Say it Without Words: Creative Expression with the Human Impacts Institute and HEAF

The HEAF Water and Sanitation Class series ended by a two-class special on creative outreach, lead by Tara DePorte, Founder and Executive Director for the Human Impacts Institute. The objective of the class was to create a HEAF “Poop Happens” booklet on water and sanitation issues, including composting latrines and hygiene promotion.

The booklet was developed by a group of students from the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF). These students will take part in a unique hands-on experience: building a dry composting latrines for a rural communities in the Dominican Republic. The booklet will be shared with the community they will work with there.

Students used what they learned in previous lessons on water pollution, sanitation, composting, and toilets, worldwide and in the Caribbean region to develop clear messages with a few words. In small groups, the students worked on how to communicate the following messages:

  • Fun facts on water and sanitation

  • Tips on hygiene

  • Compost latrine design explanation

  • Explaining the composting process

  • Where water comes from and how it is used

  • Why sanitation is important

  • Times on using and keeping the latrine clean

  • Benefits of a composting latrine

  • Examples from other locations

  • Health and Sanitation/Water


Uninspired at first, the students realized how much we could say using universal signs, colors and languages, with very little or no words at all. Each group with their own style, technical, colorful or straight to the point, developed wonderful drawing and messages, in both English and Spanish.


The HII Crew was very happy to spend all these hours with the class, and was very impressed by the students’ enthusiasm, interest and creativity. We wish them the best for their amazing experience to the Dominican Republic!

Agathe Laure, Environmental Services, Human Impacts Institute

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