Fight drought in remote Southern communities

A water tank at Ti Plaine ( South departement)

The locality of Tiplaine, located in the Southern department, has suffered greatly from drought episodes. Its isolation makes the situation of people living even more difficult in terms of access to drinking water. UNICEF, with a contribution from USAID, together with the Dutch Red Cross, has rehabilitated the water system in the area, including building a catchment, a reservoir, a water system capable of to feed the residents through fountains. All under the supervision of the National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA).

They do not know how to thank the donors, because now it’s a relief for everyone, so much has life changed in the locality. Training for plumbers makes the network sustainable.

Cayes, 17 September 2018- A broad smile cuts the face of Smart Joseph, ASEC (a local authority) of Tiplaine, when she speaks of the water network of the locality.

“Before the installation of the network, the situation was untenable within the area in terms of water. The place where we used to draw water was very unhealthy, there were a lot of rocks, trees were everywhere and it was very difficult for us. For some people, they had to walk more than an hour, back and forth. There were many people who drew water and the flow was very low, “she recalls.

The water was not drinkable

Not to mention the poor quality of water that was not drinkable and that was a source of illness of any kind for the population, especially children. The water was drawn from the ground. People caught all kinds of illnesses. The children had pimples on the skin and on the scalp as well as waterborne diseases. In the case of women, they faced a serious problem in terms of personal hygiene.

Josette Blanc, one of the beneficiaries and mother of three children, remembers all the difficulties she encountered to be able to draw water that was not even drinkable. “The situation was so critical that we did not know what to do. It was God who sent UNICEF, USAID, the Red Cross and DINEPA otherwise we would all already be dead because the cholera was wreaking havoc “, she admits.

She had serious skin problems because of the water. “Now my skin is healthy and I am cured because of the new water network,” she says.

People are more than satisfied

A Red Cross technician conducting control quality

“With the arrival of UNICEF, the Red Cross, USAID and DINEPA who built this network, the situation has improved considerably, we no longer face the same problems. It’s different, kids are healthier, “she says.

People welcomed the project with open arms, she said. Other areas started work well before them. But their enthusiasm and energy allowed them to finish before the others. People have been trained on water management so that everyone is aware of the importance of drinking water, how to protect themselves from germs, handwashing, and more.

Plumber training that made the difference

As part of the project and sustainability of the works, on the proposal of DINEPA, there have been training sessions for plumbers who manage drinking water supply systems (SAEP) of the various networks of the South. Thirty plumbers took part in the workshop.

The plumber of Ti Plaine, responsible for the system did not hide his satisfaction. He was particularly pleased by the fact that his plumber assistants benefited from the knowledge he gathered during the workshop. “They can take over the system when I’m not there,” he said, emphasizing the unconditional support of the people for the realization of the project.

Keep the network in good condition

Several thousand trees have been planted around the catchment sources to conserve water. Seedlings were distributed as part of the project. There have been trainings to raise awareness about the importance of trees. “Many people went to plant trees,” says Smart Joseph. Indeed, the Dutch Red Cross has also trained on tree planting techniques and provided nurseries which allowed the reforestation of 2 hectares on the perimeter of protection of the source. In total, 1 530 trees, including 1050 fruit trees and 480 foresters were planted by the communities. This will increase the plant cover and protect the newly rehabilitated source.

A Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Committee (CAEPA) – made up of community members – was set up and trained on these tasks and responsibilities by DINEPA according to the national protocol in order to ensure the management of the system. of water supply. Also at the community level, people living on pipes and fountains in support of CAEPA ensure cleanliness, sensitize people and hunt animals, so that everything is always clean.

“We must be able to sustain the system because it belongs to us,” said one of the leaders.

This project is very important for UNICEF, DINEPA and USAID because it integrates the construction component of water access systems with that of sustainability through the training of stakeholders and the preservation of water resources. These two elements being the guarantee of the continuity of the service of water in the localities synonymous with the eradication of waterborne diseases.

The project aims to respond to the critical water needs of people living in drought areas and at risk of food insecurity and under-nutrition.

 

This post is also available in: French