WASH Program

The Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) program is a critical component of improving child health in Haiti. Without good health, children cannot grow and learn properly. This is particularly important in Haiti where cholera remains an on-going concern.

We visited the CAITE school in the UDICC Area Development Program of Haiti. We learned how this school was constructed thanks to a generous donation from a Canadian family, and support from World Vision. This allowed the school to be transformed from a simple shelter made from wooden poles and a sheet metal roof, to a well constructed concrete building.

A new initiative is taking place at this school under the WASH program. A new facility was constructed which allows children to properly wash with soap and water to reduce the risk of disease. While this is excellent in teaching the children, it is also an effective way of having the children transfer this important information to the rest of their families, and as a result a large proportion of the local community.

While we may take washing our hands for granted here in Canada, it is important to recognize how critical this simple practice is to protecting the health of Haitian youth.

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Mother’s Club

A Mother’s Club in the UDICC Area Development Program in Haiti is using a club approach to overcome malnutrition. We met today with one club whose 28 members meet on a monthly basis. Their goal is to develop a more balanced diet for their children using food sources which are most readily available in their community. The target is for children from 0 to 5 years old, but most children we saw today looked to be in the younger end of that age range. The members of the club share the cost to purchase food, and share in the food preparation. The club also tracks the progress of their children to make sure they are growing well. This particular club was chosen to receive additional training, and they are being used as a model that many other clubs can follow.

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Mother’s club leader (centre) and two other club members

We talked to one mother who was there with her 20 month old daughter, the youngest of her four children. She was previously in another club, and this was her third meeting in this club. She said she really gained a lot from being in the club. She learned to provide her children with foods that increase growth, that increase strength, and that increase protection against diseases.

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Mother and daughter in Mother’s Club

In a country where malnutrition has had such a devastating effect on child health, this club approach is proving to a very effective way of educating mothers and raising a healthier generation of children.

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FreddyLink team on their way

After a false start yesterday, the FreddyLink team is on their way. We are in the Montreal airport now. We have been rerouted through Guadeloupe to be able to get to Haiti today. We will lose some time on the trip, but at least we will get there after our cancelled flight yesterday.

Montresl airportFreddyLink team for this trip to Haiti in the Montreal airport (left to right: Matt Hogan, Sherry Munn, Bernie Zebarth, Lori Haggerty, Mike Haggerty).

We have a wonderful full schedule and we are looking forward to an amazing week.

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When traveling, details matter

One member of the FreddyLink team for this trip to Haiti is relatively new to traveling. He has had quite an adventure even before the trip really starts, and he is learning just how important the details can be when traveling.

Only a few days before the trip, he was photocopying his passport to have a copy on hand in case it was lost. As he was copying it, someone noticed his passport had expired! Fortunately he was able to arrange a special off-hours visit to the passport office two days before the trip, and now has a brand new passport. Crisis averted. Whew!

He then set an alarm on his phone for this morning so he could be up early for the flight to Haiti. One important detail about phone alarms, is that one needs to set not only the time, but also the date! His alarm did not go off, and the result was that he missed the flight. We were all so downcast, how can he not be on this trip?

But, there is a happy ending to this story. After boarding the airplane, we found out the airplane had mechanical problems and the flight was cancelled. We were originally rebooked to a flight…a week later! Fortunately, a diligent and creative airline agent found a different route and has us rebooked to fly out tomorrow instead.

This time, I think we will ALL be focused on the details and be there on time!

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