Bringing Clean Water to Rural Haiti
In the rural mountains beyond the village of Mombin Crochu, Haiti, the only way to get water for a family’s needs is to walk to the nearest water source with buckets and carry the water back. This is most often the job of children and women and, because water is scarce, they frequently have to walk for miles. The children are barefoot and carry the water on their heads. If the water is from an unclean source, they bring the contamination back to all of their family members. This was the situation a team of volunteers from Village Partners International witnessed in 2016. Haitian community leaders took the volunteers to outlying areas to see first-hand the need for cisterns that could provide clean drinking water for rural families. Thanks to a 2017 grant from Allegany Franciscan Ministries, VPI was able to begin funding an ambitious effort to build 50 new cisterns in some of the hardest to reach and most remote areas of the mountains.
Through a partnership with Velinio St-Fleur, an engineer who is familiar with building cisterns and a native to the area, VPI was able to see the dream of clean water become a reality. Velinio became the local project manager and hired skilled laborers and enlisted volunteer farmers who will directly benefit from the water sources. To date, 25 cisterns have been installed and most recently the team was able to complete their first project in Bwadlorens. “We have been dreaming of reaching this community for over a year. It is among the poorest and most isolated outside of Mombin with over 20,000 people living in extreme conditions,” said Jennifer Reynolds, a VPI representative for the project. Access to clean water is the most direct way to make a positive impact fighting the complications of water-borne disease and now numerous families living in this area will have a reliable and safe water source.
Village Partners International is committed to getting clean water to those in need. This partnership in Haiti is one example of how VPI is working hand-in-hand with community members to create lasting impacts. It is our belief that building equitable relationships is an important component of building workable solutions. A volunteer team from the U.S. will travel to Mombin Crochu in March of 2018 to evaluate and assess the impacts of this and other projects.
Terry Leigh Deal
Village Partners International