We renew Bon Samaritain scholarships, develop a major multi-year WASH project, and continue to pursue funding opportunities for the critical program of agroforestry and reforestation in L’Acul.
Bon Samaritain Scholarships: We are happy to announce that Two Mules will continue to provide scholarships for twelve secondary school students attending Bon Samaritain school in Beaudois, Haiti, in 2022 with the generous support of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Foundation. We are committed to funding scholarships for high school students whose families are financially unable to meet tuition obligations, and we are delighted to confirm that scholarships will continue to be made available to a select group of students in the 2021-2022 school year.
The hopes and dreams of these students can only be realized through their education at Bon Samaritain, and the chance to get the education so vital for success depends on their families’ ability to meet the cost of tuition. They are eager, and bright, and working for a better future for their families and for Haiti. If you would like to help Two Mules continue to make a difference in their lives, please consider donating.
Students at Bon Samaritain secondary school, Beaudois, L’Acul
Water quality testing at the community spring at Molas, L’Acul.
L’Acul WASH Project: The goal of this project is to deliver affordable, market-based solutions to provide clean water and sanitary waste disposal technologies for families living in the L’Acul Communal Section, Gros-Morne Arrondissement, Artibonite Haiti. Haitian Communal Sections are like counties in the U.S., and it is estimated that there are 18,000 people living in the L’Acul Commune. Most are subsistence farming families living in dispersed villages lacking roads, water and sanitation infrastructure, or government assistance. The project is to be executed in three stages:
1) construct a facility to manufacture water-filtration and toilet fixtures, create a microfinance bank, and make fixtures available to most homes in one village
2) scale up production and marketing to provide fixtures in three neighboring villages
3) deliver of fixtures for most homes in the L’Acul Commune. The first stage is expected to be completed in year three, the second in year five, and the third in year ten of the project. The project will be subsidized by partnering organizations and grants with contributions being phased out over a ten-year period, as the fixture-production facility achieves financial independence, scales up production and widens markets to reach most of the L’Acul population.
Bio-sand water filtration (BSF) and composting toilet (CT) technologies are well suited for residential use in rural Haiti. All the materials needed for construction are locally available, the technologies are effective, and maintenance is simple. Laboratory and field tests have shown that BSF removes 100% of helminths (worms), 100% of protozoa, 98.5% of bacteria, and 70-99% of viruses from contaminated water. Composting is widely recognized as effective in eliminating all disease-causing pathogens in human waste if properly managed. The installation of BSF and composting toilet systems in most homes can have a profound impact on health in L’Acul. To assess project outcomes, the number of cases of waterborne diseases treated at the local St. Michel Health Clinic will be documented prior to, and after, WASH solutions are implemented.
Previous WASH interventions in developing countries have demonstrated that understanding social contexts, exchanging information, and developing community buy-in, are critical components for success. For sustainable improvement in water and sanitation, success depends on designing affordable improvements that community members will choose to own. Current consensus among public health researchers is that charitable, top-down interventions should be replaced, whenever possible, by locally informed, market-based solutions with culturally appropriate designs that are affordable and easily maintained. This project will use a Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach to assess community needs and provide feedback on aspects of design, social acceptability, and economic feasibility throughout the project life.
Although our goal is to implement sanitation improvements, success depends on designing improvements that community members choose to invest in. Current consensus among public health researchers is that charitable, top-down interventions should be replaced, whenever possible, by locally informed, market-based solutions with culturally sensitive designs that are economically accessible to participants. This project will use a Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach to assess community needs and provide feedback on aspects of design, social acceptability, and economic feasibility. Two Mules will serve as the lead for research, design, and project management. Community surveys and training will be designed in consultation with students and faculty of the Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill, and locally directed by our Haitian board members. BSF design, production, and marketing will be modeled on successful methods pioneered by Clean Water for Haiti, who will serve as a consulting partner on the project. Clean Water for Haiti is a Canadian NGO that has been building and installing BSF systems for over 20 years. Composting toilet systems will be modeled on successful technologies developed by the Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL). SOIL’s successful market-based composting waste system serves more than 3,000 families in Cap Haitien.
Demonstrating a hands-free wash station in Molas.
Long-term sustainment of the L’Acul WASH Project is built into the program using a market-based approach. BSF and composting toilet systems will be fabricated at a local facility with labor provided by participating recipients. Managers, technicians, and laborers will be recruited locally, and the facility will be in L’Acul, near the communities where the systems will be marketed. Although initially subsidized, the goal is for the facility to be financially independent at the end of the three-year project.
A family garden plot in L’Acul.
The Molas Agroforestry Program: The Molas Agroforestry Program (MAP) is designed to address the critical problem of deforestation, severe erosion, and agricultural shortages among Haitian farming families in the western Artibonite. The MAP will assist local Haitian farmers in planting thousands of tree seedlings to replace the severely depleted natural forests with a program that integrates the reforestation effort into the existing agricultural system. Plantings will include a selection of indigenous trees for fuel, fruit trees and understory crops such as coffee, as well as garden vegetables. The goal is to design and introduce an agricultural system that will create a sustainable source of fuel, reduce soil erosion, restore depleted organic content to the soil, and encourage composting and regenerative farming practices.
A key feature of the Molas Agroforestry Project is to form partnerships between Haitian farming communities, agronomy, and crop science specialists, and supporting partners in the US who will work to identify and facilitate access to crop seed sources and expert advice. Families from local villages will be encouraged to participate in a regenerative farming program that will promote reforestation, erosion control and composting, to build soil organics and sequester carbon. Two Mules will work with local teachers and educators to develop instructional modules for primary and secondary schools and will support women’s groups to foster adult education programs. Two Mules looks forward to the participation of US organizations, corporations, churches, and private citizens, as well as educational institutions interested in providing training opportunities for students. Please reach out to us if you have an interest in partnering in this program, and to otherwise assist in this effort please consider donating.
Donor Advised Funds: To make your year-end, tax-deductible charitable donating easier, you may now find Two Mules for Haiti among the Charitable Donor Advised Funds listed with GuideStar. Thanks!