We began working in Haiti after the cholera epidemic in 2010, forming Project 509 a few years later. Our initial effort was to distribute water filters in remote mountain communities, which is a very common response throughout the developing world. Over time however, we identified a number of problems associated with this strategy – most importantly, it does not address long-term need, and therefore is not a sustainable solution.
Under guidance from the communities we work with, we began building rainwater-harvesting systems, as well as giving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) trainings, and working with local farmers to integrate an agriculture component into our project.
Please visit our Project 509 website for specific information about our work in Haiti.
During this time, we formed a unique partnership with Freewaters Footwear, which donates 1% of their total sales to clean water access projects in areas of extreme need. Needless to say, our relationship has blossomed over the past 4 years, resulting in deep mutual trust and respect. Recently, our friends at Freewaters have invited us to complete evaluations of the projects they have previously funded in the Philippines and Kenya. Obviously, we are very excited about moving forward!
Integrating water projects in Haiti, the Philippines and Kenya will form the foundation of our work over the next couple of years; providing us with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of development at the grassroots level, which we can then share on a much wider scale.
To best accomplish our objectives, we have built a framework for development response at the grassroots level … hence the name: Framewrx. This framework guides our efforts, while also providing the freedom necessary to address each context on its own terms. This framework will be made available for use in any number of open-source platforms, and we will actively engage with anyone who is interested in order to refine and improve our framework as we move into the future.