The Chlorine Bank Network is International Action’s up and coming project. After Zach (Director of Research) and Jeff (Financial and Office Manager) returned from Haiti this summer, they confirmed that many of the neighborhoods in Haiti are operating their own water stations and chlorinators successfully.
Zach and Jeff observed that for the chlorinators to become completely community sustained, they only need one improvement: a local supply of chlorine tablets. Currently, there are no distribution centers for chlorine besides International Action. There are chlorine tablets available at an import-export company, but they are sold individually at a very expensive rate.
Haitian community leaders and residents agree that a locally run chlorine distribution system is vital to the permanence of the chlorinators. They are ready to distribute chlorine without relying on an outside group. We call this distribution system the Chlorine Bank Network.
The Chlorine Bank Network will work as follows: There is a central bank — located in Port-au-Prince — and branch banks throughout Haiti. The central bank will import chlorine in bulk and distribute them to the various branch banks. In communities such as Mont Jolie, the money to purchase chlorine from the nearest branch bank will come from their water station’s revenue.
Lastly, once the Chlorine Bank Network has been established, International Action will turn over operations to bank staff/communities and a Chlorine Bank Network Board will be formed. Each community that buys chlorine tablets from the Chlorine Bank Network will have a representative on the board. Collectively, they will determine the selling price of chlorine for all of the chlorine banks.
The Chlorine Bank Network is possible because chlorine tablets are very efficient and affordable- $16 a month can provide 1,100 people with clean, safe water. It will only cost Mont Jolie, a community of 15,000 people, $220 a month for chlorine.
International Action will pay for the chlorine until the chlorine banks are selling enough chlorine to buy it themselves. Once this system is self-sufficient, Haitians will finally have the means and capacity to provide themselves with clean drinking water.
The reaction from community members towards this project has been very positive and many community leaders want to pursue the Chlorine Bank Network immediately. Community leaders and residents agree that spending their money to buy chlorine from an affordable, local source is worthwhile and necessary to ensure the permanence of the chlorinators. Each chlorine bank will cost approximately $10,000 to build, supply, and staff. The question is not “will the Chlorine Bank Network happen?” The question is “when?” The only thing the Haitian communities need is support.