IIl programma AQUAPLUS è un modello di buona prassi per progetti che riguardano le comunità rurali. Le principali linee guida di AQUAPLUS sono: motivazione, coinvolgimento e preparazione della comunità locale per il conseguimento di risultati duraturi che corrispondano alle necessità della gente per quanto concerne un difficile accesso all’acqua utilizzabile. La buona prassi AQUAPLUS si basa sulle seguenti direttive:
(a) Intraprendere ogni azione insieme alla popolazione locale,
(b) Uso di materiali e risorse umane locali, riducendo al massimo il ricorso a prodotti e operatori stranieri,
(c) Preservare e gestire i risultati conseguiti tramite comitati locali eletti e formalmente riconosciuti dall’amministrazione locale,
(d) Educare gli utilizzatori e preparare i futuri educatori che dovrebbero essere scelti tra i membri della comunità,
(e) Dare esempi di possibili sviluppi delle attività condotte ad altre zone della stessa regione,
(f) In questa sede presentiamo il caso della comunità rurale di Torbeck (distretto di Les Caye, Dipartimento del Sud, Repubblica di Haiti).
Movement for the fight against Hunger in the World - ItaliaPartner dell'iniziativa
MLFM nasce nel 1964 con il proposito di combattere la denutrizione e il sottosviluppo; ottiene poi l’idoneità dal Ministero Affari Esteri Italiano per operare in qualità di Organismo Non Governativo. La lotta alla fame e alla povertà diventano la mission dell’ONG: da subito sceglie di intervenire dove più necessario con progetti di sviluppo e non nell’emergenza. Portare acqua potabile è l'obiettivo primario, senza precludere con ciò interventi di educazione, sensibilizzazione e formazione. In 50 anni di vita ha agito su più fronti per la tutela dei diritti umani inviolabili, promuovendo soprattutto in Africa progetti trasversali in ambito idrico ed igienico-sanitario, ambientale ed energetico, sui temi della sovranità alimentare e della salute, con un’attenzione particolare verso bambini, donne e fasce più deboli della popolazione. Sul territorio italiano lavora per promuovere una cultura della solidarietà, favorendo l'Educazione alla Cittadinanza Mondiale.
AVSI Foundation, Milano - ItaliaPartner dell'iniziativa
Humanitarian cooperation in low income Countries. Main AVSI concerns are: nutrition, health care, agricultural development;
Department of Food Environmental and Nutrtional Sciences, University of Milan - ItaliaPartner dell'iniziativa
Research and teaching
Foundation Rotary Milan for Milan - ItaliaPartner dell'iniziativa
Service verso la comunità
The AQUAPLUS program is a best practice model for projects aimed at supporting the development of rural communities. The main guidelines of AQUAPLUS are motivation, involvement and training of the local community to achieve sustainable and long lasting results. Here we present the exploitation of these best practice guidelines in the case of the rural Haitian community of Torbek (about 10.000 inhabitants), in the district of Les Cayes, South Department of the Haiti Republic. Any activity has been undertaken together with the local people and the achievements attained are preserved and managed by local elected committees, formally recognized by the local and governmental administrations. The “PLUS” that follows “AQUA” in the name of the program indeed stands for all the other actions that must be taken into account once the water supply has been provided.
1. Work together with the local people; preserve and manage the achievements attained through local elected committees.
2. Use of local vs imported products: building materials, equipments for the transformation of agro-products and practically all the human power came from local resources, including the food integrators prepared from local plants (Moringa Oleira).
3. Involvement of several partners in order to provide the required expertise for any specific issue, namely, operators who live in the project site (AVSI personnel), teachers from UNIMI –faculty of Agriculture; Rotarian volunteers of various professional expertise.
4. Overall control of the progress achieved by the local Rotary Club that provides local observers.
5. Involvement of the Governmental administration, which has recognized the AQUAPLUS program as a pilot project for similar activities in the rest of the country.
6. Activities take into account all the facets of the underdevelopment status of the local populace, namely: (i) preservation of the soil and water resources, (ii) improvement of agricultural practices, (iii) information and training, (iv) nutrition of the infants.
The rural Haitian community of Torbek lives in a region where water is not easily accessible for either domestic or farm uses. Floods, tropical storms and deforestation are the reason for a severe soil erosion that threatens houses and cultivated areas. The main crops are manioc, rice, beans, and bread tree, bananas and mangos being the most common fruits. However, most plants suffer severe pathologies and must be re-sewed. The poor hygienic conditions are responsible for a high level of fecal contamination of the air and the water streams. The quality of the agro-products is therefore rather poor and below the required standards for a wide range commerce. This is why the development of any commercial farm-to-fork chain is difficult and no substantial economic enhancement can come from the agricultural activities in this area. Finally, following a traditional local costume, newborn babies are breast fed for only two months, while their diet since the third month of life is the same as for adult people: this is why a large fraction of the infants below five suffers of chronic malnutrition, which produces a poor lifespan expectancy and body underdevelopment.
A. improvement and extension of the hydraulic network: 20 km aqueduct, 45 fountains equipped with showers (males and females); 200 private connections; institution of local committee (CAEPA) for maintaining the infrastructures and managing clients;
B. education to exploit the soil resources10 UNIMI teachers, 4 students (2 Italians and 2 Haitian), 1 Haitian PHD student, 2 Haitian nurses:; meetings and seminars for the local farmers every third month for two years;
C. building and implementation of a transformation unit for the treatment of agro-products (200 tons/y of manioc tubers; 50 kg/d of packaged manioc tortillas and other bakery products spread on the local market);
D. improvement of the nutritional status of 600 newborns and pregnant women; meals enriched with dried moringa oleifera leaves supplied at the 3 nutritional center in Les Cayes area; information seminars for the pregnant women and post-delivery nutritional training;
E. consolidation of the soil versus the erosion through plantation of moringa oleifera trees all around the natural well that feeds the aqueduct.
