14 February 2022

Prix Pralong Stories: Funding Haiti EcoSan Toilets

In 2012, Graduate Institute students Lyndsey Canham and Sabina Voicu (both MDEV '13) partnered with Water Project for Haiti to provide a local solution that would help prevent future sanitation emergencies in Borel, Haiti.

A small community located in the Artibonite Valley in Haiti, Borel was severely affected by the cholera epidemic following a devastating earthquake in January 2010. The grant that Lyndsey and Sabina received from Prix Pralong allowed them to successfully build a two-toilet latrine facility at a church across from their partners at Water Project for Haiti. The church, located in central Borel, is very close to an elementary school. It is estimated that 200 people benefit from these facilities daily, and as many as 500 on "event days", such as soccer tournaments.

The toilets use an ecological sanitation process to compost waste over time. The byproduct is then used as fertilizer for agricultural purposes. A local sanitation technician is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility, as well as for educating users and community members about the latrine and the composting process. In addition to the toilets, the Prix Pralong funded the inclusion of a wash-station outside the latrine facility. The wash station is regularly replenished so that those using the latrines are able to clean their hands, further improving sanitation in the village.

The Prix Pralong provided the alumnae with the opportunity to personally engage in field work, implement a development project end-to-end, and manage relationships with local and international partners. All of these skills became very useful as they began their careers after graduating from the Institute in 2013.

Lyndsey manages projects in the field of public health and is currently working at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada. Sabina specialises in monitoring and evaluation, and is currently working at the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services also in Toronto, Canada.

Sabina and Lyndsey highly encourage any Graduate Institute student to apply for the Prix Pralong if they have a development project in scope. They are grateful for the opportunity the grant provided them and the community the project serves. 

Do you wish to carry out a social, entrepreneurial or academic project in an emerging country?

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