Cholera-Free water supply for Haiti

Article 25 could start installing life-saving clean water supplies in two existing schools in Haiti before Christmas, says director of projects and acting CEO, Robin Cross. By providing clean water, these improvement works should combat cholera and save the lives of some of the country’s most vulnerable children.

Both clean-water projects result from a visit by Robin and others in July to four existing schools in Haiti, followed by a detailed feasibility study submitted in August. Article 25 has been appointed to design and supervise the installations by two international funding organisations, Outreach International and Just a Drop, along with a local social development agency, ODSI.

Three of these four schools are located in the Central Plateau region of the country, an area with a long standing history of cholera resulting from poor sanitation and foul water supply. The fourth school is larger and lies at Petionville closer to the capital of Port au Prince.

Two of the schools on the Central Plateau, Malte Peralte and Hinche, were found to be suitable for sanitation improvement works that are affordable and sustainable. Plans to use rain water collection at the sites of Malte Peralte and Hinche will feature hygienic latrines and hand washing facilities. The water will be filtered into storage tanks where it will be pumped to above ground header tanks. Gravity pressurised piping will then provide a much needed alternative to the current turbid water supply from local rivers and truck delivery.

Unfortunately the school in Thomassique turned out to be blighted by structural defects.  It will need to be rebuilt before sanitation works can be carried out. But at the larger school in Petionville, improvement works could start during next summer holidays when it will be free of children.

The sanitation works are likely to be carried out by a local contractor that has worked with Article 25 in the past. Article 25 will advertise for a project manager who, Robin says, “must be French-speaking, technically able and ideally on a career sabbatical from the UK.”

Previous Article 25 projects were revisited, including De Michel School, where clean and sustainable water supplies were delivered. Improvements are modest but have made a dramatic difference to the quality of life of the children and greatly reduced the risk of water borne disease such as cholera.

Unfortunately, Robin Cross and other team members succumbed to dengue fever while on the visit. Although some members continue to suffer from symptoms, Robin has made a full recovery and is hard at work back at Article 25 HQ!