Every year since the 2010 earthquake, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Project Haiti has partnered with different non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local Haitians to design, build and install solar-powered water purifiers throughout Haiti, primarily at orphanages and schools. In addition to installing the water purifier, ERAU students prepare and teach Water And Sanitation Hygiene (W.A.S.H.) lessons to local children and adults. To ensure the purifier's sustainability, students also set up a micro-business to sell excess clean water which funds both purifier maintenance and school/orphanage operation costs. The potential impact of each year's installation is tremendous.
28,000+ GALLONS PER DAY
Within the past nine years, we have successfully installed eight purification systems, all being solar-powered and impacting different cities throughout Haiti. Our goal has been to successfully install one sustainable water purifier each year, except for year 2016 where our team returned to the previous site to improve the system by adding a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane capable of removing not only bacteria but also salt particles. Each purifier provides a specific amount of clean water per day depending on the system requirements for each site, allowing us to supply more than 28,000 gallons of clean water per day throughout the country.
10,000+ THOUSAND CHILDREN IMPACTED
Our team has estimated impacting the lives of 10,000-25,000 people across Haiti. Every year we are proud that this number keeps growing thanks to the commitment of the ERAU students, faculty and excellent Haitian partners. Our installation sites range from a variety of children foundations, orphanages and schools. With our micro-business initiative, we can impact not only children organizations but entire communities. 2018 installation was the site of an orphanage and school, which is home for 30 children, and a school for more than 200 students. By providing purified drinking water, we can create jobs, improve health, educate locals about hygiene and generate recurring income to take care of existing facilities as well as buy school supplies. Clean water is a crucial component in creating a sustainable lifestyle for these children.
10+ TRIPS TO HAITI
Over the last nine years, Project Haiti has traveled to Haiti over ten times for various installation and maintenance trips. These trips provide different schools and orphanages with solar-powered water purifiers in the hopes of creating micro-businesses throughout the country.
We intend to communicate regularly both before and after our visit to seek input on Haitian cultural norms, to be co-learners in sustainable solar and water technologies and to grow a sustainable micro-business. Transparency and full disclosure of all relevant financial transactions, successes, failures and points for improvement are high values for both the US team and the Haitians. As we build a relationship, we will trust each other more with the result of greater expressions of honesty in our work. With the water purifier, that means working for hardware functionality, security and ongoing maintenance. With the micro-business, that means the business partners must trust each other with finances and co-labor with equity and honesty. When concerns arise, we agree to communicate with 100% respect and 100% honesty in our matters.
Both US students and Haitians have valuable contributions to the partnership. If we both approach as learners, we will value the other’s perspective and treat each other with mutual respect. The US faculty have invested in Haiti for multiple years and found an asymmetric relationship where the US side is viewed as the giver and Haitian side as a receiver. Our intent with Project Haiti is for both US and Haitian partners to be both givers and receivers in a mutual partnership.
As visitors, the US students approach in a posture of learning and adaptability. As hosts, we hope the Haitian students will be understanding and seek to communicate our cultural missteps. We also hope the Haitians will boldly express their desires and passions for their country’s future
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