Recovery and Education in Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Saturday, July 31, 2010.

In the weeks to come, I’ll provide updates on recovery efforts in Haiti sector by sector.  Why start with education?  After an emergency or a natural disaster, schools provide an opportunity to protect children physically and psychologically.  It re-establishes a sense of routine, stability, and above all, hope for a better future.  Technical and vocational education will be critical for developing a new generation of skilled workers and leaders. Without educational reform, Haiti’s recovery and long term development will be held back.

 

When it comes to leadership, Haiti may be on life support but it is still a sovereign country.  That means that the Haitian government, through the Ministry of Education (MoE) is ultimately responsible for the education of its citizens.  However, most would agree that the Ministry of Education has not had the capacity and resources to be a good steward of services.  According to the Haitian Constitution, children have a right to an education.  The reality is that there is not a strong network of public schools throughout the country.  Enrolling in those that exist requires purchase of uniforms and books.  Private organizations and countless faith based groups have tried to fill the gap one school at a time.  Approximately ninety percent of all schools in Haiti today are non public and fee-paying.  Many earthquake affected families who have lost homes and livelihoods are not able to pay these fees anymore.

 

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the majority of Haitians live in and around cities, of which Port au Prince is by far the largest.  Although opportunities exist for primary and secondary education throughout Haiti, a university education largely depends on moving to Port au Prince.  The only rural university in Haiti is Fondwa, an innovative (but perpetually cash-strapped) institution devoted to service learning in rural areas.  Given the number of schools in and around Port au Prince, it is not surprising that 4,992 schools were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake.  According to MINUSTAH, this represents 23% of all schools in Haiti.  1,527 educational personnel are documented as having died during and after the earthquake.  This is not an easy context within which to reform a fragmented education system.  If you are interested in learning more about education in emergencies, take a look at the Interagency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Guidelines.

 

Haiti had one of the worst educational systems in the Americas prior the earthquake.  The lack of a human resources strategy remains a fundamental issue.  Teachers often go several months without being paid.  Many of the best and the brightest seek opportunities outside of the education sector if not out of the country entirely.  Pedagogy is another complication.  Education for many Haitian students means rote memorization, for the most part in a language that they (and their teachers) do not fully understand.  Social problems are not discussed and critical thinking is not encouraged.  The Socratic Method, with few exceptions, is not applied.  For better or worse, Haiti inherited a French model of education.  While education in France has changed a great deal over the past 200 years, in Haiti it has not.  Observing a class in a Haitian school sometimes feels like travelling back in time.

 

A strong educational system requires a strong (read: effective and accountable) MoE.   It needs to provide leadership not just in Port au Prince but throughout the country.  This requires setting priorities, developing plans, and articulating them to the Haitian civil society and to donors.  Traditionally, many donors have contributed money for schools but comparatively few have focused on building the capacity of the MoE.  This may change. UNICEF notes that several donors recently visited Haiti and agreed on the importance of: (1) Strengthening the regulatory role of the Government in the Education sector; (2) Developing public-private partnerships to expand access to education for all children; and (3) reform of governance systems within the education sector to ensure quality services.

 

Building the capacity of the MoE is going to be a long-term process.  It could be sped up to a certain extent by bringing in talent from the Diaspora and consultants from countries with a strong track record in education.  In the meantime, UNICEF notes schools that were not affected by the earthquake recently held end of year exams.  Classes are continuing in affected areas and end of year exams will take place in early August.  A special curriculum was developed for the many students who had their education interrupted to ensure they would not have to repeat their studies.  UNICEF is also providing children and teachers with supplies and learning materials.  These distributions will take place throughout the county until October when the next school year begins.  UNICEF is setting in place a summer school program targeting adolescents and children above primary-school age in sixty schools.  Pending approval by the MoE,  UNICEF’s strategy is to expand semi-permanent schools in order to ensure there are enough classrooms to enable attendance in school in October.  The first semi-permanent school was inaugurated on the site of the Ecole Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours in Bel-Air. Next, UNICEF would then transform temporary structures into more durable semi-permanent schools.  Finally, the structues would be upgraded to permanent schools.

