With 1,100 miles of coastline and a water table just seventy-five feet under the ground, on paper, Haiti sounds like an aquatic oasis. However, less than half of the population has direct access to clean water. In the past twenty years alone, $50 billion has been spent on rural water supply in this area of the world. In retrospect, development experts have realized that these projects do not work. Even with wells installed by various government programs, disaster relief programs, and mission trips, many people in Haiti resort to gathering water from garbage-filled rivers to provide their families with enough water to drink, eat, bathe, and clean every day. If wells and pumps are being provided, why aren’t they being used?
The old adage “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” has great meaning in this situation. So many wells have been built in Haiti, but little work has been done to make them a sustainable option for clean water. After a few years, they break or they go unused because the villages can not afford to maintain them. They are often left with faucets with no running water.
Currently, there is no centralized infrastructure in place to regulate, maintain, or monitor the wells. Right now, people donate their time, outside of their daily jobs and responsibility, to try to repair and maintain the peace at the well sites. Unfortunately, the work of these selfless volunteers and residents is not enough.
Read more about the need of a workforce to be implemented to turn these wells into a sustainable source of water for the people of Haiti. We need to work on building a business model that is sustainable for the residents of Haiti to access clean and available water.