• The families of the farmers enjoy a constant supply of clean water to drink and irrigate the fields. This service is managed by an ad hoc Committee (CAEPA) elected by the population and formally recognized by the regional administration (DINEPA).
• The producers of manioc and other cereals have formed a consortium for the use of the Transformation Unit (UdT) built on the campus of the local university (UNDH). The products are here suitably packaged and spread on the local market. The relevant profits go to the members of the consortium.
• The UNDH has signed an agreement with the University of Milan for exchanges of teachers and students and the development of a new educational line in human nutrition.
• 600 children below 5 and their mothers are fed with products added with integrators produced from the leaves of Moringa Oleifera, the cultivation of which has been undertaken in view of its use as a nutraceutical food ingredient.
• The soil around the well that feeds the aqueduct has been consolidated by planting trees of Moringa Oleifera.
• The Haitian Government has recognized the AQUAPLUS program as a pilot plan for the rural communities of Haiti.
• 12 UNIMI teachers and 2 Italian students at UNDH for 1 month. 2 Haitian students stayed at UNIMI for 8 months; 1 Haitian PHD student should arrive in Milan to stay for 1 year. 3 Haitian nurses will spend a 3 month stage at UNIMI for a training on nutritional assistance.
• 3 AVSI volounteers manage the aqueduct works and the nutritional program.
• 6 Rotarian volounteers monitor the aqueduct project and the relevant private connections, and the decoration work of the 45 fountains by the 4-5 local artisans.
• 5 Haitians (2 males e 3 females) form an ad hoc committee (CAEPA) to deal with the administrative managing of the hydraulic network and relevant users.
• 20 local workers per month for 1 year were involved in manual works related to the aqueduct and the UdT building.
• The UdT plants are from a local enterprise (Atélier Camp Perrin).
• A plate with a message in Creole about the careful use of water decorates each fountain. The 45 sentences were selected by an ad hoc committee from all those proposed by the populace who responded to an ad hoc call.
• The AQUAPLUS 3 member peer Committee monitors all the activities.
1. The local farmers have to be motivated to become main supporters of the activities, in view of future progresses they can plan by themselves. To overcome this difficulty it is of help to show that these activities imply economical profits.
2. Financial resources used without intermediaries: the direct payment of goods and salaries meets some opposition by the local establishment (either public or private), who perceives a loss of social power in such a practice. Once the principle of power delegation to committees elected by the people is accepted, such difficulty is overcome.
3. Actuation time. Local traditions and meteo/climatic conditions imply a substantial reduction of the real day work time. Flexibility of the overall planning allows some day or some week standby of the manual works, while activities related to the organization and dissemination can progress.
Innovation criteria: election of local committees. This method was proven to be effective to promote a real participation by the populace.
Soil digging related to the water pipes and sedimentation basins implied a systematic check of the soil consolidation and the appropriate use of water for home and irrigation uses, so to reduce soil erosion and waste of clean water.
Plantation of Moringa and Bamboo trees along banks, dykes, and around wells followed the UN criteria suggested to reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere. The use of Moringa Oleifera, which is an autochthonous plant in Haiti, allowed matching such consolidation effects with the availability of food integrators to add to the local products. The improvements achieved in the agronomic techniques led to a better reliability of traditional crops of manioc and rice, reducing the post-harvest losses. The better hygienic conditions within the transformation unit (UdT) allowed preparation of more stable products suitable for a commercial spreading. To this respect, a great advantage came from the UNDH-UNIMI cooperation and the related exchange of teachers and students.
The direct participation of the local populace characterized all the activities. This holds for:
• Hydraulic web and fountains,
• Information and training about irrigation and cultivation techniques,
• Plantation od Moringa and other trees to consolidate the soil,
• Information and education for a proper nutrition of infants, after-delivery and pregnant women.
The elected local committees, the public events, such as the plantation of Moringa trees around the aqueduct well (realized with the concourse of the populace, including the students of secondary schools) during an environment-preservation day),
The official inauguration of UdT in the presence of the major civil and religious authorities (the Haiti Cardinal, the Haiti representative for EXPO2015, the Haitian ministry of agriculture, etc.), reflect the impact of the AQUAPLUS program on the local community and justify some confidence about the continuity of the results achieved and the expectations of support by the local administration.
In line with this, a great expectation comes from the preparation of qualified personnel thanks to the UNIMI-UNDH cooperation.
The AQUAPLUS program and its Haitian implementation has been presented at the Haitian governmental authorities, at a conference held at the Haitian embassy in Italy (Rome, July 2013), in view of its presentation at EXPO 2015, in occasion of the EXPO 2015 International Partners meetings (in 2013 and 2014), at the International Convention of Rotary (Lisbon, 2013, and Sydney,2014). 5,000 brochures, in English and Italian, have been distributed in these occasions. Many fund raising events allowed the organizers to collect more than 100,000 Euros. The project was financially supported by the Municipal Administration of Milan (200,000 Euros), UNICREDIT (150,000 Euros), The Rotary Foundation (400,000 Euros). Many presentations of the project were given in the Milan area, but also in Switzerland and Germany thanks to network of involved Rotary Clubs. A motivational film was produced, thanks to the cooperation of the well-known Israeli artist Emme. This and a comprehensive photo-gallery are included in the website of the program, http://www.perniceeditori.it/Aquaplus.