About Project 509
Project 509 works in remote Haitian mountain villages to help improve access to clean drinking water. We build new –and retrofit existing– rainwater harvesting systems and we offer basic WASH training (sanitation and hygiene) in local schools and churches.
It is a four hour hike to the first villages in Pays Pourri and Marozo – the areas where we work; there is no electricity, running water, or road access. Children commonly walk 3–5 hours round trip each day just to carry drinking water home from steams that are also used to wash clothes, bathe, and water animals – these streams are almost always contaminated.
Basic sanitation and hygiene education is incredibly low, and it is common in villages throughout the area for several people to die each year from water-borne disease such as cholera – an entirely preventable situation.
The systems we build provide cleaner –and more abundant– drinking water than what is otherwise available, they free up time for children to attend school on a more regular basis, and at some sites they allow farmers to practice micro-irrigation techniques, which improve agricultural production in an area of critical need.
All projects are carried out in partnership with local organizations and community members to identify sites, prioritize projects, coordinate operations, and plan for future / complementary needs.
By The Numbers ... since 2010:
- Have worked in 16 different mountain communities throughout Pays Pourri and Marozeau
- Built 6 rainwater harvesting systems with high capacity cisterns
- Repaired / retrofitted 6 rainwater harvesting systems with existing cisterns
- Rebuilt 2 buildings and repaired 3 roofs destroyed during Hurricane Matthew (2016)
- Distributed 82 water filters to key village leaders, providing enough clean drinking water for over 4000 people for 5 years
- Deployed high capacity water filtration systems to 3 schools, providing clean drinking water to over 450 students for 5 years
- Given 32 presentations on clean water and basic sanitation
- Trained 7 Haitians to give presentations on Clean Water / Sanitation
2016: Built 6 rain catchment systems with high capacity cisterns, and repaired 3 additional ones that had an adequate cistern in place ... we also rebuilt / repaired 4 buildings in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew
2015: Built our first rain catchment system, utilizing improved designs and building materials; this has become a cornerstone of our work moving forward
2014: Formed a group of Haitian experts to engage with local leadership, which has greatly enhanced community trust in our work
2013: Developed a high capacity water filtration system specifically intended for use in schools; this increases the efficiency of our efforts, and provides improved tracking and accountability of resources
2012: Markendy Desormeau, one of our Haitian partners, and Jesse Baker were named International Sustainability Fellows at UC at Irvine because of our work
2011: Assisted with one of the only medical missions to have ever entered into Pays Pourri, providing key insight into community health effects brought on by cholera and other water borne disease – as well as a variety of extended community health issues
2010: Made our first trip to Haiti in response the cholera epidemic that resulted from the international response to the devastating Earthquake earlier in the year