Clean water for hundreds in Haiti thanks to WaterStep, Kentucky State University project

Nonprofit organization WaterStep has completed a one-and-a-half-year project with Kentucky State University's Agricultural Department that provided safe drinking water to hundreds of people in Haiti...

LOUISVILLE, KY, Aug. 29, 2012 -- WaterStep, a nonprofit organization that works to save lives at risk from waterborne illness around the world, has completed a one-and-a-half-year project with Kentucky State University's Agricultural Department that provided safe drinking water to hundreds of people in Haiti.

Students from Kentucky State University's Cooperative Extension Program collected more than 7,000 pounds of new and used shoes from the January of 2011 to July of 2012 to donate to WaterStep's shoe program, which is the organization's primary source of funding. After collecting the shoes from various drop boxes distributed throughout the campus and the City of Frankfort, students then sorted and delivered the shoes to WaterStep officials, who sold them to an exporter at the beginning of August.

The money raised from the sale of the shoes was enough to fund WaterStep's trip to Haiti to complete the installation of a dual tank system in Mirebalais and a new mini water treatment plant in Poulie. The dual tank system, which provides safe drinking water for the villages' 350 people, put an end to the city-wide diarrhea problem. The mini water treatment plant in Poulie provided the city with two 500-gallon tanks and has helped doctors successfully treat patients suffering from the cholera epidemic. Not only were safe, sustainable water systems installed in these two Haitian cities, but villagers were also trained on how to diagnose their water problems, operate the purification systems, and to implement effective health and hygiene practices.

"Had it not been for the dedication and hard work of the Kentucky State University students, the important work in Haiti would not have been able to happen," says Dee Dee Hurt, WaterStep's Shoe Program Director. "These kids really made a difference and should be very proud that they have saved many lives." The students and administrators have committed to a new project with WaterStep starting this Fall.

For more information about WaterStep and its shoe program, please visit

About Kentucky State University
Kentucky State University is a historically black, liberal arts, Land Grant university located in Frankfort, Kentucky. Kentucky State University's College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems offers a baccalaureate degree program in Agriculture, Food, and Environment (AFE) with options in Agricultural Systems, Food Systems, Environmental Systems, and Aquaculture Systems. Using an interdisciplinary approach, students develop a broad understanding of relationships between agricultural systems, food safety, and the environment. Graduates are trained for jobs and graduate school opportunities in these growth areas in the U.S. economy. Graduates of a the AFE Degree Option in Agricultural Systems learn the science behind the practical applications, discover real-world solutions, collaborate with cutting-edge industries, and benefit from greater faculty interaction in small classes. For more information, visit

About WaterStep
WaterStep is a Louisville-based 501(c)(3) organization that provides solutions to the root causes of waterborne illness through an approach that combines unparalleled training and readily-available technology to empower self-sufficiency for people in crisis around the world. WaterStep is currently working to establish training centers in India, Costa Rica, and Haiti. To learn more, call (502) 568-6342 or visit


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