Friday, June 29, 2012

Does Humanitarian Aid Help With the Basics, Like Toilets?

Does humanitarian aid help with the basics such as sanitation?

After poking around several resources, I found this infographic that tells the story. It covers aid and basic sanitation for Haiti since 1990 to today.

As you can see, estimated humanitarian aid has been as high as a billion dollars in 1998. As recent as 2008 humanitarian aid received by Haiti is trending to increase.

Along the bottom you can see that the percentage of people who have access to sanitation has actually decreased. The decrease in basic sanitation could be attributed to a rise in overall population* or less attention by the Haitian government to building infrastructure like improved sanitation.

*Over the same period the Haitian population rose 36%, from 7.1 million to 9.7 million people.

Simply put, at least in the area of sanitation, aid does little to help improve Haitians' sanitation needs. This trend does not look to improve. It hasn't improve in the last 18 years.

We  have to find a new way to help with sanitation. It was a major contribution to expanding the cholera outbreak.

Now that we have been learning Biotecture and working with sanitation systems, I believe there is a way. Utilizing waste to grow food is possible/ (See "Black Water Planters for Earthship Owners" for concerns about bacterial counts.)

The method that the bucket flush toilets are set up does two things. A) It usually separates filtering and sanitation (two important components to preventing illness such as cholera) and B) produces far less waste to deal with since the plants are processing and using the waste for growth.

Knowing that aid is not solving the problem, we have to implement new solutions and I feel that Biotecture principles are just one way.

No comments: