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Poverty Alleviation Projects

January 31, 2012

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your January 2012 report for The $10 Club.

Since 1956, the mission of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS) has been to collaborate with the people of the Artibonite Valley as they strive to improve their health and quality of life. Thanks to HAS, district residents even in the remote mountains can find health care within reach and at an affordable cost.

To address the root causes of diarrhea and malnutrition, and now cholera which emerged in epidemic proportions in Haiti in 2010, HAS has focused on community health and development activities, including drilling wells and providing sanitation, which have allowed many families to have access to clean drinking water and latrines.

Pont Sondé is a key market and transport hub at the edge of the HAS district. The local economy revolves around transportation, commodity marketing, and rice. Roughly 4,000 people live in the in-district parts of Pont Sondé, with many more in the adjacent parts.   

Geologically the area is challenging, with salt deposits in the alluvial sand and gravel underlying much of the area. Potable groundwater sits in a lens on saline water, and in some areas is at risk of contamination by fertilizers used in the many nearby rice fields. Residents must get their water either from shallow wells or from rainwater capture. Thus, this area has a high need for at-home water treatment to ensure that contaminants are removed.    

HAS has been building and installing thousands of Biosand filters in the past decade, allowing more than 15,000 people to have access to potable drinking and wash water. The Biosand technology is very practical. Users do not need great skill to use it and necessary maintenance is easy to do, making the Biosand filter very suitable for the rural environment. 

This month, 225 of us joined together to donate $2,250 to HAS to install nearly 50 new filters in high-need households in the Pont Sondé area in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti. They will undertake spot-testing of water quality to identify particularly high-need households and provide the community with education in potable water, sanitation, and hygiene. A local mason will be contracted to produce, deliver, and install the filters and an HAS mason technician will ensure the quality control of construction and installation. He will also train residents in filter use and maintenance. Recipient families will visited later to make sure each water filter continues to work and receives proper maintenance. Thank you.

Water filters stave off dehydration – a leading cause of death among Haitian children under the age of five – as well as gastrointestinal disease. These simple Biosand units filter out up to 95% or more bacteria and virtually 100% of larger organisms, particularly giardia and other cysts which are resistant to chlorine. The end result will be drinking, cooking, and bathing water that meets water quality standards for hundreds of people at risk.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,
Adam


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