 

Until the MoE can assume a leadership role, the heavy lifting falls upon the members of the Education Cluster in Haiti.  Essentially, the Cluster Approach is a model for responding to natural disasters and conflicts that is intended to be more transparent, accountable and predictable.  When in place, different UN organizations assume responsibility (ideally with or under the affected government) to coordinate actors in key sectors.  The World Health Organization (WHO) usually coordinate health actors, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) coordinators early recovery activities, the World Food Program (WFP) coordinates food assistance and so on.  UNICEF and Save the Children co-chair the education cluster globally and in Haiti.

 

There are 100 education cluster partners operating in Port au Prince, Leogane, Jacmel, and Ti Goave.  Examples include World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, the Digicel Foundation, and local actors.  Partners have also established working groups focused on the development of teacher training, psycho-social support, curriculum, early childhood development, disaster risk reduction, contingency planning and reconstruction.

 

According to UNICEF, Education Cluster partners have provided to support to 80% of the remaining schools in earthquake affected areas.  Over 200,000 learners have been provided with basic education materials and 1,664 school tents have been installed to provide temporary learning spaces for 200,000 students.  Over 2,300 teachers and 3,000 education personnel have been trained, including on psychosocial support and 53,000 pre-schoolers have been provided with learning and recreation materials.  Cluster partners are supporting the MoE to develop norms and standards for school reconstruction, a framework for teacher training on psychosocial support and training on contingency planning.  They are also working with the MoE to help it assume management of the Education Cluster database (Education Management Information System) on affected schools so that it can monitor response activities and outstanding needs.

 

Significant challenges remain.  Rubble will need to be removed from schools that were damaged or destroyed.  Schools being established at relocation sites need to be accredited by the Haitian government.  Shelter solutions are needed for the displaced who are living on school property because they have nowhere else to go.  UNICEF notes the MoE will need to work with Civil Protection units on school safety and contingency planning as schools are often the only emergency shelters available to vulnerable communities.  Provinces need Universities so that talented youth do not feel they need to come to Port au Prince for higher education. The Dominican Republic has said they will build one university and perhaps other countries will follow suit.   Rebuilding the MoE outside of Port au Prince would demonstrate a commitment to decentralization.  Perhaps the Ministry of Education could be placed in the Grande Anse, the Ministry of Culture in Jacmel, the Ministry of Tourism in Cap Haitian, the Ministry of Agriculture in the Aritbonite Valley and so on.

 

There are a few stand out organizations and schools in Haiti.  FOKAL establishes libraries throughout Haiti and teaches students the art of debating.  The Digicel Foundation has been constructing schools throughout the country.  Another good organization is the Haitian Education and Leadership Project (HELP), which makes available scholarships for high performing students who would not otherwise have had a chance at a higher education.  The Louverture Cleary School in Carrefour is a respected institution that accept students based on their performance and not on their ability to pay.  The alumni from both organizations, often from some of the worst parts of Port au Prince, have gone on to become doctors, nurses, engineers, and lawyers.  These programs clearly demonstrate that if given the opportunity, Haitian youth can become the new generation of leaders that communities, the private sector, and the government sorely need.

 

I have a long wish list for improving the educational system in Haiti.  One would be expensive, the other would not cost a dime.  The costly wish is for a scaling up of private/public partnerships so that talented youth can have access to higher education provided that they work for two years in under-served communities upon the completion of their studies.  The cost-free wish is for the formation of parent teacher associations.  Haitian parents make great sacrifices to put their children into school, yet individually they lack input into how schools are managed and their children are tought.  Collectively, they could have a voice in shaping the education of their children.

 

On a side note, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is based in Paris, has created a program through which French students can send books to the informal settlements (tent cities) in Port au Prince. Libraries are few and far between and books (outside of a few texts that many schools use) can be hard to come by.  There is a proverb that says that a person’s first language is the language of the heart, and the second is the language of the mind.  It makes me wish that Haitians had access to more literature in Kreyol, and that students could be educated in the language that they really know.  Even today, there are so many sensitivities about French.  “Do you speak French?” is often interpreted as “Are you an intelligent person?”  Very few people will admit to not speaking French.  A young Haitian student, perhaps five years old, once asked if I knew French.  When I said that I did not, he grinned and replied, “That means I’m smarter than you!!”  I’m not suggesting Haitians shouldn’t learn other languages, just that the primary language of instruction should be the language that they know.  As second languages, English or Spanish will open up many more opportunities than French.  Haiti is not a European country.  It is a Caribbean country in the Americas whose neighbors speak Spanish and English.  The French speaking countries in the Caribbean have minimal ties with Haiti.  France's relationship with Haiti has improved as of late but is often strained.

