USAID Improves Access to Safe Drinking Water in Haiti

[Port-au-Prince] Since 2018, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has focused its assistance to Haiti’s water management on helping Haitian communities gain access to safe water.  As a result of USAID’s support, more than 50,000 Haitian women, children, and men have greater access to safe water.  USAID’s Water and Sanitation Project aims to double this number by this time next year.  U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, Michele Sison highlighted, “USAID is connecting Haitian communities to safe water services and is creating increased access to safe drinking water in Haiti.  With its focus on improving the quality of water, these U.S.  efforts will also pay dividends in fighting COVID-19 and other health crises in Haiti.  Safe water is the foundation of healthy living.”

USAID’s Water and Sanitation Project has awarded a grant of $167,000 under its Enterprise Acceleration Fund to the State University of Haiti to expand its existing soil laboratory financed by USAID.  This will allow them to perform drinking water tests.  This is the first project of its kind in northern Haiti.  Through this grant, USAID, in collaboration with Auburn University of Alabama, will support Henry Christophe Campus to build its capacity to test drinking water, as generally required by Haiti’s National Water and Sanitation Directorate authority known as DINEPA.  Philippe, owner of a drilling company in Cap-Haitien, describes, “To me, the new water-quality testing lab is exciting.  Back when I drilled my well, I was only able to do a water-quality test through a foreign company…Usually, the sample must be sent to Port-au-Prince, resulting in long delays and expensive costs; it was discouraging.  If the tests are available in Cap-Haitien, we will bring all the necessary corrections to improve our water quality.”

The Project also supports local water utilities known as CTEs.  Louinis, the president of a neighborhood youth committee, heard the radio spots about the improved water service but didn’t initially believe it.  Then he started hearing from others in town that it was true.  He went to put down his deposit for a new household connection.  “No one in the 21st century should live without water; it is a need and a human right.  Now, we do not have to go to the river to take a bath.  Thanks to USAID’s support, the CTE has the materials and the technical support required to connect our area to the water system.” said Louinis.

The USAID Water and Sanitation Project is a $41.8 million, 4.5-year activity implemented in collaboration with DINEPA.  Victor, a DINEPA Water Kiosk manager in Les Cayes, says it best: “Now, water is available all day long.  I can give people all the water they need.  I’m proud of what I do.”

These activities will have the dual advantages of increasing the availability of water tests in the region and the number of people who learn how to test for safe drinking water.  USAID Haiti Mission Director Christopher Cushing added, “We are excited to help teach students interested in water technology engineering how to test for safe drinking water.  These efforts will increase the number of water tests in the region and help the Government of Haiti and USAID achieve their goals to make good quality drinking water available to all Haitians.”

Learn more about USAID Haiti’s Water and Sanitation project here.