Sanitation

Sanitation: The Overlooked and Under-Appreciated Life Saver

By Bryan Schaaf on Wednesday, May 21, 2008.
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Sanitation is an often overlooked but very important component of public health.  The United States government has an HIV/AIDS Coordinator, a Malaria Coordinator, and an Avian Influenza Coordinator.  However, if we really wanted to focus on saving the lives of children worldwide, we would have a global diarrhea coordinator.  As Rose George writes in the article below, "excrement is the real weapon of mass destruction."  Alas, it is not a sexy public health issue and celebrities are unlikely to rally around this cause.  But in countries such as Haiti, providing adequate sanitation is an essential part of promoting public health.  The full article is below.   Read more »

FOKAL to Present on Haitian Libraries and Human Development (June 10, 2008)

By Bryan Schaaf on Tuesday, April 22, 2008.

It is not easy to find a library in Haiti. The Fondation Connaissance & Liberté (FOKAL) wants to change that. FOKAL  supports 35 community libraries throughout Haiti.  FOKAL also supports arts and culture programming, a debate program, grassroots initiatives, a preschool program and even water projects.  FOKAL staff will speak at the Library of Congress in Washington DC on June 10th.  If you do not live in the Washington DC area, you can catch the live webcast.   In the meantime,take a look at their website to learn more about this organiztion.  Education is fundamental to solving Haiti’s economic, environmental, and health related challenges. Read more »

Nocturnal Latrine Cleaners (And Other Surreal Sanitation Stories)

By Bryan Schaaf on Tuesday, April 8, 2008.
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Former Central Plateau Resident, Professional Archaeologist, and Peace Corps Colleague Dan Broockmann sent in the following story about latrine usage in  Maissade.  2008 has been designated the year of sanitation and latrines are important for public health.  Every Haitian family would like to have one but the cost is prohibitive for many.   And as Dan writes, even latrines need maintenance eventually... Read more »

Haiti and the Struggle for Water (Frontline)

By Bryan Schaaf on Sunday, March 23, 2008.
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In light of World Water Day, I wanted to highlight a Frontline multimedia piece on water scarcity in Haiti by Shoshana Guy.  Though not recent (it was produced after Tropical Storm Jean) the key issues are as valid now as then.  Haitians continue to struggle both from having too little water to drink and from having more water than cab be absorbed after seasonal rains.  The result is flooding/mud slides such as those which decimated Gonaives. Read more »

World Water Day Is on March 22nd!

By Bryan Schaaf on Thursday, March 13, 2008.
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Is water a right, a commodity, or both?  Perhaps the better question would be whether clean water is a right - considering that 1 billion people live without access to water that is safe.  Water sustains life, but shortages bring about desperation, disease, and conflict all of which fuel poverty.  It doesn't have to be this way.  World Water Day is coming up and presents a good opportunity for us to redouble our efforts to ensure that even the poorest of the poor have access to enough safe, drinkable water. Read more »

Too Little, Too Far, Too Expensive - Water in Port au Prince

By Bryan Schaaf on Saturday, February 23, 2008.

Let's face it - life is fragile.  One mosquito bite or one glass of questionable water makes the difference between good health one day, and sickness the next. In developing countries such as Haiti, the very water needed to survive can also cause sickness and, for the young, even death.  In Port au Prince, the wealthy purchase treated water while the poor depend on  crumbling infrastructure.  A documentary entitled "Drop for Drop" explores access to water in Haiti's largest city.   Read more »

Rotary in Haiti/Haitians in Rotary

By Bryan Schaaf on Tuesday, January 22, 2008.

So I've been thinking about joining Rotary Club.  Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders interested in humanitarian service, encouraging high ethical standards, and promoting peace and goodwill around the world.  There are about 1.2 million Rotarians belonging to more than 31,000 Rotary clubs in 166 countries.  There are plenty of programs financed by Rotary International, but are there Haitian Rotary Clubs?  Turns out that there are. Read more »