Vassar Haiti Project’s Water Initiative began in 2010 after VHP’s March trip to Chermaitre. After learning of the long distances traveled to obtain water, VHP worked to install a faucet in the village schoolyard where water could be accessed more easily. VHP hired local engineers to install a gravity-driven water access system with 4 cisterns and a main faucet located at the school. The system was installed to bring water from the spring around 20 minutes up the mountain from the school yard. After the installation, people in Chermaitre have been free to draw water from the school faucet at any time. However, some families still travel over an hour to reach water, and we hope to eventually ensure each family has a water source within a 30-minute radius from their home by expanding the cistern system.
At the same time, we are committed to water purification to reduce health risks. In collaboration with Pure Water for the World, we launched a pilot project sending filters to Chermaitre in order to provide purification for families and the school. In fall 2013, 19 filters in total were dispatched to Chermaitre. In January 2014, training lessons were provided to the villagers regarding how to use the filters.
With annual water testing and census carried out in the village, we hope to provide sustainably purified water to more people and see fewer people suffer from waterborne illness.