Can you imagine living in an area where clean water is a rare commodity? For the people of Prevwyans Morne Kolo, located roughly 70 kilometers from Cap-Haitian, that had been the case for generations. Every morning, the members of this community needed travel long distances to gather water. The time spent fetching water prevented them from other activities such as earning income or pursing an education. To make matters even more challenging, all too often the water they collected from a river or spring is not safe for consumption and makes them sick which only creates more challenges for these people. When communities request a well, Haiti Outreach staff does an assessment to discern how they can have access to this basic necessity with-in half a mile or less.
As women are typically the water bearers, they are the ones who have the most to gain by shortening their trip.
Recently our team built a new well in the heart of Prevwyans Morne Kolo. Madame Joseph Merilia, a 44-year-old widow who lives with her children and grandchildren, is delighted with the new well that has been installed just a few steps from her humble home! She is elated by the ways this new asset will transform daily life for her and her family, and explained that: “Before, there was only one open pit, where we used to draw water, and one day we found a dog’s head floating inside, so we did not use it anymore. To find water, we had to go to Payen, which is very far from here, but we did not trust that source either. ” A woman of faith, she stated, “It is God who sent Haiti Outreach into our community to build this well for us.”
Another resident of Prevwayans, and Chairman of the well management committee, shared similar sentiments regarding their new well stating: “Before, access to water was a real problem for us. We thank Haiti Outreach and DINEPA who took the initiative to build this well for us.”
Mr. Onel, a supervisor at Haiti Outreach affirmed that their staff is very conscious of the health of each individual. “Before giving the green light to use our wells, our inspectors perform laboratory tests to ensure that the water is safe to drink.” To affirm his trust in the reliability of their test, he took a swig of the water as to attest to its good quality.
Indeed, Haiti Outreach has built, or rehabilitated, scores of wells in over 20 years. However, the real impact lies in the development of the communities they engage.
For many other nonprofit organizations, creating a management committee may not be part of the process. However, in our view, it is the most important component. Management training is essential because we cannot talk about development without a structure that leads to the empowerment of the population.