 

Normally, a good place to follow education efforts in Haiti would be the One Response Site.  When I tried to access it today, it was down for maintenance.  Short of that, UNICEF and Reliefweb are the best sources of information.  If you have thoughts on how the Haitian educational system might be strengthened, please feel free to post your ideas in the comments section.

 

Thanks,
Bryan

 

*Photo Courtesy of Panorama

 

Haitian Pres and US Ambassador Inaugarate School in Carcol

4/11/2014
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US Ambassador to Haiti, recently inaugurated the S&H Primary School in Caracol in northern Haiti, donated by a Korean company SAE-A, the anchor tenant at the nearby Industrial Park. The K-Grade 4 school is located in the Village La Difference de Caracol, a new settlement of 750 homes funded by USAID for families affected by the 2010 earthquake and includes a two-year $1.5 million community development support program managed by Global Communities. EPPLS, the Government of Haiti's social housing agency, is managing the new settlement and ensuring that the community, which also hosts some small restaurants, shops, and a police depot, becomes resilient, productive and sustainable. School officials said the inauguration of the primary school on March 26 signifies the dedication to educating the new community's children and the determination that they have access to learning environments that are not merely educational, but also challenging and fun.
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At the inauguration, Ambassador White planted a symbolic tree near a block of the new homes – many of which were adorned with decorations for the festive occasion – and applauded the efforts of the members of the new post-earthquake settlement for helping to advance the region in positive ways. With its shiny new bathrooms and Pele-worthy soccer field, donated by one of the contractors of the housing development, the school stands as a shining example of "Building Back Better" for a hopeful new community. “This school is important because it’s helping to grow this part of the north into a vibrant, economically and socially important community, because, even before the earthquake, this part of Haiti faced many challenges, but now the economic pieces are coming together,” Ambassador White said. Ambassador White went on to say that whenever she speaks with parents, they mention that their top priority is education. “This little school really is the model of what we’d like to see across Haiti," she said.

Nutrition for Education (WFP - 3/5/2014)

On International School Meals Day staff at the Joseph et Bertha Wigfall School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti reflect on the importance of nutrition for education. The courtyard of the Joseph et Bertha Wigfall School in Port-au-Prince is bustling with playground activity. It is 10 o’clock and school administrator Nicolas Sulla, 31, is preparing the kitchen and the classrooms for meal time. In a school with over 600 students this is no easy task. One of Nicolas' many duties is the daily running of the school canteen; perhaps the job most close to his heart. He explains that he moved from Jeremie in the South of the country to Port-au-Price when he was 9 years old to live with his aunt. That year he enrolled at Joseph et Bertha Wigfall, the same school where he works today. “I remember receiving school meals here all those years ago.” He says, “Many times I wouldn’t eat until I came to school, and I remember as a child thinking about food all the time. The school meals enabled me to concentrate on my studies and when I completed my professional education in 2005 I came back to my school to work. Personally, I know how firsthand how important school meals are to the children. Professionally I know how important they are for education in Haiti.”
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The Joseph et Bertha Wigfall School in Port-au-Prince is one of the many schools in Haiti that benefits from the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program that provided food to more than 153,000 school children in Haiti during the 2012/2013 school year. Contributions like this provide much needed food to the national school meals programme but the continuity of this support also means that WFP can support the government to implement nutrition and awareness programmes. Today, in more than 2000 schools across Haiti, children are healthier and getting more out of their schools meals thanks to a nation-wide deworming initiative. This is a crucial step to ensure that children in Haiti are healthy and can draw the nutritional benefits of the food they receive. “We have a proverb in Haiti”, explains Danielle Selicour, the headmistress of the Joseph et Bertha Wigfall School, “‘Sak vid pa kanpe’, which means an empty sack cannot stand up. By this we mean that when your stomach is empty you are not able to do anything. I have worked at this school for over 36 years and we have been receiving WFP school meals for as long as I can remember. But it is not just the food that is important; it is also the health of the school children. The parents here are really happy because for the first time since the earthquake we are also giving deworming medications. This improves the children’s health as well as providing them with a hot meal at school.”
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The nationwide de-worming campaign is the first step of a winder initiative to sensitize school teachers, students and parents on the importance of health and nutrition for better learning. The programme, developed with the Ministry of Population and Public Heath and the Ministry for Education, aims to use the schools meals programme as an avenue to fight nutritional deficiencies such as anemia and raise awareness of good hygiene and nutritional practices. On the 6th of March, International School Meals Day, WFP Haiti wishes to thank our donors for supporting the Haitian government to provide a hot meal to 685,000 school children during the school year.

