On January 4, Haiti Outreach, Water.org, and the Haitian community of Ravin Joubè celebrated the inauguration of their clean water well. In attendance at the celebration were Water.org’s co-founders, some of their board members, supporters, and staff, plus many of our own Haiti Outreach team members. This is the second inauguration I’ve attended since joining Haiti Outreach in May, 2011. Both were incredible celebrations of the vibrancy, pride, and joy that a well brings to people.
The community of Ravin Joubè is in a rural area near the town of San Raphael, Haiti. The inauguration and opening of their well was the culmination of the community’s management training and preparation that took place for months under our guidance and support. The new well will bring fresh, safe water to 300 people – people who previously had to walk to rivers to collect dirty water for their daily use.
The new Ravin Joubè Well is part of a joint project between Haiti Outreach and Water.org. The project consists of drilling new wells and rehabilitating dysfunctional wells to bring safe, potable water to 18,000 people in the rural area around Haiti Outreach’s hometown of Pignon and the neighboring town of San Raphael. Our partnership with Water.org began in May of 2010 after they evaluated and certified us as an organization that has demonstrated a long and lasting commitment to developing Haitian communities to maintain sustainable water sources and sanitation facilities. Together with Water.org, we share the belief that community engagement and development create lasting change in how community members work together to create solutions to their own challenges – and that this ability can extend beyond the immediate work we do in water, hygiene and sanitation.
What is so important about Clean Water Well Inaugurations?
Haiti Outreach helps nearly 40 to 50 communities inaugurate wells each year. The inaugurations are opportunities for the community members to demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to manage and maintain this vital resource. They’re an opportunity to celebrate the well’s multiple benefits with music, dance, skits, songs and speeches. The benefits of this easily-accessible, safe drinking water for the community include:
- The possibility for children to go to school because they no longer need to spend hours every day walking long distances to the river to get water,
- Improved health as water-borne illnesses are eliminated or greatly reduced
- A newly-instilled feeling of self-sufficiency and an ability to work together as they gain collaborative management skills and concepts.
For me, the inaugurations put all our work into perspective. We’re helping Haitians help themselves on their path to establishing, managing and sustaining a better life because they now have safe water – something that so many of us take for granted. This water is their water – they worked for it and they own it, and as a result they’re committed to assuring it’s there for the long run. It’s humbling, and I’m proud to be working with my Haiti Outreach colleagues and our supporters who make this possible.
You can help us bring safe water and pride of ownership to more of our Haitian neighbors by donating now to Haiti Outreach. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. With each of these, you can flow with us!