NEED: As the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, Haiti has to deal with issues of poverty and water scarcity on a daily basis. According to a study conducted by The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, “only 55.2 percent of the population has access to an improved water source, while close to 70 percent does not have direct access to potable water. These figures, however, almost definitely overstate Haitians’ access to improved water sources, since public systems are rarely available year-round” (15, CHRGJ, et al).
Expenses also often create problems with water availability. The World Bank estimates that, “around 54 percent of the world’s population lives on less than US$1 a day and 78 percent on less than US$2 (2001 data)” (The World Bank). The people of Haiti often resort to gathering water from ‘garbage-filled’ rivers to supply their households with water for their daily needs, including cooking and drinking when water becomes too expensive or there is no access to a clean water source (36, CHRGJ, et al).
Access to clean, fresh water is a main concern in Haiti, where waterborne illnesses, such as typhoid, cholera, and chronic diarrhea are the cause of more than half of the deaths in the country every year. Contaminated water is also one of the leading causes of childhood illness and the very high infant death rate in Haiti (57 for every 1000 births).
OPPORTUNITY: We receive multiple requests every week to repair wells all over south Haiti. Many times, it is a matter of replacing a minor part and then servicing the remaining components. At other times it requires the entire removal of all parts and installing a completely rebuilt or new unit. On average, a pump can be returned to normal operation for $400. To dig a well and then install a new pump would cost about $4,000. So we are able to put back into service 10 pumps for the price of a new well. However, not every place in Haiti has the needed access to clean water. In those cases, the only answer is a new well and pump.