Haiti to Improve Children's Education With IDB Grants (12/6/12)

Project will focus on improving education access and quality as part of the Haitian Education Plan 2010 - 2015 for as many as 360,000 children Haiti will improve education for as many as 360,000 children from preschool through grade 9 with a $50 million grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The grant will fund the building of new schools, tuition-free primary education, student health programs, and strengthen the Ministry of Education and Professional Training (MENFP) and its executing agencies. Twenty new public schools will be built, benefitting 8,200 children from preschool through grade 9. When completed, these schools will include equipped libraries, sanitary facilities, a school canteen, energy and water systems, and be made accessible to disabled children. The grant will also subsidize education expenses for 35,000 children attending primary non-public schools for two school years. The IDB contribution adds resources to an existing tuition waiver program, which is co-financed by the government of Haiti, the Caribbean Development Bank, CIDA, the Global Partnership for Education, and the World Bank. The program is expected to increase retention and contribute to Haiti’s goal of providing free and universal education to all 6 to 12 year olds by 2015. In addition the $50 million will fund bi-annual deworming campaigns in schools for 300,000 children and support 100 schools which enroll 15,000 children in achieving a “Hygiene Friendly” certification. School deworming is a simple and inexpensive yet highly cost-effective intervention. Hygiene Friendly certified schools will contribute to children’s health through prevention of water-borne diseases and promotion of good hygienic practices. Another component is technical assistance to the Ministry of Education to further develop and structure interventions aimed at expanding literacy skills and strengthening the institutional capacity of the MENFP to implement its 2010-2015 Education Plan and regulate non-public schools. This will include reconstruction of MENFP offices, upgrading of information systems, and procedures for school accreditation.

Library Project Opens Doors and Minds (11/19/2012)

UNICEF
By Thomas Nybo
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Sadrac Neolin, 13, lives in the most disadvantaged and dangerous slum in Port-au-Prince. The sounds of gunshots and police sirens in Cité Soleil have been a staple of his childhood. Like most of his neighbours, Sadrac has no running water or electricity. “I’m not living so good, I’m not living so bad,” he tells a visitor. “Why I am not living so good? It is because most days there are shootings in the neighbourhood. And I come from a very poor family. My family is vulnerable. So I’m not so good, not so bad.” One development about which Sadrac is happy is the project Story Box. UNICEF, in partnership with Libraries Without Borders, is sending a library of 100 books, in French and Haitian Creole, to vulnerable neighbourhoods like Sadrac’s. This year, 300 mobile libraries have been distributed. Child development specialists and librarians have carefully selected the books to fit within the context of Haiti, and to stimulate creativity and imagination.
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Ronald Jean Mary is one of the 90 community workers who have been trained in how best to use the story box. “This programme is important, especially in this neighbourhood, because children here are disconnected from society,” he says. “They have been totally disconnected from the world.” Connecting children to the country, and to the world. Story Box is a psycho-social programme designed to promote emotional, cognitive and social development of children and adolescents. Its aim is to complement, not replace, formal education in schools. Children like Sadrac come to the mobile library on weekends and during holidays from school. UNICEF is supporting 120 child protection community-based organizations that are working together to make it a success. “This programme is now connecting the children to the rest of the country, and even the rest of the world,” says Mr. Mary. “Before, these children had no access to books. But now, they have access to plenty of books, they like reading – and they are really enjoying the programme.”
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Since the programme began here, Sadrac says that, for the first time, he’s thinking beyond the borders of Cité Soleil. “I would like to become an engineer – first, to help my country, but also, to help my family,” he says. Many of the children in Sadrac’s neighbourhood don’t know how to read, so a programme like this one can open up a world of opportunity, he says. “Reading is important because, once you know how to read, you can become a great person in the future,” he says. “If you can’t read around here, you might become a gang member, get a gun and do bad things. But if you learn to read, you can educate yourself, and even become the president in the future.”

