Today, 663 million people worldwide do not have access to a safe and reliable water source, and 1 in 3 people do not have a proper toilet. Rural communities in Haiti know first-hand these realities, as nearly half the population must spend 30 minutes or more just to access a water source. Since girls and women are usually responsible for this chore, they spend an average of 6 hours a day just collecting water. That time could be spent doing other activities such as generating income or pursuing an education. This unfortunate reality leads to an even wider disparity gap for women and girls in Haiti.
According to UNICEF, 1 in 4 girls do not finish primary school (compared to 1 in 7 boys). Water and sanitation are not the only culprit; however, when girls have close and reliable access to safe drinking water or proper toilets they are more likely to stay in school because they have more time, economic resources, and experience better health overall.
While the numbers are not encouraging, we have many reasons to hope for sustainable change. At Haiti Outreach we have seen lives impacted for the better thanks to the efforts of our team in the field. Caroline, a little girl from the town of Mankèt Ri Chilo, in the commune of Ouanaminthe, is one example of this. She shared recently, “Since my neighborhood has had a water pump installed, my friends and family are able to clean ourselves regularly, and we have fewer illnesses.”
Helping to provide access to clean water is of utmost importance to Haiti Outreach and our partners. We are all working diligently to improve the current situation not only in Pignon, but across the entire country.