holistic development

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About El Naranjo

The community of El Naranjo is located in the Jinotega Department in northern Nicaragua. The original community name is San Sebastian de Los Naranjos, named by the first families who lived in El Naranjo in the early 1900's. The majority of families work in the production of basic grains and beans and some families also work in the livestock industry. El Naranjo is known for its strong community leadership.


El Naranjos Public Health Situation

The community of El Naranjo is fortunate to have a gravity-pump water system that was built 5 years ago to provide water to all homes all times of the day. The system operates from a drilled well from which an electric pump brings water to the highest point in the community. The water then flows to homes using gravity.


Despite having access to water, many community members in El Naranjo lack the resources needed to improve their homes and prevent diseases caused by unsafe living environments. Prior to the arrival of the Public Health Brigades in January 2015, most homes lacked latrines and showers, forcing community members to relieve themselves and bathe outside. Similarly, most community members could not safely store their water, which increased the risk of waterborne disease. Further imperiling community members' health, the majority of homes had dirt floors and traditional stoves, resulting in illnesses such as Chagas Disease and respiratory problems.


Although community members recognized the problems inherent to their living environments, they did not have the economic resources nor the technical knowledge needed to address them.  Moreover, the level of awareness concerning sanitation and the importance of health was very low as the children did not receive any education about the topic prior to the entry of the Public Health Program.





Public Health Solution for El Naranjo


Starting in January 2015, brigaders started implementing Public Health projects in El Naranjo. Through the construction of hygiene stations (showers, pilas, and latrines) and concrete floors in family homes, Global Brigades and the community seek to decrease the prevalence of preventative health issues in the community.  Public Health brigaders also prepare and present a broad curriculum of Public Health topics, such as basic hygiene, water storage, and pesticide use, among others. These topics help educate and empower community members to improve the health of themselves and their families.




Public Health Brigade Chapters that have worked in El Naranjo
Public Health Brigades Chapter Month Volunteers
Boston University January 2016 13
Governors State University January 2016 15
SUNY Binghamton January 2016 29
SDI Munich October 2015 17
Lower Columbia College September 2015 5
Bayreuth University September 2015 7
University of Münster September 2015 13
University of Manchester June 2015 20
University of Cincinnati and Ball State University May 2015 28
University of Colorado - Boulder May 2015 21
 Drexel University March 2015 9
 West Virginia University March 2015 16
Northwestern University March 2015 9
University of Denver March 2015 10
Indiana University March 2015 15
University of Notre Dame March 2015 24
 Münster University February 2015 14
University of New Hampshire January 2015 17
University of Illonois at Chicago January 2015 13
Saint Louis University January 2015 19


Current Status

Project Completed! We completed sanitary units and concrete floors for the last remaining families in El Naranjo in January 2016. A huge thanks goes out to all the volunteers and donors who made this project possible.


Learn About Other Programs in El Naranjo

Global Brigades strives to implement a model of Holistic Development in communities through a system of collectively implementing health, economic, and education initiatives to strategically meet a community's development goals. Global Brigades already works with El Naranjo to implement Medical and Dental Brigades in addition to the Public Health Program. Global Brigades is also developing a Microfinance Program for Nicaraguan communities which will be piloted in El Naranjo. 





General Overview
Population 750
Number of Homes 175
Public Health Volunteers  215
Medical Volunteers (completing PH for a portion of brigade) 1722
Square Meters of Concrete Flooring
Hygiene Stations
Brigade Site
Family Homes
Most Common Illnesses
 Parasites, Respiratory Infections


Additional Information
General Community Profile
Pre-Brigade Curriculum
On-Brigade Curriculum