History of International Action

Mission & Objectives

International Action is a grassroots, community based non-profit whose mission is to prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses through access to clean, safe drinking water.

Founded by Lindsay Mattison and Youngmin Chang in 2005, International Action’s objective is to build the foundation for sustainable health in Haiti through access to safe drinking water.  We seek to eliminate the widespread and devastating transmission of water-borne illnesses, such as cholera, hepatitis, chronic diarrhea, and typhoid, by installing affordable and effective chlorine water treatment devices in community water tanks, schools, and health clinics throughout Haiti.  Working with local community leadership, we provide the tools and training to maintain the water systems and empower the people to control and sustain their access to clean water.

In conjunction with our clean water projects, International Action also works to counteract the devastating effects of waterborne illnesses by donating de-worming medication and vitamin A to local schools and clinics within the regions we serve.

In 2014, International Action will embark on a significant new chapter to expand our successful model in Haiti and provide a sustainable source of clean water through the launch of our Chlorine Distribution Network in Port-au-Prince.

History

Timeline

  • December 2005:  Lindsay and Youngmin travel to Haiti and saw the extreme poverty and lack of event a basic sewage and water treatment system, even in the capital of Port-au Prince.  Moved by the beauty of the country and its people, as well as with the great need they saw there, the pair launched International Action to bring clean water to Haiti.
  • May 2006:  International Action organizes its first training workshop on clean water, sanitation, and the simple process of installing chlorinators to clean water of harmful bacteria.  Fred Stottlemyer, an associate of Lindsay’s who created a pioneering low cost, simple, and highly effective chlorinator that was very successful in other developing countries with similar challenges, such as Honduras, led the training.  After the training, IA distributed its first 25 chlorinators and buckets of chlorine tablets to the international and local organizations in attendance.
  • October 2007:  IA hires Dalebrun Esther, an attendee at the workshop, as the Country Program Director in Haiti.  As a former employee of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan water agency and general coordinator of Kokapop, an association of presidents of poor neighborhoods in Haiti, Dalebrun has extensive experience in hydraulic engineering, as well as with community organizing, in Haiti.  .
  • May 8, 2006:  IA installs its first chlorinator in Jalousie, a shantytown with six water kiosks but no sanitation methods.  Today that single chlorinator serves 25,000 residents.
  • May 2008:  International Action reaches its 300,000 mark with number of people served
  • June 2009:  IA reaches its 500,000 people served per day mark
  • January 12, 2010:  A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti, damaging over 70% of IA’s installed clean water stations and leaving catastrophic devastation in Port-au-Prince. 
  • January 13, 2010:  IA begins delivering water to the hardest hit areas using a 325 gallon water tank on a pick-up truck.  Realizing IA possessed the only GPS coordinate data on the community water tanks and kiosks, Lindsay and Youngmin reach out to share the information with aid organizations (USAID, US Army Corps of Engineers, World Health Organization, Clinton Global Initiative, and many others) to aid the relief efforts.
  • January 20, 2010:  IA buys a commercial water truck to deliver water to disaster areas in order to reach hundreds of thousands of victims with disinfected drinking water.  Days later, water trucking was adopted as the primary way of delivering clean water by many organizations, including the International Red Cross.
  • February 2010:  IA develops and ships sixty eight large 2,000 gallon water tanks equipped with chlorinators and two hundred 150 gallon tanks for schools and other small but vital locations to aid in the reconstruction efforts.
  • August 2009:  IA delivers its first shipment of de-worming medication (Albendazole) to 257,600 people
  • June 2010:  IA begins reconstruction of kiosks and chlorinator units damaged in the earthquake
  • October 2011:  IA partners with Vitamin Angels, a medical non-profit working to combat malnutrition in the developing world, and delivers its first shipments of Vitamin A to Haitian schools and clinics in Port-au-Prince
  • July 2012: The first community survey on a sustainable chlorine distribution system is completed and the Chlorine Distribution Bank is developed

International Action Today

To date, the team has replaced or repaired all chlorinators and water tanks damaged in the earthquake. International Action now serves over 300,000 Haitians each day. Our focus for the future is to build a sustainable system of chlorine distribution that will empower the communities we serve to control their access to clean, life-saving water for many years to come. We believe our model can be replicated in other developing nations with decentralized water systems and that chlorinator disinfection will become a standard in water development programs, along with water access and water storage.

Learn more about our work.

Read more of International Action's history.