To help the Caribbean recover and become more resilient, Clean the World Foundation commits to a comprehensive project to provide dignified jobs to women, improve health through trainings on WASH practices, improve household resilience through better emergency preparedness, and improve the speed and efficiency of aid delivery in future disasters with a diversified local stockpile of aid items. The 18-month project will launch in Q3 2019.
The first element will be a microenterprise program. Clean the World Foundation will train at least 100 women to start one of two types of small-scale enterprises (specific enterprise(s) selected will be dependent upon the needs of the local communities, and some communities might have both types present): the first is a soapmaking business, where women will collect soaps from local hotels recycle them into fresh bars, and sell those bars to their local community. Clean the World Foundation will purchase soap from the women to replenish the local emergency supply stockpiles. The second is a feminine hygiene supplies business. The women will collect discarded linens from local hotels and recycle them into new menstrual pads to be sold locally. This model will create dignified, well-paying jobs for local women and provide necessary hygiene supplies to populations that currently have limited access. Through this program, at least 100 women will be employed across the region in the first year.
The second element is a comprehensive educational program for local schools, clinics, and community centers to be conducted twice per month and serve approximately 100,000 people through the ongoing trainings. The curriculums are designed to transform behaviors and ensure proper practices for safe water, sanitation, and hygiene, which will improve health and reduce incidences of diseases. The curriculum will also include lessons on household emergency preparedness.
The final element of this commitment will be a stockpile of emergency WASH supplies stored locally within the islands for rapid deployment in future emergencies. The goal is to stockpile one million WASH items by September 2019, including bars of soap, hygiene kits, water filtration systems, and feminine hygiene items. Instead of relying on imported supplies, these stockpiles will be spread throughout the islands with items sourced locally, so that response efforts can be more efficient in the future.
Q3 2019: Create stockpile of WASH supplies (soap, hygiene kits, water filtration systems, feminine hygiene supplies) within the Caribbean region for rapid deployment, with a goal of having stockpiles in all three locations (Dominica, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands); conduct community assessments to identify locations for educational and preparedness programs (schools, clinics, community centers); identify community leaders for program facilitation.
Q4 2019: Deploy emergency supplies as needed; replenish stockpiles as needed; finalize locations for educational/preparedness programming; conduct trainings of local facilitators/implementers; conduct baseline assessments to establish quantitative metrics for measuring progress; identify individuals for microenterprise program training.
Q1 2020: Deploy emergency supplies as needed; replenish stockpiles as needed; launch educational/preparedness programming; conduct initial 90-day assessment to measure educational program progress; begin training for first group of women entrepreneurs; launch first round of women-owned enterprises; identify women for second round of microenterprise programming.
Q2 2020: Refine programming as needed; deploy emergency supplies as needed; replenish stockpiles as needed, beginning to source supplies from women-owned enterprises as appropriate; work with partners to develop outline of transition sustainability plan for educational programming; conduct second 90-day assessment; conduct training for second group of women entrepreneurs; launch second round of women-owned enterprises; identify women for final round of microenterprise programming.
Q3 2020: Deploy emergency supplies as needed; replenish stockpiles as needed from women-owned enterprises; finalize transition sustainability plan for educational programming; host community meetings to discuss transition plan; conduct third 90-day assessment to evaluate educational program progress; conduct training for final group of women entrepreneurs; launch final round of women-owned enterprises; conduct assessments on first and second round enterprises to gauge success and provide support as needed.
Q4 2020: Deploy emergency supplies as needed, replenish stockpiles as needed from women-owned enterprises; transition programming to local partners; monitor progress and provide guidance as needed.
The 2017 hurricane season brought unprecedented devastation to Puerto Rico, Dominica, and the Virgin Islands. In the aftermath of the storm, aid organizations and response agencies experienced an array of challenges as they sought to assist victims and help rebuild from the destruction.
Immediate challenges included an inadequate supply of aid items stockpiled within the region – particularly water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) supplies, which are critical in the immediate aftermath of a storm. Response agencies typically relied on supplies brought in from other locations, and those efforts were hindered by damages to the necessary infrastructure.
Another challenge was the lack of appropriate WASH practices and emergency preparedness among some of the affected populations – particularly in impoverished areas. The lack of preparedness at a household level, and a lack of familiarity with appropriate WASH practices like water storage and treatment, proper handwashing, and safe sanitation, exacerbated the devastation and hindered the response efforts.
Finally, because the destruction was so severe and widespread, economic recovery, particularly among impoverished communities, has been painfully slow. Far too many people remain unemployed or severely underemployed as a result of the destruction and slow recovery from the storms.
Clean the World Foundation welcomes additional implementing partners to help expand the scale and reach of the project long term, specifically NGOs and community organizations interested being trained to implement the WASH education and emergency preparedness curriculums in additional schools, healthcare centers, and community centers across the three locations. In addition, they are seeking additional financial support to help close their funding gap of $115,000 as well as additional funding to expand their efforts in the region.
Clean the World Foundation is interested in donating WASH supplies, including family hygiene kits, soap, and feminine hygiene supplies, available locally to fellow response organizations who might require them. In addition, they are interested in sharing their education curriculum focusing on family emergency preparedness and WASH practices, which will also be available to other groups who might benefit from it.