Augustin Lukenson is a 29 year old man who lives with his parents and three siblings (two sisters and one brother). They reside in an area called Bwasans, which is located in the municipality of Ouanaminthe, in the North-East Department, Haiti. He is well respected in his community and serves as a teacher. His job provides the majority of his income, but it still is not always enough for himself and his family.
His family used to gather water from a well that was located near a school in a neighboring area. Not only was the well far from his home, but often the school principal forbade people to gather water for personal use. He wanted it to be used for students and teachers during the school day. Their secondary option to find water was from a spring that was even further away. To manage his work responsibilities, Augustin shared, “I had to go there late at night or at dawn. It was very stressful for the inhabitants to obtain water there.”
One day, he heard an advertisement over a microphone. It was a song to promote solutions for clean water access. His ears perked up to listen to the details of this ad. He learned about an organization called Haiti Outreach that offered an opportunity for communities to have clean water closer to their homes. The jingle communicated that they would need to form a committee to manage the well and submit a request letter to the organization to try and get approval.
Inspired, he didn’t waste any time and that same day he organized a meeting with his community to talk about this possibility. By the end of the meeting, they had formed a committee of 5 members and began drafting their request letter with the support of the local authorities. A few months later, an agent from Haiti Outreach contacted the leadership committee to begin training. After 3 months, their well was drilled, and now they have clean water closer to home!
Having clean water closer to home is not the only benefit that Augustin has experienced. He also has been employed to help inspect wells in nearby communities and enter the monitoring and evaluation reports into mWater. In the past, Haiti Outreach staff was helping with this, but now they have pivoted to having community members complete this task. It has proven very effective and has added another layer of autonomy for the communities. What’s been particularly interesting, is that the community members hold each other accountable in ways that the Haiti Outreach staff could not.
Augustin collects reports for 27 communities and enters them into mWater. Each CPE* pays him 150 gourds* for this work. This equates to a total of 4,050 gourdes* per month. Grateful for this opportunity he shared, “This small amount makes it easier for me to meet the economic needs of my younger siblings.”
CPE = Water Point Committee
150 Haitian gourdes is about $1.50USD
4,050 Haitian gourdes is about $40 USD