Water & Sanitation Program

Preventive health services through community development

In 2013, with funding from Rotary Clubs in WI and in partnership with Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON), FHH began a Water and Sanitation community development program in 6 communities close to our Gatineau Health Center.  These communities were Nouvelette, Morvan, Maleti, Yaya, Fraise and Menat/Lormond.

Each community chose two people to be trained as volunteer Community Promoters, learning the basics of hygiene and sanitation in a three-day training session led by JHSON students and faculty.  After the training, each Promoter was given a t-shirt with the clinic logo, caps and teaching materials and sent back to their communities to do hygiene teaching.

The volunteer Promoters kept records of their educational activities and at the end of the first year, they had conducted over 2500 activities involving 91,000 people (any one person attending several educational activities). After an assessment showed that the hygiene teaching had, indeed, changed behaviors, each community was allowed to choose 35 families to receive assistance with construction of a ventilated pit latrine.

The recipients were responsible for digging the latrine hole and providing rocks, water and wooden poles. FHH provided tin, nails, iron bars and cement and paid the labor cost of construction, using local masons.

In order to assess the unmet need for latrines in the three rural communal sections (like counties) that FHH serves, a house-to-house census was conducted in the summer of 2015, with the assistance of JHSON students.

This census revealed that there was a population of 42,000 with 7800 households, of which less than 20% had access to a latrine.

This represented an unmet need for latrines of over 6200!

Due to this huge need for water and sanitation education and latrines, we decided in May 2016 to train another 12 volunteer Community Promoters from 6 new communities higher up in the mountains (Charlette, Campagne, Dibarasse, Delion, Milfort and Segnette).

Shortly after their training, in October 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck the Jérémie area and we relied on the Promoters to help with assessment of the hurricane destruction and assistance with distribution of relief supplies and food.

Later, in 2017, they were able to get back to their community educational activities and began to have an impact on hygiene knowledge and practice.

With funding from a Rotary Global Grant in 2017, 35 latrines were built in each of these six new Promoter communities as well as the communities of Ti Café, Doudouche, Duchene and Gatineau, after appropriate community education. And, an additional 18 latrines were built in the six original Promoter communities. A total of 4 underground springs have been capped, three of them with this Global Grant.

We now have 24 volunteer Community Promoters working in 12 communities, we’ve built a total of 678 latrines and capped 4 underground springs through our Water and Sanitation Program. Preventing disease is a crucial part of improving health.

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