Haiti National Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (HANWASH)

Dr. Omar Keith Helferich,  who works with HANWASH on sustainability, gave a quick overview of the current conditions in Haiti. The political unrest in Haiti is causing challenges, but HANWASH is committed to the goal of bringing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene to every person in Haiti. Dr. Helferich is helping to implement change theory in the program. One of the outcomes of utilizing this approach is that delivery will be performed as a pay-for-service. 

Hope College Global Water Research Institute (GWRI)

GWRI has recently joined HANWASH as a partner. Dr. Helferich introduced Dr. Aaron Best and Dr. Brent Krueger from GWRI to talk about the institute's projects.
Clean water research at Hope College dates back to the 1960s. The GWRI aims to transform health and well-being both globally and locally. The members of the GWRI at Hope come from the biology, chemistry, political science, geology/environment science, theology, and mathematics departments.
The current GWRI initiatives are:
  • Macatawa watershed research includes 7 years of highly detailed data about every aspect of the watershed.
  • Day 1 research program is a program that engages undergraduates in research on fecal and plastic contamination of watersheds.
  • Dune wetlands research.
  • Peat bog investigations on carbon cycle effects.
  • Theological writings on creation care.
  • Waste water monitoring in 9 Michigan counties for COVID and other viral infections.
  • A watershed monitoring project in Northern Lake County, Indiana.
  • Clean water projects in Kiberia, Kenya.
One of the UN millennium goals was to progress in every area of the world on moving toward clean water. This goal is unlikely to be met at the current rate of progress.
Aaron described work in the Dominican Republic (DR) as an example of how a data-driven approach can lead to a better outcome for the people. A non-profit that runs schools in the DR was concerned about the incidence of diarrhea among their students and families. Their question was whether providing clean water to the students during school hours would decrease the incidence of disease. The GWRI did a controlled study where all students got clean water during school hours and some had filtration equipment installed in their homes. There was no statistically significant decrease in diarrhea among those that only had clean water during school hours. Among those that had clean water available all of the time, there was a large decrease. GWRI will bring this methodology to the Rotary HANWASH project.