In mid-February, Professor Margaret Satterthwaite and Global Justice Clinic (GJC) students Mimi Powell (2017) and Ijeamaka Obasi (2017) joined GJC alum and Haiti Program Attorney Ellie Happel (2011) for five days in northern Haiti. The GJC team conducted a collaborative workshop on the right to water with leaders from a community affected by gold mining exploration. The goals of the workshop were to pilot and improve a draft household water survey, to discuss what the right to water means from the perspective of community residents and international law, and to build relationships with community leaders that will facilitate successful survey administration over the summer of 2016. Ijeamaka Obasi explained, “We worked with community members to explore and identify the elements of the right to water in their lived experience.”
In addition, the GJC team gathered GPS data and other information necessary to make decisions about survey methodology, including options for randomization and determining the geographic scope of the survey. The GJC team conducted all activities in close partnership with the Kolektif Jistis Min (Justice in Mining Collective or KJM). GJC and KJM have worked together for the past three years, though each retains its independence.
The household survey is one component of a baseline study on water in communities affected by mining activities. The Clinic believes that communities will be better positioned to promote their interests and defend their right to water with data collected through a community-responsive, independent study. Applying rigorous standards for data collection and analysis, GJC is working in partnership with communities to research, document, and analyze the status of the enjoyment of right to water in communities before mineral exploitation begins.
For more information about the GJC’s work in Haiti, click here.