USAID Launches New Early Grade Reading Project in Haiti

10/16/2012
US Agency for International Development
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The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), today launched a project to promote early grade reading in Haiti. The initiative, Tout Timoun Ap Li (TOTAL), which means “All Children Reading,” will support the Government of Haiti’s Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) efforts to increase the number of young children reading. The TOTAL project is in response to USAID’s worldwide Education Strategy, which calls for 100 million children to be reading by 2015. TOTAL will benefit more than 28,000 Haitian children in grades 1-3 by developing materials and curricula that allow them to more easily learn how to read. This program will incorporate evidence-based curricula into 300 schools in Haiti and will meet international standards for best practice literacy instruction. The materials will be relevant to Haiti’s culture and will respond to children’s educational needs. TOTAL will also train more than 900 teachers to provide quality reading instruction and incorporate the community to help and support reading. Under the leadership of MENFP, USAID is supporting coordination of education activities among donors and key stakeholders to contribute to a national movement to achieve our shared goal.
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Surveys indicate that approximately 35 percent of Haitian youth are illiterate, and that the average Haitian child spends less than four years in school. Education is critical to broad-based economic growth, is required for healthy democratic practices, and enables people to make smarter choices affecting health and household welfare. Reading serves as the foundation for learning. Children who do not learn to read at an early age will more likely make limited educational progress throughout their lives. As Loretta Garden, the USAID Haiti Education Office Chief, emphasized in her speech: “Reading should not be a privilege but a right for every child. USAID and all its partners are responsible to develop innovative materials as well as effective methodology, under the leadership of the Ministry of Education. We must also train the teachers who are the light leading our children to a brighter future.” Under Haitian President Michel Martelly, the MENFP is focusing on universal education – providing opportunities to learn for all Haitian children. The U.S. Government looks forward to continued collaboration throughout this school year, which has been named the “Year of Reading” by the Ministry of Education. USAID’s education program also includes additional literacy initiatives in Haiti. “All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development,” a worldwide initiative involving USAID, World Vision and AusAID, recently announced winning innovations in its grants competition. Two of the 32 finalists will implement projects in Haiti, including the USAID-supported L’EcoleSupérieure d'Infotronique d'Haïti This project will support primary school teachers to produce digital reading content in Creole and enhance the use of interactive whiteboards.

Haiti PRM Announces Sin Tax to Pay for Education (AP-10/8/2012)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's government wants to raise $100 million for a special education fund by putting additional taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and gambling, the Caribbean nation's prime minister said Monday. In a meeting with The Miami Herald's editorial board, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said the new sin tax would require approval from Parliament. He said the money collected would help build 200 schools, refurbish 2,000 more and train and boost pay for thousands of teachers from primary schools to universities. The proceeds would go into a government fund that already has gotten almost $34 million with taxes on international phone calls and money transfers, the latter making up about a quarter of Haiti's GDP. A board of directors oversees the fund.
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The effort seeks to boost enrollment. Haiti has about 4.5 million school-age children but only about half were attending school before the 2010 earthquake destroyed or damaged thousands of classrooms. The school year began last week amid a fresh wave of isolated protests in the countryside and capital. Some demonstrators have complained that the government hasn't covered school tuition despite its claims to the contrary, along with what protesters say is a higher cost of living. An adviser to Lamothe, Salim Succar, confirmed the prime minister's statement.

