allow for an easier maintenance of cleanliness in the home.
In a study that reviewed the effects of the Mexican Government's Piso Firme (solid floor) program, which installed 300,000 cement floors throughout the country, there was a dramatic decrease in diarrhea, parasitic infections, and anemia and an increase in cognitive development of children living in these homes. This study also found a reported decrease of stress and depression in mothers of the family.
As with the improved stove project, all participants are required to participate in a series of capacity-building lessons concerning health education and the construction and maintenance of the appropriate technology. They will be responsible for transporting the materials to their house from a central location and constructing the project after participating in a demonstrational training.
The volunteers and members of the committee will monitor construction and follow-up in houses to ensure proper maintenance. Our project will provide forty floors, and while the sizes, and thus, costs, of the floors vary, the average expected cost is $215 per floor.