Regaining Trust In Haiti

The Logalit water and sanitation committee is tenacious, resilient and serves as a model to others. Like citizens of most countries, households in Logalit pay for water. Several months ago, the number of households that were paying to get water in Logalit started to decline.

Instead of paying several cents a month to get safe water from the well, households opted to walk a great distance to get water from natural springs. Without these fees, the water committee was finding it difficult to pay for routine maintenance and save towards future repairs and improvements. To counter the problem, the water committee launched a campaign about the dangers of drinking contaminated water and broadcasted the message by working with local pastors, cockfight referees and other influential residents.

At the same time, the water committee convened public meetings to share financial information: the amount of money collected to date, budget details, the number of paying users, etc. It worked – households started paying again. People started to view the user fee as an investment in their families’ health. And, improving financial transparency led to greater trust in the water committee. People were once again confident that the collected funds were being used appropriately.

Community members are now working towards a collective vision; they aim to raise enough money to build a distribution system for the well, complete with household connections and an automated pump. With the number of paying households rising each month, they are well on their way to realizing their potential.