International Action

International Action collaborates with partner groups and local communities in Haiti to build up local capacities in water resource management; raise the public's awareness of water-related health issues; advocate for water-related policies and development priorities that ensure equitable and affordable access to clean water for all; and support community-based water purification and distribution projects.
Oct 27, 2015

Cite Soleil Project -repairs made and ready to go!

Do you like your job? Is it fulfilling? Does it pay the bills?

We often take our jobs for granted, so take a moment to think about the average Haitian. Haiti is not an easy place to find work. There are very few resources not nearly enough jobs – 80% of people in Haiti make less than $700 a year. This percentage is much worse in Cite Soleil, the poorest community in Port-au-Prince. Cite Soleil is one of the most misunderstood and neglected communities in Haiti. Most of the residents are families that are stuck in the cycle of poverty in large part because of where they live. Unfortunately, Cite Soleil is known for its gang violence, though this violence does not define the vast majority of the community. Because of this reputation, many people and institutions overlook Cite Soleil as they presume any improvements will be short-lived.

However, helping the people of Cite Soleil remains at the heart of International Action’s mission and we will continue to do what we can for the community.

As you might recall, we made plans this year to restore eight of Cite Soleil’s water stations as they had fallen into disrepair due to lack of funds from the Haitian government to fix them. On top of this, a change in the water supply structure in Cite Soleil resulted in a massive increase in the water pressure at all Cite Soleil water stations, causing pipes to break at each one -- some minor and some major.

Between August and October 2015, our staff in Haiti has completed restoration of all Cite Soleil water sites, including installing water pressure alleviation washers inside the pipes to help mitigate the recent increase in water pressure. Two of the water stations required a complete reinstallation of all main pipes, while six of the stations needed replacement valves and pipe elbows. Now the Haitian water committees have another challenge: reinvigorating public trust so that the sites can again become the main source of clean, safe water for some of the poorest in Haiti. They are not alone in this as International Action will help. Once people know and trust that the sites are working again, those Haitians running the water sites that will be able to earn a living running the water stations once again.

Job creation is difficult, especially in Haiti where resources are scarce. To ensure these water sites stay in business AND bring safe, clean water to Haitian families, International Action will be supporting the sites and monitoring for one year to make sure the upgrades hold up against the increased water pressure. We thank you for your continued support. 

Oct 27, 2015

Stories From the Field: the cost of sustainability

In 2015, we have been able to begin one of our most sustainable projects yet: the Clean Water For Artibonite Project.

From start to finish, it has been designed by and for the people they are made to help. Together with community leaders, we created a plan to fund the operation and maintenance of each water pump system and their chlorinators. This is key to their sustainability, as each chlorinator and water pump that we installed needs fuel to run the pump generators, chlorine to refill the chlorinators, and workers running each pump and chlorinator. Funds also have to be saved for future replacements of any broken parts on the chlorinator, water tank, pump or piping. The money required for the water systems isn’t much by our standards but for a community where people make on average make less than $700 a year, we thought this would be a major challenge.

We were wrong.

During our last visit to Haiti, we discovered that people were paying three times what they needed to in order to ensure that they could keep using their water pumps and chlorinators. A quote from Mrs. Pierre, grandmother to 14 grandchildren in the local community, best describes why people are happy to pay more than they have to and why we are so encouraged by the project:

Why do you all look so shocked we are paying this much? We need this water. If we let it fall apart then we have to walk an hour and a half each day. I don’t want to have to do that again. Would you want to have to do that? It is not a question of want; we need this water.”  -Mrs. Pierre, Laraque village 

At another site, we were interested to see a long queue of people waiting to use the water pump. When asked why they bothered, they replied that the only other course of water was over an hour away –now this pump was in their village they wouldn’t have to spend hours collecting water, which was well worth the money.

The observation that communities can collect funds to maintain the water systems was one of the most inspiring things I have witnessed in my work at International Action. For Haiti, it gives hope for a sustainable, healthier future.

P.S. As an aside I thought I’d mention that Mrs. Pierre was very generous to accept having her photo taken with me. Unfortunately it is not included in the above report, as on our way back we had precarious river crossing (the road to this remote community being washed out by rain and erosion) and I fell in. With the camera. Just one of the many challenges of working in Haiti! 

Sep 24, 2015

Stories and pictures from Haiti...

Albendazole can help save lives
Albendazole can help save lives

Reports from the field..

...Here is one additional picture that you might like to see (picture 1). Brisley came to us in July 2014 with a rock hard very large abdomen. We sent him immediately to Hopital Bernard Mevs. He had a bowel obstruction with dead bowel due to worm infestation. About 80% of kids with this condition die in Haiti, but by the grace of God he is alive and doing well! ...Anonymous

Dear International Action,

We were very pleased last April to get the Albendazole pills from your organization. We have been distributing them at our clinic in Northern Haiti. When the government Health Agent for our area visited our clinic in late March, he was able to distribute to them to the children and mothers who came for their immunizations. He treated 75 pregnant mothers and children. We have a monthly immunization clinic where we check the children and pregnant women and give them vitamin A, shots and family planning information. We give them worm pills when we have them, too if they need them. 
 
We have facilitated  getting 6 wells drilled in this area.  However, there needs to be much education about sanitation. We encounter so many children with ascaris, tape worms, and hook worms.  These pills are so necessary to help keep the people in our area healthy. We really appreciated your help in assisting us to get them. As we work together, we can save lives

(Anonymous)

Dear International Action

See below for a couple pictures from our Spring 2015 trip.  Our clinic was housed in a new facility that was recently built and you can see the triage and pharmacy operations in the first picture.  Our process for administering albendazole follows a protocol that ensures that patient within the applicable age range automatically receive albendazole and Vitamin A treatment.  These medications are administered onsite, typically in the triage section of the clinic.  During this trip, we treated 222 individuals with albendazole and vitamin A. 

The second picture represents the gratitude of the residents of Timo for the services we provide and the generous donations we receive.

Thanks, 

Anon

...In the attached photo (picture 4), you might be interested to know that the second child, Evelore, actually coughed up a 3” white worm in our clinic! Your contribution is making a high difference for the children in Haiti!  ...Anonymous
First picture: clinic
First picture: clinic
Second picture: thank you!
Second picture: thank you!
Eve: coughed up a worm!
Eve: coughed up a worm!
Screening clinic
Screening clinic
Waiting for the screening clinic...!
Waiting for the screening clinic...!

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