UNICEF with a contribution from USAID is implementing water rehabilitation projects in several departments of the country. One of the important components of this program is the reforestation around water catchment sources to protect and facilitate recharge of the water table and to allow people to have water in sufficient quantity and quality.
In the South, the implementing partner of the project, the Dutch Red Cross, goes to the most remote places by carrying out this program, with the support of DINEPA.
Cayes, September 18, 2018- The locality Mulat (3rd Boni) commune of Tiburon, is one of the beneficiaries. It is a very difficult place to access, and the steep terrain makes it even more difficult to access drinking water. Under the supervision of DINEPA, the Dutch Red Cross, with the support of UNICEF and USAID, conducts drinking water supply activities, such as the construction of a catchment source, a reservoir and fountains to draw water.
On the other hand, reforestation activities are carried out to ensure the sustainability of the project. One of the project leaders at the community level, Saurel Vital, Casec of the section, does not hide his satisfaction as to the realization of the project. “There has been a lot of improvement in the water situation. It was not drinkable and the animals used to soil the water because the source was not protected, “he says.
“It is of utmost importance to plant trees. Our community had a very large vegetation cover. Hurricane Matthew has uprooted the clear majority of trees, making the community extremely vulnerable. The Dutch Red Cross has carried out reforestation projects around built water sources which will help preserve this structure, “he says.
The organization distributed 16,082 seedlings to residents of rehabilitated sources, including 11,900 fruit trees and 4,182 foresters, and organized training sessions on environmental protection. For the entire project, 14 hectares have been reforested on the protection perimeter of 6 sources including 3 hectares in the Mulat area with 2,148 trees including 1,500 fruit trees and 848 forest trees.
“There has been a lot of improvement in our lives since this water project. In addition, we are better aware of the importance of trees. We have received training on tree planting techniques and we will plant a lot more, “said one of the residents. As part of the project 120 people from communities were trained on planting techniques for regrowth trees.
Community involvement made the difference
The community quickly became involved in the reforestation project. They participated in the construction of a fence around the catchment source, cleaned up weeds, and sensitized people to prevent animals to eat seedlings. They will continue to plant trees well after the departure of the Dutch Red Cross.
“We welcomed this project with a lot of warmth, everyone was involved. We have set up a volunteer service. The community took part in the transportation of the equipment because it is very far away. Now it is up to us to perpetuate this project. We are making them responsible because the project belongs to us now, “says Vital.
An important project
Joesmy Louis, Agronomist and Livelyhood Coordinator at the Dutch Red Cross, emphasizes the importance of planting specific tree species to help recharge the water table. The trainings allowed people to plant seedlings they had prepared themselves.
To combat the drought that threatened the trees, artisanal techniques were implemented, such as the use of water can on the root of the trees on a regular basis, straws to reduce the impact of the sun.
“People have not been paid to plant the trees. They got up very early, drum in hand in a festive atmosphere, with the participation of everyone for this reforestation movement, “he says. The blending of fruit trees has helped to increase the interest of the population.
A very isolated locality
The locality of Mulat culminates several hundred meters high. Nestled in the mountains, it is virtually inaccessible. It takes a good driver and a solid off-road car to get there. Because the road is very narrow, traced by the population with the means of the edge, that is to say, nothing.
The big rocks are everywhere, with the sheer cliffs that are ready, worry is omnipresent for all passengers. The road resists even the inevitable motorcycles, they are not seen on the road. The living conditions are very difficult for residents.
Maria Luisa Fornara, UNICEF Representative in Haiti, says that access to clean water helps protect families, especially children from disease.
“In line with the principles of equity that guide UNICEF, our interventions are done across the country. With a focus on hard to reach places where the population is very vulnerable. We thank the Haitian government for its support and the people of the United States for this funding which has allowed us to facilitate access to drinking water for these families, “she concludes.
The vegetal cover around the sources plays several roles. In fact, forest soils retain the rainwater that makes its way to the aquifers, allowing them to be recharged. Riparian forests avoid runoff of acidic soils in freshwater lakes and rivers that would be highly affected. They reduce floods, limit floods, prevent soil erosion.