In Haiti, 40% of the population does not have access to clean water. Much of the water in Haiti is contaminated by trash and human waste, yet people still use this water for cooking, showering, and drinking. Dirty water is a breeding ground for bacterial and virus based waterborne diseases, such as cholera, typhoid, and E. coli. Such diseases cause children to miss school, adults to miss work, and can cause deaths. 16% of under-five deaths in Haiti are caused by waterborne diseases. Moreover, the 2010 cholera epidemic claimed the lives of over 7,000 Haitians. Some of our own staff members had family ill with cholera.
To prevent future waterborne disease disasters, every community must have permanent access to safe water. A neighborhood by neighborhood approach must be used because there is no central water treatment or sewage system in Haiti. Most people gather water from community water kiosks by carrying five gallon buckets to and from their homes. When the water at these neighborhood stations is not treated, International Action intervenes.
Our main focus is to improve the health of the Haitian population by preventing the spread of waterborne diseases in Haiti. We accomplish this by installing chlorinators on neighborhood water kiosks, which provide communities and schools with permanent access to clean, safe water.
Chlorinators provide safe drinking water, while remaining inexpensive and easy to use – for example, $16 a month (cost of chlorine) will provide 1,000 Haitians will have safe drinking water.
Using the gravity flow of water, each chlorinator can provide clean, safe water for up to 10,000 Haitians. Water that is treated by our chlorinators is safe to drink for three days. The tablet chlorine we use in the chlorinators rid water of bacteria and other waterborne diseases. Unlike gas and liquid chlorine, which are dangerous and unstable, our chlorine tablets can be stored in harsh conditions and handled by community members.
Our vision is that the chlorinators will become completely community sustained. We seek to encourage local “ownership” of each water system and teach local people the skills needed to maintain the chlorine system for years. Local water committees are trained by International Action staff to adjust chlorine levels, make minor repairs, and educate their neighbors about the value of clean water. Additionally, our staff rides the circuit of installed chlorinators once a month to maintain the equipment and answer questions raised by local water committees. The water committees serve as our point of contact within the community, encourage the community to embrace and protect its chlorinator(s), and are the future leaders of the upcoming locally-run chlorine distribution system: The Chlorine Bank Network.
Our projects include:
Project: West Department Clean Water Project
Impact:Roughly 700,000 Haitians now have permanent access to clean water because of our efforts with the West Department Clean Water Project
This has been our flagship project since 2005. The goal of the program is to provide clean, safe water to all communities in the West Department of Haiti, which includes Port-au-Prince. The capital city is home to nearly 2.5 million people and almost no one has access to running water. The Government of Haiti provides neighborhoods with water kiosks, but the water at many of these stations remains untreated. At kiosks that do not have a water treatment system, International Action intervenes. With the help of local water committees and Haitian officials, we provide clean, safe water to hundreds of communities in the West Department by installing chlorinators on neighborhood kiosks.
We also provide schools with water tanks and kiosks because we realized that children were getting sick from drinking either contaminated water at school, or no water.
Project: Southeast Department Clean Water Project
Impact: 110,000 Haitians in the Southeast of Haiti – utilizing 12 community water stations and 12 school water kiosks – have permanent access to clean, safe water.
The word about our low-cost chlorinators has spread throughout Haiti, especially in the Southeast Department. 54 schools and communities have requested our help because they need access to treated water.
Our goal is to ensure that all 500,000 residents of the Southeast Department have access to clean, safe water. The Southeast Department Water Project is an extension of our work in the West Department Clean Water Project. We treat water at schools and on public kiosks and reservoirs with our chlorinators, water tanks, and pumps. The Government in Haiti is really starting to take notice of our work in the Southeast. We met with the Director of DINEPA, Haiti’s water agency, and agreed in principle to sign an accord-cadre (partnership agreement) with DINEPA. This major breakthrough will help fulfill our goal to provide clean, safe water to every resident and student in the Southeast of Haiti.
Our Commitment to a Healthy Haiti: Beyond Chlorinators
Our purpose is to help Haitians lead healthier lives. We accomplish this primarily by installing chlorinators on neighborhood water kiosks, which provide communities with access to clean water. However, International does work towards improving the health of Haitians through other means. We have two programs – the De-worming Haiti Campaign and Cholera Prevention Consortium – that improve water and sanitation conditions in Haiti, but are not chlorinator focused.
Project: De-Worming Haiti Campaign
Impact: Over 1,400,000 albendazole pills have been distributed to children throughout Haiti. A child only needs two albendazole pills a year to be protected from intestinal worms.
International Action’s main focus is to improve the health of Haitians by preventing the spread of waterborne diseases via clean and safe drinking water. However, providing clean drinking water is not going to cure people who currently suffer from waterborne related diseases. Most people in Haiti, especially children, suffer from intestinal worms. Intestinal worms can consume as much as 20% of a child’s daily nutritional intake. Without the proper nutrition, children may fall ill due to malnutrition and will be vulnerable to contracting other diseases that can be life threatening.
Donate to this project by following the link:
Project: Cholera Prevention Consortium
Impact: During the peak of the cholera epidemic the cholera prevention consortium provided 420,000+ Haitians with clean water in only six months time.
Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by an infection in the intestine, which can cause vomiting and intense diarrhea. If not treated, cholera can kill within hours.
The 2010 cholera epidemic claimed over 7,000 lives in Haiti, mainly in 2011. Many more deaths would have occurred if not for the many efforts to stop the spread of cholera by providing people with clean, safe water. To prevent future waterborne disease epidemics, all communities need permanent access to clean water. However, in 2011, Haitians needed quick short-term solutions to gain access to safe water. Our Cholera Prevention Consortium provided this solution. We donated 350 buckets of granular chlorine to 33 communities, international, and government sponsored groups. These groups were able to quickly distribute the chlorine throughout all of Haiti, especially to places that International Action has not been able to reach. The Cholera Prevention Consortium utilized cooperation to halt the spread of cholera in Haiti.
Donate to this project by following the link provided: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/combatcholerainhaiti/