Pocket Change Project: Deep Springs International
PROGRAM AT A GLANCE
Deep Springs International is a non-profit organization that provides a solution to the water crisis in Haiti, with the goal of sustainability. Using a simple and affordable chlorination system called the Bucket of Life we empower individuals to provide safe water to their communities as a sustainable business. Even the poorest families can treat their water with this home system, regardless of the source.
PROBLEM AND THE DEEP SPRINGS SOLUTION
Awareness of the water crisis in developing countries worldwide is growing and Deep Springs International is committed to helping to alleviate suffering and death due to preventable water-borne diseases. Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.8 million deaths occur each year due to unsafe water, most of them preventable. In Haiti, our neighbor and poorest country in the western hemisphere, the water crisis was chronic and severe even before the 2010 earthquake. The situation has only worsened since the earthquake that claimed over 200,000 lives, and the subsequent outbreak of cholera which claimed over 8,200 lives. One of five (17.9%) deaths of children under 5 years old in Haiti result from diarrheal diseases. 97% of rural Haitians have to leave their homes to get water. 67% of rural Haitians live in “extreme poverty”(defined as less than $1 a day) and therefore cannot afford bottled water, even if it were available. Water taken from a presumed “safe source” (well, covered spring, etc.) is likely to become contaminated in transport or during storage. The Deep Springs solution is to focus on Household Water Treatment and Storage (HWTS). Our Bucket of Life system is a simple locally produced 5 gallon bucket with lid and tap and locally produced liquid chlorine product called Gadyen Dlo. With just a capful of this product, a family can purify water from any source, and guarantee that it is clean and safe in the cup (not just in the well or spring). A bottle of Gadyen Dlo is affordable for even the extreme poor – only $1.25 - and will last one to two months. Tests have proven that the system is at least 80% effective at reducing exposure to diarrheal disease. But the Deep Springs approach is not just effective in combating death and disease – it goes one step further: Deep Springs utilizes an effective business model to create local jobs and assure that the Health Agents become self-supporting through product sales.
- 88% live on less than $2 / day -- 67% live on less than $1 / day
- 54% of Haitians get water from “unimproved sources” (rivers, springs, unprotected wells)
- 96% in rural areas must leave home to get water
- Community water systems difficult, if not impossible, to sustain in certain areas
- Sales of bottled water works for the urban middle to upper class, but not for the poor
- In rural areas, household water treatment is only feasible option for safe water CHOLERA OUTBREAK….from October 2010 to December 2011:
- 523,904 cases seen in hospitals
- 7,018 deaths (one every hour and a half)
- Cholera expected to increase during rainy seasons
– Pan-American Health Organization
If you will not be able to attend on a collection day, and still wish to donate, you may donate directly to Deep Springs International online