Southeastern Section - 62nd Annual Meeting (20-21 March 2013)

21
WATER AND SANITATION IN HAITI – AN ETHNOGRAPHIC PERSPECTIVE

Paper No. 21-2
Presentation Time: 3:25 PM

WATER AND SANITATION IN HAITI – AN ETHNOGRAPHIC PERSPECTIVE


MOLLA, Azizur R., Anthropology Department, Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI 49417, mollaziz@gvsu.edu, WAMPLER, Peter J., Geology Department, Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI 49401, and REDISKE, Richard R., Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, MI 49441
Interactions between cultural perceptions regarding water, water quality data, and water consumption are critical to obtaining a complete understanding of water resources and water resource interventions in rural Haiti. Ethnographic survey and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) were used to collect data to understand cultural perception associated with water quality and water use in the study area. Over 100 water samples, 60 interviews, and 6 focus groups were conducted in 8 rural Haitian communities. The data suggests that religious and social rituals are associated with water pollution, water use and treatment. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and government agencies seeking to address unsafe water are often hampered by misperceptions of water quality, a lack of contamination data, and a thorough understanding of cultural practices. Contamination and ethnographic data provide cultural context and water supply vulnerability factors related to water source characteristics, sanitation, and intervention methods. The type of ethnographic and water quality data collected for this study, can be used as a model to make water systems in other underdeveloped countries more resilient and sustainable, and provide guidance to policy makers.