Over 4,400 volunteers have served in the Dominican Republic. According to CNN's Mariano Castillo, three former Peace Corps/Dominican Republic Country Directors and 560 former volunteers have sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that the United States suspend military aid to the Dominican government over human rights abuses and a crackdown on Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent. This high level advocacy from former volunteers shows how connected they remain to the country in which they served, and their concern for the human rights of all people living within its borders. The full article follows.
Encite Capital is a new non-profit organization with the objective of supporting small business development in Haiti with an emphasis on agribusiness, manufacturing, and alternative energy. The official launch party will be held on July 25th from 6-8pm at the Hillyer Gallery in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington DC. To learn more about Encite Capital, check out their website or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. More information follows.
“Are you a Missionary? What is Your Religion?” Two common enough questions when Haitians are getting to know foreigners. Haiti is a religious country and even the smallest villages have multiple churches if not a library or a clinic. While every imaginable denomination has a presence in Haiti, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Vodoun form an uneasy trinity. Haitian Vodoun is a vibrant, fascinating religion. One need not be a Vodouisant to experience it, appreciate it, and learn from it.
The Haiti Innovation website has come a long way over the past five years. However, there is still much to do and we want you to invite you to be a part of the team. More specifically, we need a few good writers. You don't have to be a professional journalist, just someone with a passion for Haiti, an understanding of Haitian development issues, and a willingness to learn and share. If you are interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When preparing to return to the US from my Peace Corps experience in Haiti, I was told don’t be surprised when someone asks you to describe this life changing experience, after 5 minutes don’t be surprised when they’re no longer listening. This was some great advice and so now when people ask me, “What’s Haiti like?” I find myself inevitably doing two things; first launching into curt clichés, ‘poorest country in the western hemisphere’, ‘greatest nightmare on earth’, ‘surrealism has a country’, or whatever rant I’m on that day or week but regardless I find myself always adding "...but it’s still a Caribbean island." To me that means there are still paradisiacal destinations to be found and indulge in here, but mostly for the adventurous.
While speaking at the Haitian Unity Diaspora Congress, Acting USAID Administrator Alonso Fulgham announced the launch of the Haitian Diaspora Marketplace, a partnership between USAID and Haiti's Sogebank Foundation that will provide $2 million in resources to support investments by members of the Diaspora with small and medium enterprises in Haiti. Fulgham served from 1984-1986 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Port-au-Prince, where he worked with the Government and local groups on export promotion. More on his remarks here and the Haitian Diaspora Marketplace Press Release is copied below.