Deep Springs International

to improve life in developing countries by identifying and encouraging the use of affordable water purification systems, teaching the importance of proper household water treatment, and creating new business opportunities for local people
Jun 19, 2014

June 2014 Update

Where there is water....there is life!

                
Chikungunya Outbreak Affects Deep Springs Staff 
Painful virus spreading across Haiti
Contributed by Christina Boyes
 

The mosquito-borne virus known as Chikungunya is spreading quickly in Haiti. Standing water and infected mosquitoes have combined to create a public health crisis. To date, more than half of the Léogâne office staff has been infected.
 
Michael Ritter, founder of Deep Springs International, was one of the first to contract the illness. "The most common symptoms are joint pain, rash, fever, and headaches. On the first day, I felt like I hit my foot on something, but couldn't remember what. That night I started to feel more generalized pain, and realized it might be Chikungunya." Ritter said. 
 
One driver/security guard for Deep Springs was also affected. 
 
The virus is prevalent in Léogâne due to its proximity to the coast. Like most illnesses carried by mosquito, the hardest hit areas are coastal regions or areas with high amounts of standing water. 
 
Chikungunya is relatively rare in the western hemisphere. According to the CDC, the first cases in the Americas were reported in the Caribbean in 2013. At present, no vaccine or medicine is available for prevention or treatment of the illness.
 
During the course of the infection, many individuals find the pain debilitating. However, most patients recover within one week.  
 

Deep Springs International spent the first few months of 2014 developing a new strategic direction in Leogane. We were thrilled to see that in March, the first month of fully implementing this new approach, that we had the best month in a year and a half. The new strategy includes new promotion methods, new agents, and a new credit system.

New Promotion Method: The biggest change in methodology was the suspension of household visits. Traditionally, this has been our primary method of reaching families in need of health education, water-purification products, and encouragement to consistently and properly treat their drinking water. However, in Leogane, for various reasons, this method was decreasing in effectiveness.

The new method involves community meetings instead of household visits. This approach is more cost-effective, but it seems to also be more effective in terms of education and behavior modification – as families who attend receive a lot of “positive peer pressure” from their friends and neighbors who share openly why they sacrifice their pennies (gourdes) to treat their water, and the health benefits they have seen.

Transitioning away from household visits has also led to our sales agents now working strictly on a commission basis. Agents always received a margin for sales of chlorine, but those who conducted household visits used to receive additional compensation. The new approach based solely on commission places even greater incentives on chlorine sales, which is our key indicator for both health impact and financial sustainability.

New Agents: Much of our efforts in January and February focused on recruiting and training new sales agents. We have recruited and trained over 40 new sales agents in 2014. In addition to an almost all-new sales team, the new method encourages sales via a variety of retail outlets such as pharmacies, boutiques, and schools. We even have sales points in previously unreached areas in the neighboring commune of Grand Goave.

New Credit System. We also launched a system of providing chlorine to new sales agents on credit. 28 new agents have paid for their initial stock and purchased more. The current sales numbers only include chlorine that has been paid for, which doesn’t account for an additional 1,000 bottles of chlorine that have been provided on credit. We expect to receive payment for most of those bottles this month, which would make May another high-sales month similar to March, which was our highest-selling month in at least a year and a half.

Did You Know....?
There are many Haitian proverbs that talk about water, a testimony to its importance on the island. 
"Wòch nadlo pa konn doulè wòch nan soley."
"The stone in the water does not know the pain of the stone in the sun."
 
WATER FACT
 
According to the Mayo Clinic, women should consume an average of 2.2 liters of water per day. Men require more - they need an average of 3 liters per day. 
 
You Can Make a Difference Today 
Check out these opportunities to be a part of Deep Springs International
 
Communications Intern in Haiti:  We are still accepting resumes for this Summer as well as Spring Semester 2015.  This is a full-time internship in Haiti for a minimum of four months.   Strong preference for those fluent in French or Haitian Creole.  
 
Development Intern in Pittsburgh: This is a part-time or full-time internship for a minimum of six months.  Strong preference for Pittsburgh native.  
 
 
 
 
 
Jan 13, 2014

4th Quarter Report

 

Displaced persons in Haiti still at risk 
172,000 living away from their homes almost 4 years post quake
 
                                                                                                         Photo credit:  blogher.com
 
Even though the United Nations officially ended its earthquake relief program, the devastating effects of the 2010 disaster – one of the worst in world history – continue.   Since our last report there has been an encouraging relocation effort, but according to the IOM there are still 172,000 displaced people and the economy is still in shambles.  Learn more info about the crisis with displaced persons.
 
 
 
Also, with an epidemic of more than 682,000 cases, over 8,300 Haitians have died of cholera – a totally preventable disease.  Deep Springs continues to play a lead role in Haiti's anti-cholera campaign.   Pan American Health Organization officials fear that, if the disease is not controlled soon, it will spread to epidemic proportions throughuot the hemisphere.   According to PAHO the Dominican Republic has reported over 31,000 cholera cases and 458 deaths since 2010, Cuba has confirmed 678 cases and 3 deaths since July 2012, and Mexico has confirmed 171 cases and 1 death since September of this year.
World Health Organization 
Recognizes Deep Springs in new publication
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published a toolkit on monitoring and evaluation for household water treatment efforts. 
 
Three of Deep Springs' studies about the effectiveness of our programs are cited as examples in the toolkit.  The Jolivert program is presented as a case study in the toolkit and was also featured at the University of North Carolina's Water and Health Conference recently.  The WHO publication also mentions post-quake research showing that our work resulted in the highest "effective use" of household water treatment products among the emergency responses studied.  
Did You Know....? 
 
