Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) and UNICEF are organising Haiti’s first ever National Sustainable Sanitation Conference. It will be held in Port-au-Prince on 12-13 June 2012.
The conference aims to share information about innovative waste treatment technologies such as composting toilets and bio-systems, among NGOs and the Haitian government.
- Overview of National Sanitation Strategy presented by DINEPA’s Sanitation Office (DA)
- Presentations of lessons learned from previous projects and ongoing sustainable sanitation projects in Haiti
- Ateliers focused on different components of sustainable sanitation
- Stakeholder feedback
- Open forum to discuss National Standards for Composting Toilets and Biogas
- Production of a public document summarizing the findings of the conference
SOIL, US-registered non profit, has been promoting ecological sanitation solutions in Haiti since 2006.
For the full announcement and more information go to: www.oursoil.org/national-sustainable-sanitation-conference
Factors determining the effectiveness of Oxfam’s public health promotion approach in Haiti, 2012.
Nadja Contzen, Hans-Joachim Mosler. Eawag.
In response to the devastating Earthquake of January 12th 2010 and the cholera outbreak of October of that same year Oxfam Great Britain, Oxfam Quebec and Intermón Oxfam conducted public health promotion and cholera response in Haiti. Different promotion activities were applied which aimed at changing hygiene behavior by changing perceptions and beliefs about healthy behaviors amongst people affected by crisis.
In February 2011 four Oxfam affiliates in Haiti in partnership with a team of behavior change researchers from Eawag launched the present research project to do an in-depth evaluation of the promotional activities that had been conducted with the goal of further improving the WASH situation for people in Haiti and worldwide by understanding how to make hygiene promotion more effective. The main focus of the research project was around the question which specific promotion activities were strongly associated with perceptions and beliefs about handwashing with soap and were thus capable of changing handwashing behavior at key times.
OXFAM – Hygiene promotion: determining what works, 2012. Humanitarian field studies | Cholera response in Haiti
When a massive earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, followed by a cholera epidemic that broke out in October of that year, Oxfam rushed assistance—clean water, sanitation, and hygiene materials and information—to hard-hit areas to protect public health.
Hygiene promotion is arguably the most important intervention in a cholera epidemic: the route of cholera transmission is fecal-oral, and contaminated hands are often the principal vector. So Oxfam engages in a wide range of hygiene-promotion activities to encourage washing hands—specifically, washing hands with soap at key moments, such as before eating and after defecation.
But which of our interventions have been the most effective, and why? Is it more important to put resources into hygiene-themed theater productions or radio call-in shows? There is little hard evidence to suggest that—in Haiti or in emergencies anywhere—one hygiene-promotion activity works better than another. But lives, not to mention valuable resources, may depend on the answer, so in the spring of 2011, Oxfam engaged Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, to study the effectiveness of our hygiene-promotion activities in Haiti.
Twitter messages were providing data that would have been a quicker way of detecting and tracking the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti than traditional methods, according to a study  published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
The study found that online social media and news feeds were faster than, and broadly as accurate as, the official records at detecting the start and early progress of the epidemic, which hit Haiti after the earthquake in January 2010 and has killed more than 6,500 people.
The authors used HealthMap, an automated surveillance platform, to measure the volume of news media generated during the first 100 days of the outbreak, and they also looked at the number of ‘cholera’ posts on Twitter.
Community toilets can yield nutrient-rich fertilizer. A new type of public toilet is helping people in Haiti make fertilizer from human waste, a project that may someday revive the country’s degraded farmland, curb disease, and create jobs.
Since 2006 the U.S. nonprofit Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) has been installing public toilets in Haiti, where 80 percent of the population has no access to sanitation.
Drums from the public toilets sit at a composting site in Haiti. Photograph courtesy Sasha Kramer, SOIL
Most Haitians are forced to dispose of their waste in waterways, plastic bags, or even abandoned buildings, according to SOIL. Any existing toilets are often poorly designed, with waste flushing straight into rivers or groundwater. (Related: “World Water Day Focus on Global Sewage Flood.”)
Such practices mean that human feces easily get into the water supply, which can cause waterborne diseases such as cholera, currently at epidemic levels in the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United Nations has been hit with a demand for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from Haitian cholera victims.
The Boston, USA-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) filed the demand on behalf of some 5,000 victims.
IJDH is demanding US$ 50,000 in compensation for each sick person and US$ 100,000 for each death. In addition, it wants a public apology and an adequate nationwide response – including medical care and clean water and sanitation infrastructure.