The entire community of Mankèt Ri Chilo, located in Ouanaminthe, cheers with glee as they witness water flowing out of the new pump their community has just received. A joyous occasion, their elation is made evident by the laughter of the women and the cheers of young girls and children in the community. The people of Mankèt Ri Chilo community already had five boreholes equipped with handpumps, but those wells had not been managed responsibly and were not considered potable (safe for consumption). Furthermore, as the population in this area grew, they needed to increase their water sources.
Clean water is important to everyone, but women and girls in Haiti are often the most impacted by lack of access to safe water, as it is usually their job to collect water for the family. Limited access to clean water not only impacts children’s hygiene and health, promoting the spread of water-borne diseases, but can also hamper their education. This impact is particularly marked among girls.
With the support of DINEPA*, our team at Haiti Outreach not only ensures sustainable access to clean water, but also training for the communities on proper sanitation systems and practices. Recognizing the importance of responding to the urgent needs generated by the humanitarian crisis while improving the long-term resilience of populations, Haiti Outreach and its partners are committed to an approach that transcends the humanitarian and development divide. Liviose Victorin, field coordinator at the Haiti Outreach office in Ouanaminthe states that “Haiti Outreach programs aim to meet the immediate needs of communities while reducing risks and vulnerabilities.” “Although water supply is a priority in the early stages of an emergency, sanitation and hygiene are also critical factors. Thus, initiatives have been developed to facilitate the adoption of good practices, such as hand washing with soap and clean water.
Marilène Joseph is 13 years old and is a 7th grade student at the middle school of Mankèt Ri Chilo, located about 3 kilometers from her house. She shared, “Sometimes we miss school lessons, or even [entire] school days during periods of pump failure.” For Marilène, the arrival of this new well transformed her life. “Water is a great source of happiness, and now we also have latrines, hand washing kits, soap, and so much more!” She exclaimed.
*DINEPA is the National Direction for Water and Sanitation in Haiti