We are continuing our efforts to provide clean water for 900,000 rural Haitians families who are without.
Some recent accomplishments include:
World Handwashing Day
Recently, Deep Springs staff and volunteers had the opportunity to participate in this annual United Nations’ event to educate local school children and communities about the importance of hand washing.
Our 5 gallon bucket systems were used as the water dispensers for the demonstrations, which also gave us an opportunity to emphasize the importance of chlorine treatment and proper storage.
Many learned that, even though water can be clean at the source, it can become contaminated by dirty hands, dirty containers, or by not keeping a lid on the container.
Investing in our Team
At Deep Springs, we recognize that an organization is people…and so there is no better investment than the one we invest into staff training and development. Recently we had another round of training, in Milot (north) and Leogane (south).
Focus areas included: definition of leadership, styles of leadership, and strategic planning. Many games and group dynamics were included to facilitate learning, and help the team bond.
The concluding commitment of the team is one we can all embrace: “Though the road ahead may be painful, we will achieve our objectives TOGETHER!”
Thank you again for supporting suffering families in Haiti who need life-giving clean water!
DSI has always been committed to long-term impact and sustainability, and recently we have focused increasingly on investing in the human element of sustainability and promoting management by local staff. For the first time, Field Supervisors from all around the country meet for a 3-day retreat in Jolivert (northwest Haiti) to share lessons learned and mentor each other as they develop strategy. There were 14 attendees, and supervisors from each of four geographical sites presented how their project is structured to the rest of the group. The Jolivert staff also gave a tour of their production facilities, as Jolivert was the first location that Gadyen Dlo was produced and has served as a reference point for other sites. We also considered key performance indicators, discussed ideas for innovative approaches, and held a series of role play activities in which groups made presentations to each other. The Supervisors said that they felt encouraged to meet each other and were energized to return to their programs and incorporate the concepts discussed.
DSI continues to expand in northern Haiti, particularly through our partnership with UNICEF and Cesvi. We have trained 41 health agents about Gadyen Dlo who are part of the Ministry of Health network. These agents have distributed bottles of Gadyen Dlo chlorine to over 11,000 families and are conducting household visits on an ongoing basis. The focus in the months ahead is to distribute safe storage containers through a partnership with CDC, to transition from free distributions to sales of chlorine, and to increase visibility and promotion of Gadyen Dlo in the community.
Our strategy for this year focuses on optimizing how Gadyen Dlo chlorine is delivered to families. The mix of marketing, household visits, and sales mechanisms vary among each location where Gadyen Dlo is offered. In the coming months, with the help of CDC and graduate students, we will be evaluating the effectiveness of these different models as we attempt to optimize how families have access to chlorine. We are excited about the opportunities to improve our work and increase the number of families who treat their water correctly and consistently.
A particular focus in the coming months is on northern Haiti. Through partnerships with UNICEF, DINEPA, and Cesvi, we will be expanding to 13,000 families (estimated 65,000 individuals) in the communes of Milot and Plaine du Nord. We have hired two new Field Supervisors and are in the process of identifying and training over 50 chlorine resellers and health agents. After families receive an initial free bottle of chlorine, the resellers will make refills available to these families. The trainings will be accompanied by radio spots, promotion in schools, community events, and household visits. We are excited to bring the lessons we have learned about community mobilization and promotion in other sites to guide our campaigns in Milot and Plaine du Nord.
Long-term impact requires strong partnerships at all levels. DSI has always focused on identifying existing strengths and collaborating with local partners. Our recent activities have led to close partnerships with large-scale actors like UNICEF and DINEPA (the Haitian government’s Directorate of Water and Sanitation) as well as local community leaders, health agents, and vendors. DINEPA has established a goal of providing all families in rural areas with access to an approved, affordable chlorine product to treat their water at the household level. Gadyen Dlo, DSI’s locally produced chlorine product, is the product of choice for the third phase of DINEPA’s chlorine distributions. Our partnership aims to provide 260,000 families, or over 1.2 million individuals, with Gadyen Dlo.
To accomplish the initial distributions, DINEPA is mobilizing local community leaders that will be trained by DSI agents and will distribute Gadyen Dlo in their communities. This will simultaneously help DINEPA reach their goal of providing safe water and allow DSI to reach its goal of increased coverage of Gadyen Dlo. The first distributions took place in the northwest department in late August, as shown in the pictures. In the future, it is expected that these local leaders will also gain opportunities to generate income through ongoing sales of Gadyen Dlo. We are working on a strategy that focuses on promoting household chlorination through a combination of mass media, community events, and one-on-one household visits. In the coming months, your support will be targeted toward ensuring that families who obtain Gadyen Dlo through the DINEPA distributions receive messages about the importance of ongoing household water treatment and information about where it is available.
The effects of the earthquake are still being felt over a year later. DSI’s model of locally driven social enterprises has shown itself to be both scalable and sustainable. The past year has allowed us many opportunities to enter new communities, forge partnerships with institutions which will be fighting unsafe water for years to come, and learn lessons about how best to make our efforts sustainable. Despite fluctuations in aid that has been available to communities we serve, our Haitian agents have continued providing access to safe water.
Our current programs serve over 40,000 families with chlorine on an ongoing basis. Not only do our efforts save lives, but the increased operations have provided jobs for over 260 Haitians to produce and distribute bottles of chlorine. In order to sustain these economic opportunities and make continued health impact, it is critical that local agents promote healthy behaviors and use of chlorine to treat drinking water. Your support is greatly appreciated as we empower these agents to strive for change that will become a part of daily life for rural Haitian families.
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