VNGI Haiti project in its final phases, with success!
The four-year project “Municipal reconstruction in the Les Palmes Region of Haiti comes to a close at the end of 2014. WASTE has been co-ordinating the solid waste and recycling part of the programme, and is contracted by the Dutch Municipal Association, VNGI. The solid waste component has been ambitious from the start: nothing less than reconstruct (or construct, depending on whom you consult) a functioning solid waste system in four coastal municipalities, with a combined population of nearly 1 million.
The big news is that WASTE, working with Jarrod Ball, have supported VNGI and its counterpart DATIP to design and excavate a controlled disposal site, called “Fauché”, in the city of Grand-Goâve. The site is small, but it is close to the national highway and should be able to handle all collected waste from the region for at least 3 and as many as 5 years. Fauché is the first landfill in Haiti to be constructed on private land, purchased for the purpose, the first to serve a multi-municipal region, and only the second outside of the capital, as far as the information suggests.
The landfill is the big success, smaller waste programme successes include intense capacity development that has resulted in the region of les Palmes having a critical mass of solid waste specialists, and also having supported the city of Léogâne to have the first waste collection paid for by users. At the moment the payment rate remains low, but the users are enthusaistic. Other municipalities are following in the footsteps of Léogâne, but more slowly: several will have collection before the project ends.
The Haitian solid waste professionals and VNGI project co-ordinator Rachel Savain went on a study visit to Costa Rica in August, hosted by WASTE partner ACEPESA. In Costa Rica, the Haitian team saw public and private landfills, waste collection, recycling and composting centres, an e-waste processing facility, a PET packaging MRF (materials recovery facility), paper and glass mills, and both integrated and separate collection.
This trip was a big success, and confirms one of the founding principles of WASTE, south-south information transfer works better than North-South. Bringing Haitians to Costa Rica was effective because they are in the same climate and culture zone (in spite of language differences), and many of the companies visited in Costa Rica showed interest to work in Haiti. Launay Louis, the DATIP project co-ordinator, is enthusiastic about “doing business” in recycling, a great exit strategy for the programme.