HAITI FACT
 
In 1801, ex-slave Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743-1803) led nearly one-half million Haitian slaves against Haiti’s French colonialists. Their eventual victory was the first successful slave revolt and helped establish Haiti as the first black republic.


WATER FACT
 
The worldwide water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.  (UNDP)
 

 

 

 

 

 

New Board Members 
Roberts and Aakesson elected at October meeting

Ashley Aakesson Ashley Aakesson is a nutrition, food security, and development leader with 15 years of experience working with vulnerable groups in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean to improve their health and well-being. Ashley joined the SPRING Project in 2013 as a Social and Behavior Change Communication Advisor. She has worked with PATH and Save the Children. From 2006 to 2010 she served as Executive Director of the Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti, which partnered with DeepSprings before and after the earthquake of 2010. Ashley holds an MA in Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland and a BA in Anthropology from Miami University in Ohio.
Margaret Roberts lives in Avella, PA with her husband. She is currently the Senior Procurement Manager for Calgon Carbon Corporation.  Margaret graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor's degree in English and received a Masters in Business Administration from Chatham University.  She joined Calgon Corporation in September of 2013, previously working at LANXESS Corporation and Bayer Corporation.  Margaret has been helping DeepSprings informally in many ways since 2009.

 

Annual Campaign Update 
Chlorine sales add to our sustainable approach
 
Our sustainable approach of selling the locally produced Gadyen Dlo brand chlorine is working!  So far this year sales have topped $90,500 and have really helped push us towards our goal.

Small Sacrifices = Big Impact!
  • For only $2.74 a day (cup of coffee) you are a $1,000 donor
  • For only $5.47 a day (fast food meal) you are a $2,000 donor
That's a small price to pay to provide clean life-saving water in Haiti!

Links:

Oct 28, 2013

October 2013 Update

 

Government Relations - Our productive partnership with DINEPA
 
Many people who know about Haiti or who have worked in Haiti are aware of chronic problems with the Haitian government - inefficiency, corruption, violent elections and coups, etc.   However, we are happy to report that we have enjoyed a very positive and productive relationship with DINEPA, the Haitian Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.    Partly due to the fact that it is a relatively new and small department, DINEPA is very focused on its mission and has been able avoid corruption.

In 2011, DINEPA ordered 500,000 bottles of our Gadyen Dlo brand chlorine as part of their national response plan to the cholera epidemic.   We helped with distributions in three departments (like states) and also have participated in their WASH (Water, Sanitation Hygiene) Cluster meetings.   Our Bucket of Life system is recommended and supported by DINEPA due to chlorine treatment being a key pillar of their national water and sanitation strategy.

 

Annual Campaign back in full swing! 
Hits September goal of 50% mark
 
That's a small price to pay to provide clean life-saving water in Haiti!
 
And don't forget you now have a unique opportunity to leverage your investment by more than five to one.   That's because the UNICEF grant requires a "match" of only $51,000 in order to receive the $239,000.
 
Major Bucket of Life Distribution 
In coordination with U.N. Peacekeepers
 
A local organization, with funding from the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSTAH), purchased 2,700 Buckets of Life.
 
They coordinated a training for over 50 individuals in hygiene promotion and cholera prevention.  Representatives from Deep Springs as well as the Ministry of Health gave the presentations during the training.  These individuals then identified families in Chansolme and Bassin Bleu to receive the Buckets of Life and trained families on the use of the system. 
 
Logistics support for the bucket distribution was provided by MINUSTAH.   Our team for the Northwest Department, based in Jolivert, will serve families to handle their ongoing needs forGadyen Dlo brand chlorine and support.
 

 

 

Aqwalife Partnership 
New $10,000 project in Leogane Commune
 
 
 
Aqwalife was founded by Venkee Sharma, CEO of Aquatech, a leading water and wastewater treatment company based in Canonsburg, PA.  Venkee established Aqwalife in memory of his father Prem Sharma, founder of Aquatech, and as a means for the company and others to support clean water projects for the poor around the world.   Our partnership with Aqwalife will focus on serving over 6,000 people in the Leogane Commune of Haiti.   This exciting partnership was announced recently at the Aqwalife Golf Classic.
 
 
Team LANXESS (L to R)
Keith Papich - LANXESS
Joe Bonazza - Severn Trent Services 
Jeff Ritter - LANXESS & Deep Springs Board Member 
Alex Lackner - Water Economy Network
 
CINCH 
Central Indiana Churches for Haiti
 
CINCH is a coalition of churches in Indiana who are committed to Haiti.  They meet annually and this year's gathering was at Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in West Lafayette.   Many of these churches partner with Deep Springs to provide clean water for their "adopted" communities where they have a sister church relationship.   Michael Ritter provided the annual update at CINCH on October 6th.   If you live in Indiana and would like to attend next year, contact Jeff Newellat jnewell@ball-law.com
 
In spite of decades of political turmoil and natural disasters in Haiti, one institution is constant - The Church.   80% of Haitians claim a Roman Catholic affiliation and 16% affiliate with Protestant denominations, so church has always been a key local pillar of the community.   By partnering with local churches, we not only secure the few physical meeting places in rural communities, but we meet trusted leaders who could become valuable members of the Deep Springs team.   We continue to add church partners, both in Haiti and in the U.S.  Thanks to the churches in Indiana for their strong commitment to walk hand in hand with their Haitian brothers and sisters!

Links:

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