Written by Divya Gudur, PWW Intern
Andrew Coco is PWW Haiti’s WASH Training and Consulting Services Manager. This title highlights the many important responsibilities that Andrew assumes, some of which include the management of client relations and the coordination and development of: WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) trainings and workshops, WASH celebrations and global awareness days, drinking water quality testing for clients, and the collaboration of various distributors of water quality testing equipment and materials in Haiti.
Andrew loves this role, particularly when World Hand-washing Day and World Water Day roll around, as they call for celebrations with fun activities, music, and good food with community members. However, his favorite memories with PWW took place when he was just a college student volunteer, helping with the water quality testing program in Simonette, Haiti.
Andrew is an old-timer to the PWW community. He was first exposed to PWW in 2011, while visiting his mother, Noelle, who went to work for PWW in Haiti shortly after the 2010 earthquake. Right from the beginning, Andrew was eager to help in any capacity, working on ICT networking, internet connectivity, and mapping during the summer. He was also able to offer translation services, as he quickly picked up the local Kreyol language.
The following summer, after his first year at University of Vermont, Andrew returned to Haiti and contributed to a three-month lab study in Simonette, where he had the opportunity to venture into the community and communicate with beneficiaries using field questionnaires and collecting and analyzing water samples. This is one of the reasons Andrew loves PWW so much, because the staff really partners and integrates into the communities they serve, taking the time to develop personal relationships with community members.
It was also in Simonette that Andrew truly understood the importance of clean water and the protection of water resources, an understanding that ultimately steered him away from landscape design, permaculture, and sustainable horticulture studies at UVM and toward environmental justice, political ecology, international development and water access in the developing world.
Andrew went on to complete an internship with SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihood) in Haiti and an internship with PWW’s WET (Water Expertise Training) Center. After graduation, Andrew accepted a full-time position as the Filter Factory Manager for PWW, before moving to the WASH Training and Consulting Services program.
Andrew’s years of dedication to PWW have made him a critical part of the Haiti program’s success. He continues to push the team and program to improve. He is already working on future goals of full water quality lab accreditation by the Haitian government and national credibility for PWW’s work.