Target: Jim Yong Kim, President of World Bank Group
Goal: Encourage donors to make schools healthier for students in Haiti
As the World Bank, international donors, and the government of Haiti unite to discuss reformation of Haitian schools, a strong emphasis should be placed on clean water and better sanitation. At a recent conference in Washington, D.C., the state of many primary schools, middle schools, and high schools in Haiti was said to be dire. With little to no access to clean drinking water or toilets, these schools have seen an increase in preventable diseases like diarrhea and cholera.
Safe, clean latrines and water for drinking and hand-washing at Haitian schools are sparse. Nearly 60 percent of Haiti’s schools have no toilets and more than three-quarters lack access to fresh water. Following the disastrous earthquake in 2010, the country has seen a devastating increase in water-borne diseases. Today, school-age children suffer from higher incidences of cholera than any other group, with many contracting the disease from their own schools.
Further, Haitian children not only face inadequate sanitation at school, but also at home. Only one in five has access to a sanitary toilet, and more than 40 percent of families in Haiti have no means of retrieving clean water to carry out daily tasks. This lack of potable water and sanitation also keeps children out of school, as many are forced to stay home for weeks on end recovering from water-borne infections.
Although money from international donors is being pumped into the country daily, a recent visit to the country’s Central Plateau revealed that more than half of Haiti’s schools failed government guidelines for hygiene. If donors, the World Bank, and the Haitian government are truly serious about improving health, especially that of school-age children, then lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation need to be addressed immediately.
Sign the petition to encourage donors to support healthier schools for the children of Haiti.
Dear President Kim,
It’s been nearly four years since Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake and water-borne illnesses are still on the rise. This issue is directly linked to the fact that much of the population still lacks access to safe, clean water and adequate sanitation. As a result, diseases like cholera and diarrhea are severely crippling the livelihoods of children, leading many to believe that monetary sponsorships to the country aren’t being used to truly rectify this dire situation.
Nearly 60 percent of Haitian schools have no toilets, and more than three-quarters lack access to water. According to Human Rights Watch, at some schools, nearly 800 students are expected to share a communal outhouse miles away from the school grounds. With the majority of children in Haiti attending schools in such poor conditions, they risk contracting preventable diseases that keep them away from obtaining a proper education for weeks at a time.
As the World Bank, international donors, and the government of Haiti unite to discuss the amelioration of Haitian schools, a strong emphasis needs to be placed on potable water and clean washrooms. Every child in Haiti has a right to attend a school that doesn’t make them sick, and provides them with a quality education and the means necessary to escape poverty.
I urge you to eradicate water-borne illnesses in Haiti by encouraging donors to focus on making the country’s schools healthier through water and sanitation programs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: 1st Class Ashley Garcia via Wikimedia Commons