Document Type

Original Research


This study investigates differences in men's and women's access to water and sanitation in Leogane, Haiti (population -300,000), a town situated at the epicenter of the January 2010 earthquake. While research suggests that women's water and sanitation access is crucial to health, security, and equity in post-disaster situations, there are a number of limitations to current participa­tory approaches in post-disaster reconstruction. Underlining the social impor­tance of water access in Haiti were reports citing a Jack of potable water and sanitation as one factor contributing to the spread of cholera, which was intro­duced by UN peacekeepers aher the earthquake. Limited access to water and sanitation facilities was also reported as a factor in the lack of security for women and children in the internally displaced persons camps. The results of this NSF-RAPID study are presented pertaining to gender issues in the context of post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction efforts in Haiti. We ask specifically how gender dimensions can be integrated into community-based participatory processes of water and sanitation planning, which face many challenges in post-disaster situations. We conclude that more robust participatory processes that include women and other marginalized groups in planning and decision ­making can be used to elicit and support local knowledge, practices and preferences, ultimately leading to more appropriate infrastructure systems that will be more socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable.