An Update on the Gift of Water Program in Jeannette, Haiti August 2017:
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In the late 1990’s Nancy Frana, a long-time Haiti Project supporter and nurse, worked with the community of Jeannette to introduce a simple water purification system administered through Gift of Water (www.giftofwater.org). This system was embraced by the community and education and upkeep was coordinated by two local water technicians. After the Gift of Water closed, many systems in Jeannette no longer were kept in working order. More recently, Gift of Water opened under new ownership and is reconnecting with the communities they served.
During the Haiti Project March 2015 trip, water technician, Jacsonn Leger, expressed concern about a rise in water borne illness in the community. People in the village were asking Jacsonn for Aquatabs (chlorine tablets) for their double bucket systems after noticing a rise in intestinal sickness. After verifying this report with Pere Jean Lenord Quartorze and the nurses at the health clinic, members of the Haiti Project Steering Committee initiated steps to raise funds and engage with Gift of Water to reintroduce the program.
June-August 2015: Diocese of Milwaukee Haiti Project conducted the successful Matching Campaign for Clean Water and Electricity raising $27, 000 that was matched, bringing our total to $54,000. Gift of Water staff, Michael Herriman and Jenjenio Conserve, visited Jeannette to conduct a community assessment. Since that time, St. Marc’s water technician, Jacsonn Leger has identified households with systems needing upgrades.
November 2015: Gift of Water, Haiti Project and St. Marc’s Jeannette Water Committee met to agree on the details of managing the water program in Jeannette. Water Committee members include: Pere Jean Lenord Quartorze, Jean Tonal, and Hilaire Govain.The Haitian team of Jenjenio Conserve and Jacsonn Leger provided a full day of water and sanitation education at St. Marc’s School. Delivering age-appropriate, dynamic instruction, Jenjenio engaged all ages of students in conversations about this subject that impacts so much of their life. Calling out their prior knowledge, actively participating in hands-on games at the middle and high school level and giggling at Jenjenio’s humorous discussion of hygene habits, students were transfixed.
Eleven double bucket systems were delivered to St. Marc’s School. 49 were distributed to community members at a cost of $300 Haitian dollars ($3 US dollars). After many years of community work in Haiti, all partners agreed that each household should pay something for their system. People take greater ownership and care for the purification system if they invest in it.
2016: The Haiti Project in consultation with St. Marc’s Water Committee planned the delivery of an additional 200 purification systems for members of the community.
March 2017: Gift of Water audit of community finds success and recommends more systems for households in order to reach more families.
July 2017, a generous grant from the Bronner Family Foundation provided the funding for an expansion of the program. 150 new household water purification systems will be made available for purchase at a nominal rate in the five zones in Jeannette, Haiti. A new, locally selected water technician will begin working with Jacsonn Leger this Fall.
By day, the preschool rooms are lit. Roderique Sully’s computer class is no longer theoretical but engaged in hands on learning. The computers are on and students are learning skills essential to interact in today’s global village. The health clinic has electricity as well as the rest of the campus. Pumps that move water from underground cisterns to roof tops are working.
In January 2018, a health group purchase a sterilizing machine for dental tools now that there is an electrical source. Electricity is a good thing to have.