It is no secret that rain can be terrifying in Haiti. From the hurricanes that ripped through Port-au-Prince and Gonaives, to the post-earthquake images of mothers holding their babies outside of flooding tents, Haiti’s rains have a notorious reputation for leaving destruction in their wake.
The quartier of Barrière Fer is slammed with this reality annually. Located in Cité Soleil the densely populated Barrière Fer is largely cut-off from government support-the town receives no electricity or water, and has no public schools or markets. This has resulted in widespread deficiencies in infrastructure, health, nutrition, education, and unemployment. And every rainy season, the town gets hit.
The fields’ flood, the roads wash out, and the water table becomes contaminated. Water pools and becomes stagnant, creating breeding grounds for malaria, cholera, and other water-born illnesses. As the population becomes sick, the town falls even more behind in development as children miss school and adults miss work. As one of Barrière Fer's residents explains: "Everything becomes ruined, the water causes the quartier to rot away."
Seeking to reverse this misfortune, three community-based groups came together-the Women’s Advisory Group of Barrière Fer (AFABCS), the Community Association for the Development of Blancha (ATEDEB), and the Organization for the Advancement of Pignon’s 1st Section. Working with the Cite Soleil COPRODEP, one of the municipal councils that make up PADF’s Urban Project for Participatory Development (PRODEPUR), the community came up with a proposal to construct a 1000 linear meter sewer system, or canalization.
“The water canals are absolutely necessary for Barrière Fer to have any chance of development,” Diderot L’Amour, the PRODEPUR civil engineer (pictured below, right) overseeing the project, explains. “Without a proper way to deal with the rains, Barrière Fer was never going to develop. PRODEPUR works in areas that have been neglected or forgotten, and what that often translates into is a lack of a basic supports.”
The canalization process has now commenced in Barrière Fer, and will be completed by month’s end. It couldn’t come soon enough. As L’Amour explains, “By providing critical infrastructure, PRODEPUR gives these towns the foundations they need to grow. A sewer system in Barriere Fer will give the residents something to build off of, and show that they have not been, and will not be, forgotten.”
To learn more about PADF's PRODEPUR, click here