Living Earth Institute

Nonprofit founded 1999

Global Washington Member

Address and Contact

4319 Evanston Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103

Pam Elardo(President)

Organization Description


Empowering communities to protect their health and environment through the sustainable use of water resources.


The Living Earth Institute (LEI) is a Seattle-based non-profit 501(3)(c) organization founded in 1999 to aid international communities in developing sustainable water resources. Our primary focus is the development of water supply and sanitation projects; however, through experience, we know that in order to make these projects sustainable, we must take a holistic approach. This means that we work with the community to implement income generation training, micro-lending programs, literacy classes, hygiene education, and other programs to meet community-defined needs.

Example Project

Drinking Water and Sanitation Dhanusha District Nepal, Mujeliya and Rajual Villages LEI joined forces with the Women Development Service Center (WDSC), a woman-focused non-governmental organization, to aid two low caste villages outside of Janakpur, Nepal. The project installed 230 single family latrines and developed 46 tube wells that provide clean water to 336 households (serving ~2,000 individuals). All the project programs were implemented by local experts, technicians, social workers and skilled laborers. To ensure project sustainability for generations to come, this project also included women’s literacy training, skill development programs, and income generation classes. Health Impact Study of the Dhanusha Drinking Water and Sanitation Project LEI received a grant from Puget Sound Partners for Global Health to conduct a health impact study to evaluate mortality, morbidity and nutritional status in the villages of Mujeliya and Rajual, prior to the construction of deep water tube wells in the community (see above). This health evaluation was done to provide baseline statistics for evaluation of changes expected to occur following their access to clean water, sanitation, and education. Prior to these communities’ involvement with the LEI project, the source of most of the water collected and used in these households was nearby streams and ponds. LEI is currently looking for resources to perform a follow-up study to compare the health-related impacts of access to clean water and the presence of sanitation facilities in the community. Water, Education, and Capacity Building Namje Village, Nepal Nanda Magar and her two children used to spend half the day fetching water, 16 liters at a time, from the stream in the steep ravine below their village. LEI worked with the community to dig trenches, install pipe, build tanks and collect a community maintenance fund to build the first ever two-stage water pumping system fully operated by a small village in Nepal. This project serves 550 villagers, bringing water directly to their homes. Not only is there enough drinking water but drip irrigation produces crops year round and enables villagers to create much needed income. Drinking Water and Sanitation Dhanusha District Nepal, Mahuwa Village Building on the success of the first Dhanusha District projects in the villages of Mujeliya and Rajual, LEI brought a similar program to the village of Mahuwa. This project serves about 800 people and includes 113 single family latrines and 31 tube wells. This work vastly improved the health conditions and the overall village environment. Income-generation skill development training for women and workshops on hygiene and sanitation were also important components. LEI also improved village schools and community centers by providing potable water and sanitation facilities. Sanitation and Community Development Dhanusha District Nepal, Sohani, Rani Bazaar, and Dhatta Tole Villages While constructing the first Dhanusha District projects, people from the nearby villages of Sohani, Rani Bazaar and Dhatta Tole took notice. They inquired about how to partner with LEI to gain access to clean water and sanitation, and quickly organized themselves into “water user groups” in order to participate in the LEI programs. In these villages, LEI worked with the local residents to construct 170 single family latrines and 27 tube wells, serving almost 1,200 individuals who previously had no access to these vital resources. Ruiz Castillo School Water Catchment and Sanitation Diriá, Nicaragua LEI teamed with Proyecto Laguna to improve conditions at the Ruiz Castillo school in Diriá Nicaragua. A total of 580 staff and students, ranging from preschool to the 6th grade, benefit from the improved access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. This project installed drinking water and rainwater catchment tanks, improved existing latrines, constructed hand washing stations, provided health and sanitation education, and installed rain gutters and ditches to control rainfall runoff and reduce erosion on school grounds. Community Water System and Infrastructure Guarjila,El Salvador The existing water supply system in Guarjila had been patched together by the community using very few resources and a lot of ingenuity. LEI worked with the comminuity to create the first comprehensively planned water supply project to this area previously torn by years of war and displacement. The community assessed their water needs, conducted a feasibility study of project alternatives, and prepared a preliminary design for an improved water supply system. Community Development Bara District Nepal, Rampurwa VDC This project will improve the access to drinking water and sanitation facilities, and enhance the income generation opportunities for over 700 households from very poor, low caste areas of the Bara District. The project will be implemented in the nine villages of the Rampurwa Village Development Committee (VDC) through a local non-profit organization, Bikas Bikalp Santha, based in the district. Consistent with LEI philosophies, the project is locally focused and locally driven. The community has been very active in the planning phases and will be involved in all future aspects of the project including the system design, construction, training, maintenance and operation. Diriá School District Water and Sanitation Program Diriá, Nicaragua Building on the success of the Ruiz Castillo School project, water and sanitation improvements were made at 5 more schools in the Diriá school district. This project increased access to drinking water and sanitation facilities (latrine and hand washing stations) provided health/hygiene education to the children in the schools, and worked with the community, women in particular, to ensure their ability to sustain the facilities over time. World Water Day was celebrated at each school in March 2009 to provide education about the new facilities and encourage enthusiasm about water and the environment. Rural Water Supply Anambra State of Nigeria Nigeria, with population well over 140 million people, has limited infrastructure to sustain the people. This project is seeking for funding to develop potable water supply for the benefits of public schools (primary and post-primary), health care institutions and markets around Anambra State. The overall goal is to provide safe water (for drinking and improved hygiene) to the disadvantaged general public.

Activities that promote health

Clean Water & Sanitation Access

Activities that combat poverty

Community Building, Economic & Social Inequities, Economic Development, Education & Literacy

Activities that protect the environment

Natural Resource Conservation & Preservation, Public Environmental Conceptions & Behavior, Water & Sanitation

Areas of Service

Capacity Building, Education & Training, Public Awareness, Sustainable Business Operations, Technical Assistance

Nations of the World

Africa: Nigeria

Americas: Nicaragua, Washington State, U.S.

Asia: Nepal