Living Water Haiti has been operating in Haiti since 2004. From the beginning, we first began working with various partners repairing wells, then later started drilling new wells. In 2011, an official Living Water Haiti office was opened in Port-au-Prince, along with another base in North Haiti to develop and oversee a long-term community development program. In 2013, we shifted our operations to a more strategic manner in order to make our work more sustainable. With this new vision designed by listening to communities and letting them be part of their own water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) solutions, we adopted the WPA (WASH program area) approach in the western commune of Cabaret.
When we enter a community, we first make sure members are well mobilized and ready to be fully involved in the management of the water points. We also work with the local government to ensure their role, train communities with the knowledge they need to take care of the water point, and make sure spare parts are available.
As a Christian organization, we are able to work well in communities because of our positive reputation that creates trusted relationships and allows for collaboration. We have learned from our previous work and adjusted our strategy to find the best approach to create sustainability. Our dedicated staff consider themselves tools for God’s work for the neediest and are ready to face the many challenges that impact our program.
By 2020, Living Water International Haiti will work alongside mobilized and involved communities and local churches while including other stakeholders in the development of additional WASH programs for cultural, physical, and spiritual transformation of the population.
In the next five years, we will complete our work in the Cabaret WPA and open another WPA in Plaine-du-Nord. In addition to these places, Living Water Haiti with continue to support the other communities that have already received clean water through rehabilitation or new wells.
Living Water Haiti uses an approach with different components to provide access to sustainable water in selected areas by ensuring adequate quality and sufficient quantity. For example, we construct and rehabilitate water supplies such as boreholes, pumps, platforms, wells, and construction of complex water systems including spring boxes, water catchment, water distributions, etc. Each individual community is analyzed in order to provide the most appropriate technology to meet their specific needs.
One of the main obstacles we face is the consistent availability of electricity. As a result, we prioritize gravity-fed systems, and when this is not possible, together with stakeholders, we find the best technology to respond to the need of clean water.
Just providing clean water does not guarantee good health conditions if not supported by personal hygiene practices. Living Water Haiti addresses the hygiene and sanitation issues with hygiene promotion in different ways to change practices at the individual and household level. This is done through widespread and participatory hygiene education and promotion for all people inside and outside of the WPA. It is gender-sensitive and combines interpersonal and community-based approaches including: establishment of community and school health clubs, direct messages to people at new water point developments, community sensitization during community events, and distribution of brochures with key hygiene and sanitation messages.
Regarding sanitation, Living Water Haiti seeks to change people’s behaviors in regards to defecation and environmental management. Therefore, the sanitation component of this program centers around sustained behavioral change through training and other community sensitization activities. We help communities and individuals understand the health risks of open defecation and encourage them use locally built, low-cost, household latrines. In addition to the eradication of open defecation practices, we address the broader "environmental sanitation" aspects, including proper solid and liquid waste disposal and general improvement of the rural environment.
In the years to come, our dream is to see a great number of churches become champions in WASH initiatives, providing hygiene and sanitation services as a ministry responding to the needs of the community in the name of our Lord. The fundamental goal here is to enable Living Water Haiti to have the trust of church leaders to partner with us to enhance their churches’ role in communities and the people they serve.
Globally, we implement different key activities including:
Living Water will continue to proclaim the gospel at all occasions where this can be done. In fact, all water points receive a number of gospel-sharing sessions at different moments throughout the process, from the first community meeting following the community request, to the dedication ceremony. These sessions expose community members to the gospel and enable further discussions to bring more and more people to Jesus.