Sance Community Local School, Haiti
The Sance community’s local school welcomed 300 students through its doors every day. Unfortunately, the school lacked one critical component for fostering an effective learning environment—safe water. The school had one hand pump on its grounds, but the pump was rusted beyond use. In addition, students who drank from this water source often fell ill to various diseases, including cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea. Without a safe water source, students were burdened with the responsibility of finding water to drink during the school day. This additional obligation sometimes made students late for class or forced them to miss lessons altogether. In some cases, students fell so far behind that they dropped out.
A lack of safe water at school not only meant that students went thirsty but also that school staff didn’t have the resources to prepare safe meals or practice proper sanitation. Unsafe water meant that the school’s bathrooms couldn’t be cleaned appropriately, further spreading germs among the student population. The water crisis’ grip on the school became increasingly alarming until students were forced to spend their family’s money purchasing water from local vendors. This was an expensive, short-term solution. Therefore, the school’s water problem crept into the community at large, stifling development, and confining residents to a cycle of sickness, need, and spending.
Louisel Joseph is a 39-year-old teacher at the school. He said,“The community members were suffering while this pump was broken. We used to walk an hour to get unsafe drinking water. During the ten months the pump wasn’t functioning, parents worried for their children who used to go elsewhere to get water, especially because of the socio-political insecurity in our area.”
Residents were overwhelmed by the perpetual poverty within their community, disheartened that their children couldn’t harness their full potential at school. Leaders from the community and the school administration joined together, resolving to provide better lives for their children by requesting help.
Our staff visited the community and found that the residents desperately needed a safe water source. They were also ready to care for a water system, so the staff announced the rehabilitation of the well at the school! Finally, the students and school community could have unfettered access to safe water!
Our team helped the students and staff at the school work to secure a future of safe water access by implementing several sustainability methods. One of these was the appointment of a water committee. This committee, comprised of both teachers and students, will collect a small, agreed-upon fee per household for water usage. These fees will be used to cover any replacement parts or repairs the well might need in the future. Our team will stay in contact with the group in order to monitor the functionality of the well.
In order to help the residents understand how to use their new safe water in order to improve their health, a sanitation and hygiene promotion activity was held for the community. These interactive training sessions used a variety of hands-on methods to make them interactive and memorable. The team showed the participants how to take care of the pump and properly store the safe water. Additionally, the team used visual aids to explain how germs and diseases are transmitted, as well as the importance of thorough handwashing and proper latrine usage.
Mr. Joseph is confident that the school’s new water source will allow his students to reach their full potential. He and his fellow teachers are grateful that they can focus on teaching their students, rather than worry about where the children will get their next drink. He said, “The situation has completely changed now that safe drinking water is available in the community.”
|Exact Coordinates:||Latitude: 19.4573713 | Longitude: -71.7596401|
|Previous Water:||Hand-Dug Well|
|Main Water Collectors:||Students|
|Pump Type:||Hand pump|
|Depth of Well:||24 m|