We left early from Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, for the two hour drive to Leogane, where we were meeting with staff from Deep Springs International (DSI). We arrived on a Saturday and were surprised to find several staff members busily working. It was bottling day!
DSI locally produces a liquid chlorine that makes water safe to drink. A capful of chlorine purifies five gallons of water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. The organization works with community health workers employed by the Ministry of Health to spread the importance of clean water for overall health – a message that becomes even more important with the recent spread of cholera. For only $1.25, a family of five can receive enough chlorine to have clean drinking water for an entire month.
In the past year since the earthquake, DSI has grown from only 40 staff to 240 staff – almost all of whom are Haitian. We met with Jean Alliance who explained to us how they train staff to educate the community and bring the chlorine solution to families throughout the region. The sustainability of the project is important, so the solution is sold, with the small profit margin going to the community health workers. This allows the project to be independent from relying on grants, provides employment in the local community, and reducing health problems among the families who use the system. Michael Ritter, National Program Officer, says that their studies show that health indicators seem to be improving within families that use the system. Childhood diarrhea, for instance, has dropped 50% among their clients.
They continue to monitor the affect that DSI’s water systems are having on the area and expand in a smart, sustainable way. DSI was working in Haiti before the earthquake, and continues to remain dedicated to the expanding in a way that improves health and increases local employment in the region.
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