IOM Inaugarates Community Center in Leogane (10/9/2012)

IOM has inaugurated a new community centre in the seaside town of Léogâne, west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The town was levelled by the massive earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. The centre features a media room, modern offices equipped with computers and printers, classrooms and workshop rooms and can accommodate up to 154 people at a time. It will be used by the public for educational and recreational purposes. Funds to build the centre were provided by Community Chest of Korea, an aid organization based in Seoul. Israel's foreign aid programme (IsraAID) developed the concept and contributed a generator and IT equipment for an internet café. The project was implemented by IOM in collaboration with national authorities and community NGOs and associations. "We have high expectations for this community centre. We hope it will drive development in the region, providing viable educational and economic opportunities to the Léogâne community," said IOM Haiti Chief of Mission Gregoire Goodstein. The centre's programmes feature a variety of training courses. There will be professional training, educational and recreational programmes, including French and Creole literacy courses, youth groups, and sports, arts & crafts activities for children and teenagers. Vocational trainings will also be offered in a variety of subjects based on the community occupational needs.
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For more information, please contact Ilaria Lanzoni at IOM Haiti. Email: ilanzoni@iom.int - Tel. +509 4805 7918

Fast Facts on USG Engagement on Education in Haiti (6/28/2012)

Fact Sheet
OFFICE OF THE HAITI SPECIAL COORDINATOR
June 28, 2012
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The Challenge: Lack of access to education remains a key obstacle to social and economic development in Haiti, with less than half of Haitian school-aged children enrolled in primary school and an adult literacy rate of just over 50 percent. As more than 600,000 out-of-school Haitian children and youth are either illiterate or functionally illiterate, a generation of Haitians does not possess the necessary knowledge and skills to enter the labor force. More than 90 percent of primary schools are privately managed by non-governmental organizations, churches, communities, and for-profit operators, with little to no government oversight. Approximately 75 percent of teachers lack adequate training. Annual school expenses account for about 40 percent of income for low-income families, serving as a financial burden for families with children in school. The January 2010 earthquake resulted in damage or destruction to 50 percent of primary and secondary schools, according to the Government of Haiti (GOH).
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USG Strategy: Haitian President Martelly has identified guaranteeing free and universal education as one of the key priorities of his administration. During the fall of 2011, the GOH’s Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) began the rollout of an operational plan to get 1.5 million students in school by 2016, improve curricula, train teachers, and set standards for licensing schools. The U.S. Government (USG) is committed to improving the governance and quality of basic education in Haiti in support of these priorities. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the USG’s education program focuses on improving reading skills in grades 1-3 in our development corridors of Port-au-Prince, St. Marc, and Cap Haitien. USAID will support the development of materials and curricula and train teachers in new effective methods to help children learn to read in Creole and French. USAID will also provide targeted technical assistance to build the capacity of the MENFP to foster public private partnerships and assist in the accreditation of schools.
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Accomplishments: The USG continues to work to improve the quality of and access to education for Haitians. Since the earthquake, we have:
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Constructed more than 600 semi-permanent furnished classrooms, enabling more than 60,000 children to return to school following the earthquake.
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Provided teaching and learning kits to accommodate a double shift of students in each classroom, reaching approximately 60,000 students and 1,200 teachers.
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Increased physical access in 17 primary schools for people with disabilities and provision of inclusive education training to 150 teachers and school principals.
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Trained 935 teachers on pedagogy and student evaluation.
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Trained 145 administrators and other Ministry of Education officials on administration, information system management, and training of trainers.
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Completed vocational training for youth, with 13,000 successfully transitioning to formal school, further vocational training, or other opportunities.

Haiti to Pay Mothers School Incentives by Mobile Phone

5/29/2012
BBC
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The government in Haiti says it will begin transferring cash credits to mothers who send their children to school regularly. Each mother will receive up to $20 (£13) a month and the transfers will be made via mobile phone. The programme, called Ti Manman Cheri, or Dear Little Mother, aims to benefit initially a 100,000 families in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Venezuela is providing $15m (£9.5m) for the first phase of the programme. Other Latin American countries, such as Brazil and Mexico, have adopted schemes that provide benefits to families who keep their children in education. But the Haitian government says this is the first such initiative to use mobile phones for cash transfers. Prime minister Laurent Lamothe said the programme represented "a revolution in the country." It will initially benefit families in four of the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince and should be extended to the rest of the country by the end of the year. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. It suffered huge human and material losses when it was hit by an earthquake in 2010.

