In every country around the world, conflict is inevitable. Causes range from differences in expectations, perspectives, values, needs and the list goes on. As our work involves many people, conflict comes with the territory. Often the underlying causes we encounter are related to social beliefs and the accessibility of water and poor health due to the presence of waterborne diseases.
This reality is not negative in our minds. Instead we view it as an opportunity for growth and change. To address these problems from the beginning, our team in Haiti as implemented a process to help the leaders of the water management committees respond to complaints in a timely manner.
One such example of how this has played out has been in the community of Savanne Ole (located in the North-East Department of Ouanaminthe). The water management committee has fully embraced our conflict resolution strategies and has put in place a protocol to respond to complaints to ensure that any problems related to the operation of the well are given timely attention and response.
The President of the water committee shared, “we believe in dialogue and think this is the best solution to address conflict issues. This is why we have established a process to manage conflicts with and for the community to ensure that our well continues to be managed effectively.”
He also expressed that this process was developed in collaboration with all of the members of the community. This process, which was learned though Haiti Outreach’s guidance, has served to impact the mentality and behaviors of the people for the better.
After implementing these solutions for more than six months, there is currently less and less conflict around the water points, in addition to a better sharing of available water resources between the people as well.
In rural Haiti, water is the main resource on which socio-economic activities depend. Whether it is the supply necessary for consumption, agriculture, livestock or other activities of small-scale production in the village, the popular adage “water is life” takes on a profound significance in this country where this vital resource is becoming increasingly scarce each year.