When the devastating 2010 earthquake struck Haiti, Pure Water for the World (PWW) already had three years of boots-on-the-ground experience implementing clean water programs and hygiene training in schools, orphanages and health clinics across some of the country’s poorest slums.
Within hours of the earthquake, PWW’s locally-based team quickly and adeptly shifted their focus to emergency response, delivering safe drinking water to thousands of survivors.
“People called us day and night for water,” remembers Rony Seraphin, PWW’s Chief Project Coordinator in Haiti. “They knew Pure Water could help in this unimaginable situation.”
Because Pure Water for the World was already well known and respected in Haiti, the PWW Haiti team was able to bring potable water to some of the country’s most difficult-to-reach communities, including Cité Soleil, notoriously known as the “worst slum in the Western Hemisphere”.
Seraphin recalls that at the time of the earthquake, PWW set up some 45 water stations to provide safe water to affected populations. For more than eight months, the team’s work focused on water truck deliveries and emergency hygiene and sanitation programming. As a result, more than 90,500 earthquake survivors received desperately needed clean water.
In response to the post-earthquake cholera outbreak, the PWW Haiti team increased hygiene education efforts, conducting student and community outreach activities and reinforcing training on safe hygiene practices.
Today, Pure Water for the World continues to deliver safe water and hygiene solutions to the most rural and underserved communities across Haiti. In addition to providing biosand water filters to populations who need it most, the PWW Haiti team ensures the tools reach their maximum impact by complementing hardware with extensive community- and school-based hygiene education, combined with follow-up monitoring and support.
Pure Water for the World’s post-earthquake efforts were effective for six primary reasons that still hold true today:
1. Strong Community Relationships.
PWW is a trusted provider in the Haitian nonprofit sector, working with, rather than for communities, by requiring community buy-in and participation in all WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programming.
2. Talented, Local Staff.
PWW’s in-country staff members often come from the very communities in which they work. They understand local context and culture. The staff is well-trained to provide quality services, and their capacity is built through facilitating and participating in WASH Training and Consulting Services, coordinated in partnership with the Center for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology.
3. Boots Firmly On-The-Ground.
The PWW Port-au-Prince office is well connected to the needs of targeted communities in Haiti. Staff is on the ground each day meeting with community representatives, religious leaders, educators, healthcare providers and government officials.
The PWW team is willing to try new approaches, adapt those that work and learn new techniques to make sure the results are as effective as possible. They understand that one approach does not fit all communities.
5. Meticulous monitoring & diligent donor stewardship.
With a robust monitoring and evaluation system, the PWW teams ensure that every donor dollar is stretched to its limit. The team revisits communities to troubleshoot, making sure that hygiene behaviors are practiced and filters are well maintained. The organization can say with certainty, and no fine print, that 84 cents of each dollar goes directly to the sustainable safe water programs. To date, PWW has provided safe water to 3,548 homes and 1,915 schools in Haiti.
6. Knowledge & commitment to core competency.
The PWW name speaks for itself – they’re clean water experts. They supplement clean water with safe sanitation and hygiene practices. PWW keeps their programming straightforward, simple and effective.
These six aspects not only allowed the PWW team to be effectively responsive to the earthquake disaster, but they are foundational to the mission and continued work in Haiti.
Since the earthquake, the PWW Haiti team has transitioned from disaster relief back to long-term development. Responding to critical need, the team focuses on the most rural and underserved communities.
“Working together with communities makes us stronger,” states Mr. Seraphin. “With true collaboration, our programs are the best they can be.”
Pure Water for the World is committed to continuing to provide high quality, well-monitored and effective safe water solutions until waterborne illnesses are a thing of the past.
Make your long-term investment and change the future for children and their families in Haiti by donating today!