A Haitian Slum Gets a Makeover - But Now What?

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, August 12, 2016.

The Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles has covered the re-development of the Fort National neighborhood in Port au Prince. This project required extensive consultations with residents, community leaders, and gang members to even begin. Port au Prince, with its ever-growing population, has no shortage of neighborhoods where electricity, water, and common spaces were an afterthought.  Long term planning that incentivizes multi-level housing and more orderly layouts could help make these neighborhoods more livable over time.  Read more »

Lakou Mizik Entertians a Delayed Flight with Impromptu Concert

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, July 29, 2016.

In Haiti, most people travel around in tap-taps - pick up trucks that cram people, both sitting and standing, into the back.  It can be crowded and uncomfortable but talking, telling stories, and sharing jokes makes the time go by. I thought about this when Lonely Planet posted a story about Lakou Mizik being on a flight that was delayed six hours. The band jumped up and gave an impromptu concert. Check out the video and try to catch Lakou Mizik sometime.  More information about the band follows.   Read more »

Haiti Downgraded to Tier III in 2016 Human Trafficking Report

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, July 1, 2016.

Haiti was downgraded to Tier III status in the U.S State Department's 2016 Human Trafficking Report.  This means it neither complies with minimum standards in prevention and response nor has it made significant progress to do so.  What Haiti needs to do to improve, including by strengthening the justice system, is quite clear although political instability (as in previous years) is an obstacle to progress. The Haiti portion of the report follows. Read more »

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Launches Five Year Program in Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Wednesday, June 29, 2016.

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership hosted by the UN Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.  At present, 93% of Haitian households cook with wood fuels - a major, ongoing driver of deforestation. The Alliance has launched a five year plan to improve access to clean cooking alternatives in Haiti. If you have partners or staff interested in working with them, contact information follows.   Read more »

Female Entrepeneur is a "Professor of Toilet Paper" in Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Saturday, June 25, 2016.

Toilet paper is something that it is not adequately appreciated until one does not have it - and forty percent of Haitians do not. Myrtha Vilbon, with support from USAID, has grown her toilet paper production facility significantly. While Haiti is not yet an easy place to do business, she has done well, with over 100 employees (70 of them women) in her factory. The full article by the Miami Herald's Jacqueline Charles follows.  Read more »

Haitian Ministry of Health Launches New HIV/AIDS Campaign

By Bryan Schaaf on Saturday, June 25, 2016.

The Haitian Ministry of Health and its partners have launched a new HIV/AIDS campaign focused on raising awareness, rapid testing, and treatment.  With the support of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria and other donors, Haitians can be tested and treated for free.  Stigma and discrimination, especially against women and members of the LGBT community, remain challenges.  Courtesy of AFP, more information about the campaign follows. Read more »

Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.

Below is an article from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Haiti. While Haiti is one of only four countries in the Americas where LF is found, progress is being made toward elimination.  Many partners are working together to that end including the Haitian Ministry of Health, the CDC, USAID, IMA World Health, the University of Notre Dame, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  More information follows.     Read more »

Haiti's Centre d'Art Is Being Reinvented

By Bryan Schaaf on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.
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Art is perhaps Haiti’s only inexhaustible resource. Generations of artists have carried on Haiti’s artistic traditions although political instability limited opportunities available to them. Louise Perrichon and Pascale Monnin are now leading an effort to recreate the Centre d’Art in Port au Prince which was destroyed in the earthquake.  Its mission will remain the same – to find, mentor, and promote young Haitian artists. David McFadeen's full article follows.  Learn how to get involved at the Centre d’Art website (in both French and English).  Read more »

Timberland Explores Feasibility of Organic Cotton Production in Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

Timberland has made significant investments in reforestation in Haiti, which you can learn about in the documentary "Kombit: The Cooperative". Timberland's persistence and partnerships have resulted in five million trees (many of them fruit-bearing) being planted.   According to The Guardian, Timberland is also supporting a feasibility study to determine if Haiti could become a significant producer of organic cotton. Cotton production is not without its challenges and the jury is still out as to whether it is a crop that makes sense for Haiti. The full article follows below.   Read more »

Radio in Haiti is the Heartbeat of Communities

By Bryan Schaaf on Monday, April 25, 2016.
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Finding a television in rural Haiti is not easy. Finding something worth watching is even harder.  Yet even the most rural village has radio coverage.  Radio is critical for staying connected - to the news, happenings in Port au Prince, to political dialogue, and to the outcomes of soccer games when favored teams are playing. Miami Herald writer Carmen Cuesta Roca notes below that legislation has been drafted to recognize and legalize community radio stations.  This would create a more welcoming environment for community radio although the challenge of financial sustainability remains.