It is believed that more than 70% of Haitians do not have access to clean, potable water which results in their use of garbage infested, animal encroached river water to meet their daily needs. Waterborne illnesses such as typhoid, cholera and chronic diarrhea cause more than half of the deaths in Haiti each year. Contaminated water is a significant cause of Haiti’s high infant mortality rate (57 in 1000) and is the primary reason that 1 of 8 Haitian children do not reach the age of 5. The major water source for Haitians who do have access to potentially potable water are drilled wells utilizing hand pumps or open, hand dug wells. But many of these test positive for e-coli bacteria due to poor use practices or other contaminating sources; many others are not functional and need repair. Our inventory of 68 wells in the area of Lacroix, Haiti confirmed that two thirds are either inactive or provide contaminated water.
Northern Friends of Haiti (NFoH) works with village communities to help establish clean, potable water solutions in a manner most favorable to the area. Solutions include rain collection systems, machine drilled or hand dug wells and the development of other water assets (mountain springs, etc.) as may be available. In addition, we provide water quality testing and water purification solutions where needed. Of utmost importance, we provide communities with education and instruction regarding clean water practices and the proper maintenance of their clean water sources. Our approach is to partner with the community in need by establishing a village committee to oversee the water source and develop a solution plan together. We then contract with the community to clarify their responsibilities and define how NFoH can assist. The development or repair of a water source proceeds only when a means of sustaining the solution has been assured. We then follow up on a regular basis to assure the water source is being properly maintained.