With a vision that Haiti would be a developed country, the work that we do in the field is not a solo effort. Our model incorporates the involvement of both the local government authorities and the people. Before we work with a community, the local people must express interest in having a well closer to their homes. After we receive their request letter, our staff completes a feasibility study to assess where to best drill, and to assess if this community will be a good fit for our services.
Modelin Joseph is one of our animators* and is working with a community in the commune of Cerca Carvajal. In a conversation with the leadership committee of this community, the Chair of the committee, Marlene, shared their journey to finding out about Haiti Outreach. She expressed, “We have endured many health problems from drinking spring water. Often this water caused our children to become very ill and women faced many feminine issues as well. We spent a lot of money at the hospital trying to find treatment for these ailments, but often the remedies only worked temporarily.”
She continued: “We had no idea that the culprit was the water, or that the solution would be so simple. One day, a friend advised me to reach out to Haiti Outreach because they have expertise in the field and they could solve the problem that my community was facing. Two days later, I met with the local authorities of my community who helped me write a request letter to Haiti Outreach and one to DINEPA.* That was the first step towards realizing our dream.”
With a joyful smile she shared, “After submitting the letters, it took a year before anyone came to visit our community. Once they did come, however, the process took off. First, they began by organizing meetings and collecting information related to sanitation. They advised us to create a well management committee that would have certain terms and conditions.* A few days after this, our dream became reality!”
Modelin, who works for Haiti Outreach, affirmed Marleen’s comments by sharing,
“Our priority is to ensure that women won’t have to walk more than 500 meters*.” Having water closer to their homes allows women and young girls more time to pursue other activities such as work or going to school.
There are so many factors to consider, including the funding that is available, before our team can provide training and begin the process of receiving a well. So, some communities have to wait longer than others.
Modelin stated, “We also give priority to the number of villagers, the proportion of elderly, and those who have the greatest need. Our motivation is to put a smile on the faces of the community members and to instill a sense of responsibility that will make them stronger and more motivated. We know that we have weaknesses, and we continue to work diligently to improve our process every day in order to give the best results we can. We may be a small team, but we work with a great vision. Thanks also to Haiti Outreach.”
*Animator – an employee of Haiti Outreach who guides the community training in sanitation and management of their well.
*DINEPA – the Haitian government agency that oversees the nation’s water and sanitation
*Terms and conditions for the well management committee = at least half of the leaders must be women, and no members can belong to the same household.