Walk aims to provide clean water for Haiti

In conjunction with Penn’s Year of Water and in recognition of World Day for Water, Penn’s School of Nursing is sponsoring a 5K Walk for Water for Haiti on Sunday, March 20, from 9 to 11 a.m. on campus. The walk is being supported and organized by the Penn Nursing Global Health Affairs Office, the Penn chapter of nursing honor society Sigma Theta Tau Xi and the Office of the Provost, with the assistance of nurses at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dependable access to clean water has been a chronic problem in Haiti, says Jeannie Cimiotti, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, but the situation grew into a crisis following the devastating earthquake of 2010.

“The water situation was horrible before the earthquake, and now it is horrendous,” Cimiotti says. “Even in the health care facilities, the clinics, nurses are using common basins to wash their hands. There is no water for hygiene in the clinics and nursing schools.”

Walkers will help raise funds that will go toward purchasing and installing water filtration systems in a national nursing school and its affiliated clinics in the city of Port-au-Prince. Cimiotti says the organizers of the walk hope to raise $20,000 through registration fees and sponsorships.

Participants will walk a 3.1-mile route that will take them from Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce St., around campus and back to Houston Hall. To register, go to the walk’s website.

Individual adult registration costs $25; for children under 12, registration is $10; a family of two adults and two children can register for $60 and a team of five individuals can register for $100.

Buckets of water will be available for walkers who wish to carry them in solidarity with Haitian women who often must walk long distances for clean water.

For more information, or to volunteer to help with the walk, contact Sara Holland at Sara.Holland@uphs.upenn.edu or Amy Kim at Amy.Kim@uphs.upenn.edu. Schools or organizations wishing to partner with Penn Nursing should contact Cimiotti at jcimiott@nursing.upenn.edu.

Walk aims to provide clean water for Haiti