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Transforming a “Desolate Savannah” into “The Little Town That Could”

Water Mission
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The tiny community of Guimby, Haiti, is home to 925 men, women, and children whose lives have been forever changed by the presence of a brand-new, sustainable safe water system in their town. Thanks to your support, the tireless work of Guimby’s town leaders, and our Haiti team, this farming community no longer has to ration its limited water supply between livestock and family needs.

Before 2020, women and children would make difficult journeys through mountainous terrain every day to collect water for their families. Guimby was known locally as “the desolate savannah of Haiti.” The town suffers from an extremely dry climate and severe water scarcity. Delancia Michel, a mother of two young daughters, used to spend hours each day gathering water for her family. The task was difficult, and the water was often contaminated.

“I used to go very far, a long distance, to get water that still made me sick,” Delancia told us. “We used to have a well here in the village,” she explained, “but every day there would be fights…to get access to the dirty water it contained.” Tensions ran high in Guimby, as the available water supply was never enough to meet the needs of all residents.Sadly, Guimby's situation is common in rural Haiti: The World Health Organization and UNICEF estimates that nearly 80 percent of Haiti's poorest rural residents lack access to even the most basic water services. Access to sanitation is even rarer.

**That's why Water Mission's Haiti team has been working since 2004 to provide safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) solutions to more than 340,000 people throughout the country. **Our team works in the most remote, water-scarce communities, partnering with local leaders to build resilient, lasting WASH infrastructure.

Community leadership in Guimby has been particularly strong. As our Haiti team spent many days training Guimby's Safe Water Committee on operation and maintenance, financial management, healthy WASH behaviors, and more, our staff began calling the community "The Little Town That Could." The Committee continues to lead with excellence, saving money little by little to pay for future maintenance.

Today, the residents of Guimby are less at risk from waterborne diseases spread through unsafe water. Children attend school regularly and on time, because they are no longer hindered by sickness or long walks for water. Many parents in Guimby also shared that their children have learned new healthy handwashing practices from our Haiti team, which have been especially important throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having access to safe water has also alleviated conflicts between Guimby’s residents. “The safe water project transformed our lives,” said another community member. “We don’t need to fight between us to get water like we used to do.”

Because of the support of partners like you, the residents of Guimby look forward to the future with renewed hope and strength. The presence of safe water has dramatically improved health, harmony, and opportunity in the community. “I am more than satisfied with the safe water project,” shared Louisane, a local businesswoman and mother. “We are so proud.”