In only a matter of months the Coronavirus has spread throughout the world – and Haiti is no exception. As of March 19th, Haiti too has been impacted by this world-wide pandemic. In response, we are implementing new methods of completing our work and training the communities.
Before this global crisis, our practice was to send our animators into the field to meet with the communities to talk to them, teach them about the importance of proper sanitation and hygiene, and guide them in developing a plan to manage their well. Now with the new social distancing requirements, our team has had to modify our operations and evaluation practices.
The first step is to work with the local government authorities in each commune to involve them and establish an execution plan to share our communications safely and effectively. For the communities that have access to WhatsApp, they will receive videos and infographics to demonstrate how to properly wash their hands and how to build a tippy-tap with soap on a rope near their well. They will also be able to hold conference calls via phone. For the communities that do not have access to WhatsApp, our animators will put up the infographic and instructions to make a Tippy Tap on the wells in each community.
Our process has always required that each community well have an employed guard to ensure that people are respecting the wells and that it is clean. Going forward, the well guard will also be responsible to ensure that people wash their hands with the Tippy Tap before they can enter the well house. Additionally, our inspectors will now be documenting which communities have a functioning tippy-tap near each of our wells as part of our monthly evaluation process.
Mr. Joseph Modelin, animator in the commune of Arcahaie, has found that this new method of communicating with the communities has worked quite well. “Even if committee members are at home, they can attend meetings on the same phone line. The most interesting thing about all of this is that they can share this information with others in their neighborhood. Social distancing is not a handicap to our work,” says Modelin. “Communities are adapting very well to this new method”, he continues. “They already liked using WhatsApp, and now that they can use it for information and training, they like it even more, and our work is progressing wonderfully!”
Some community members of Arcahaie have embraced their new learning and have installed a Tippy Tap near their well. “They put a gallon of water and soap on a rope, for any passersby to remember to wash their hands. The well guard is responsible for refilling the gallon whenever it is empty.”