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Challenges in digging wells in Haiti – Part 1

Well-digging, a new JEN project in Haiti, started in Grand-Goâve. The first well is about to finish!

Although we’ve anticipated, there were a lot of challenges before starting the well-digging. Some of the basic things are difficult in Haiti where public administration is not fully functioning.
A place in need for a well is not so difficult find. However, whether or not we can actually dig a well in the selected place is a different matter.


The first issue is the access to the project site. An equipment for digging a well is transported by a big truck. The truck needs a decent road to reach the project site. However, there are few paved roads in Haiti. Grand-Goâve is especially difficult to reach since it is surrounded by mountains. A community in need of a well is often the most inaccessible. The road condition is the first thing we need to consider when assessing the site for well-digging.


Another issue is whether or not we can get drinking water at the ground depth for hand pump. Because there is no water analysis conducted by the government in the area, there is no guarantee that we would get drinking water from digging the ground. 

In addition, there is another problem of finding the landlord.


In Haiti, most of the people borrow land from landlords, and the landlords themselves often live abroad. You think one person is a landlord and may find out later that person is a tenant. Therefore, we need to check over and over again in order to find out the actual landlord. Fortunately, JEN staff was able to find out the landlord by closely consulting the people in the community, and received the permission to dig a community well on his land. After a lot of effort, we also received a permission from Grand-Goâve administration and Haiti Water and Hygiene Directorate to dig a well.

Once all the problems are resolved, it’s time for the actual digging!

April 7, 2011 in Haiti |