El Agua Es Vida – Pero Como?
While accompanying MOSCTHA’s team to Anse-A-Pitre, Haiti, I had the opportunity to speak with Lico Enrique Agustin, MOSCTHA’s Director of Community Development about MOSCTHA’s approach to partnerships, and the development of a water treatment system in this community.
MOSCTHA-Haiti has many different projects, ranging from agriculture, micro-credit, water, sustainable development, health care and more. Education and community development are elements that run throughout each department and project. Lico explained the role of the “promotores,” an essential element to each project. Promotores are kind of like promoters of the projects, working between MOSCTHA and the communities MOSCTHA is working in.
Lico is currently MOSCTHA’s lead representative in a collaborative effort between six organizations to bring potable water to the town of Anse-A-Pitre. The town currently has a comprehensive network of canals that bring water from a river that is dammed, into the agricultural areas around the town and eventually into the town itself. People bathe and wash clothes in the narrow canals running parallel to the dusty dirt roads. The upside is that water is readily accessible within the town. The biggest challenge is that it’s contaminated.
The water project is working to develop the infrastructure necessary to divert water from the river into a treatment center, and then provide controlled access from a community water center. Additionally, the project aims to develop a new culture around water, so that people can care for their water source and avoid contamination.
“We know that el agua es vida (water is life),” says Lico. “Pero como? How are we taking care of water? This project aims to provide capacity building, training and organizational development to the town members of Anse-A-Pitre as part of the longer term sustainability plan. And while we want the water to be available for collective use, it must also be our collective responsibility to take care of it.”