Engineer Brian, Colon, EDUSC visitor Gordon Smith, and I rode in a dugout canoe across the lake to Chapateau. The Clemson engineers have been renovating a broken water system there, but they wish to provide the village with a sustainable mechanism to improve maintenance and local control of the system. The water committee will hopefully prevent the village from experiencing long periods without water at their fountains and reduce dependency on outside aid.
|Brian and Colon|
How the process works
|The school fountain has newly added filtration|
Why is a water committee such a big deal?Many Haitian villages have water systems most often built buy foreign NGOs, just as the system in Cange. In most cases, there is no centralized control to maintain the water system and manage the utilization of the resource. When the system breaks, individuals do not (or cannot) act to repair the system. Consequently, many of these village water systems sit in disrepair or cycle through periods of operation until the original NGO or a new NGO arrives to repair the system.
The formation of a water committee involves overcoming this collective action problem. While fixing the broken water system is in the interest of everyone in the village, usually no one individual can or is willing to fix the system on their own.
When systems like this break and go un-repaired for an extended period of time, the system itself becomes a resource. People will dismantle the system and sell the parts that have market value, making it more costly to repair. But with a mechanism in place to allow the community to maintain the system collectively, repairs can happen faster, keeping the time without water at a minimum and significantly diminishing the dependency on unreliable outside aid.
Though I sit in meetings quite frequently, I have a pretty cool position here in Cange and with EDUSC. Hopefully you now have a better idea of the types of meetings I attend.