To mark World Water Day, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Post-Earthquake Intervention project organized an awareness-raising campaign about sustainable water supply through self-funded maintenance and protection.
Commemorating World Water Day in the 9th section of Petit Goâve, Haiti
In partnership with local authorities and the RAFASAP network, which brings together about 60 spring management committees (including a dozen rehabilitated by HELVETAS Haiti), awareness-raising messages were displayed on banners along streets near public places such as markets and schools in the 9th Section Communale (a rural area) throughout the whole week leading up to World Water Day.
A workshop was held on Thursday 22nd March in the centre of the communal area and was attended by thirty spring committees as well as a few students from the neighbouring school. Unfortunately, the local authorities were conspicuous by their absence due to a dispute with RAFASAP regarding the choice of beneficiaries of a spring protection project (which is currently being resolved with assistance from HELVETAS). This workshop was an opportunity for the RAFASAP coordinator to emphasize the importance of families’ contributions to maintain and manage water points as well as the crucial role that vegetation plays in preserving water resources. The manager of the Water and Sanitation part of the project tackled issues of right to water and problems of access to water, which experts say will only be accentuated by climate change. The presentations were interspersed with poems and songs performed by children.
This was followed by lively debates about the roles and responsibilities of local authorities, managers and users. In a country like Haiti, and even more so in a remote area like the 9th Section of Petit Goâve, it is essential that local people take control of issues around water without waiting for the state to get involved – and this was the opinion held by most of the participants. Before the meeting closed awards were presented to the spring committees doing the best work, either in maintaining infrastructure or collecting subscriptions. A local TV station covered the workshop.