Five Rotary Clubs Win Global Grant for Haiti Clean Water
The World Health Organization and UNICEF have identified Haiti and the Dominican Republic as among the countries most impacted by contaminated water supplies and water-related diseases. Rotary has addressed this problem by helping install 19,000 bio-sand water filters in 300 communities across the Dominican Republic, reaching an estimated 100,000 people. Our Haiti Clean Water project is designed to further extend Rotary’s involvement with bio-sand water filters in Haiti.
Haiti Clean Water is a project involving five Rotary Clubs, two Rotary Districts, and Rotary International under a Rotary Foundation Global Grant. The grant was submitted and won by the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club (District 6780) and the Rotary Club St. Marc (District 7020). Partnering clubs in District 6780 are the Oak Ridge Rotary Club, the Oak Ridge Sunset Rotary Club, and the Fairfield Glade Rotary Club. Clean Water for Haiti, an organization that is based in Haiti, is the “Cooperating Organization” for implementation of this project. The grant award totals $73,600.
The project is organized into two complimentary components: fabrication and education.
1. The fabrication component will manufacture and install concrete bio-sand filters in remote regions of Haiti, regions that are only accessible by 4X4 vehicle or by foot. Manufacturing will utilize local materials and Haitian labor, which adds a local economic benefit to the long-term health benefits of clean, filtered water.
2. The education component will focus on education, community acceptance, installation, training, and follow-up. Installation, education, and follow-up will be provided by trained Haitian technicians. The objective here is to provide education and training needed to support a cultural change regarding the importance of clean water to personal and public health. The clean water will be produced by filters sited in homes where the recipients have paid a nominal charge for the filter. This small fee has been found to be a key to promoting user understanding and acceptance of good clean water practices. Surveys have shown that more than 95% of installed filters in Haiti are being correctly used one year after initial installation.
ORBRC used this approach – extensive clean water education, training, and follow-up -- in an early pilot project that demonstrated positive change in water habits of Haitian schools and households. That project was supported by a District 6780 Simplified Grant. The present Haiati Clean Water project will support at least 900 households. It is estimated to provide positive health impacts on 4,000 Haitians.
At the end of July, 2015, 564 (69%) of the filters have been installed and 53% of the funding has been used.
Rotarians Tom Clary from the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club and Adolf King from the Oak Ridge Rotary Club visited Haiti to kick off the start of the pilot program. Dr. Clary returned toward the end of the project to witness the results firsthand. Tom stated, “It was extremely gratifying to see the pride evident in the families who acquired a filter, and the care and attention paid by them for proper use of their filter.”
For further information about this project, please contact the project coordinator, Jim Palmer (ORBRC), at (865) 482-4809.