After many months of planning, over 40 leaders of the Haitian government, Rotary District #7020 and Rotary International, Haiti Outreach, and other NGO’s active in WASH in Haiti, met for a two-day conference on January 26-27 in Port-au-Prince. The outcome was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the beginning of a long term relationship between these organizations to work together to meet the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) goal of everyone in Haiti having clean water and improved sanitation by 2030!
While the list of attendees is too large to mention everyone, they included major attendees such as Prime Minister Guy Lafontant, who is also a Rotarian, the Director General of DINEPA (the government’s division for Potable Water and Sanitation) Guito Edouard, Rotary International’s President-Elect for 2018-2019 Barry Rassin, Caribbean District #7020 Governor Robert Leger, Rotary International’s Chief Strategy Officer Tom Thorfinnson, Past Rotary District Governor and Founding Chair of WASRAG (Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group)Ron Denham, and the planning group’s Chair, Past Rotary #7020 District Governor Jeremy Hurst.
Haiti Outreach was represented by Country Director Neil Van Dine, Executive Director Dale Snyder, and Director of Monitoring and Evaluation Brian Jensen. Carolyn Crowley-Meub, Executive Director of Pure Water for the World, was also a major organizer of the event.
This is the first time that a group of this size and scope has gathered together to focus on how we can work together to bring about the ambitious goal declared for water and sanitation for the entire population of Haiti. If this can be accomplished in the next 13 years, it would truly be a major breakthrough, not only for the people of Haiti, but it could be a pilot project and a wonderful example of how this could be accomplished in all of the underdeveloped countries of the world.
Rotary International declared the goal of eliminating the crippling disease of polio world-wide in the 1980’s, and it has been the catalyst for reducing the cases of polio in every country by 99.9%! Once that has been accomplished, Rotary will consider their next major world-wide initiative, and it could be in the area of clean water and improved sanitation. In the meantime, the newly forming joint committee of participants from the HANWASH (Haiti National Clean Water, Sanitation and Health Strategy) Workshop held in January will be creating a 5 Year Strategic Plan that will guide our collaboration to accelerate the activities of NGO’s, Rotary and the Haitian government to accomplish the 2030 clean water and sanitation goal.