This story is from the "Faces of Recovery" series about how Haitians, the UN and partners responded to the devastation caused by the August 2021 earthquake.
In the town of Jérémie, in the south-west of Haiti, the 14 August earthquake damaged many buildings including schools, but now the national water authority DINEPA with the support of UNICEF says rehabilitating the sanitation blocks of those schools could help children to adopt safer hygiene habits.
“My name is Kesnel Paris, and I am the technical lead for DINEPA in Jérémie. We're still assessing to what extent sanitation blocks in our schools were damaged by the earthquake.
The school that we are at today was not affected, however it did receive around 10 to 15 new pupils whose houses were destroyed in the center of town whose parents relocated to where we are now. It is a big problem when a lot of students relocate to new schools because there are increased needs and so more pressure is put on the sanitation facilities; there's less soap, toilet paper and disinfectant for each pupil and we need more water so they can wash their hands.
However, together with UNICEF, DINEPA sees this as an opportunity because we can rebuild up-to-date facilities, putting water, sanitation and hygiene, or WASH as we call it, at the forefront of our students’ minds. We can teach more students about the importance of healthy hygiene practices.”