1,000 Adolescent Girls to Benefit from Vocational Training

5/9/2012
World Bank
Press Release No:2012/440/LAC
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Today the World Bank launched the Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI) in Haiti. The Initiative is a global public-private partnership aimed at fostering economic independence among 12,000 young girls and young women in eight countries. Through the AGI in Haiti, 1,000 adolescent girls between the ages of 17 and 20 will receive non-traditional vocational training to be provided in a number of selected training centers. The young girls will be trained in areas such as work ethics, self-confidence, and professional conduct. They will also receive a stipend to be paid via a mobile banking system to cover the cost of transport and other costs associated with participation in the training program. After the training they will be offered an internship which will be considered as the first phase of employment. The internship will take into account the needs of the partner employers involved in the initiative. Sheyla Durandisse, Chief of Staff in the Ministry for Women’s Affairs and Women’s Rights, said: “the Haiti Adolescent Girls Initiative contains community, educational, and professional components to address the challenges young girls are facing in Haiti and thus to improve their social and economic conditions.”
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The training will be carried out in poor neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. 500 young girls will be trained in 2012 and 500 in 2013. In Haiti, where people under the age of 30 account for roughly 70 percent of the population, adolescent girls and young women from poor homes have greater difficulties to find a first employment than boys with the same educational level. This is the case in many developing countries. The latest World Development Report indicates that investing in adolescent girls can break the poverty cycle from one generation to the next. In Argentina, for example, income increased significantly and employment rates rose by 9 to 12 percentage points for young girls participating in the Progama Joven. In Peru, the income of young girls participating in the Projoven project rose by 92 percent after 18 months of training. “Vocational training is a key factor for the development of human capital in Haiti. It is crucial to the employment challenges and the country’s growth over the next five years and beyond,” said Alexandre V. Abrantes, the World Bank’s Special Envoy to Haiti.
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The AGI was launched in Liberia in 2008 as part of the World Bank Group’s Gender Action Plan—Gender Equality as Smart Economics— which is aimed at helping adolescent girls make the transition to productive employment. The US$22 million initiative is already under way in Afghanistan, Jordan, Liberia, Nepal, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Rwanda, and South Sudan. The Bank is working with partners including the Nike Foundation and the governments of the following countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Denmark, Jordan, Liberia, Nepal, Norway, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the United Kingdom, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Sweden. The World Bank is also establishing partnerships with other interested public and private sector organizations.
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The World Bank Group committed US$479 million over the first 24 months to Haiti’s reconstruction. This support was provided through new funding, disbursements, private sector support, and debt relief. IDA Donors have allocated US$530 million to Haiti from IDA 16’s Crisis Window for reconstruction. The Interim Strategy Note programmed half of these resources for 2012. With about 10% of pledged aid flows, IDA is one of Haiti’s 5 largest donors.
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Contacts:
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In Washington: Melanie Zipperer: +1 (202) 468-9841, mzipperer@worldbank.org
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In Port-au-Prince: Olivier Puech: +1 (202) 549-0790, opuech@worldbank.org
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For more information on the Adolescent Girls Initiative, visit the gender and development website (http://go.worldbank.org/D1PR18DHX0)
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For more information on World Bank activities in Haiti, visit the website http://www.banquemondiale.org/haiti
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Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldbank
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Be updated via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WorldBankLAC
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For our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/worldbank

help to expand our vocational training to the less fortunate you

Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing you to ask for your help to expand our vocational training to the less fortunate youths in the area of Delmas, Port-au-Prince. Currently, we are providing computer trainings, project management, English learning, accountability to almost 50 students. We provide to students a comfortable learning space with a computer lab and qualified teachers. Your help would help us expanding our trainings to more students in the area. If you feel that you can help us, please contact us at (954) 200-2826 or reply to this e-mail. Please find in attachment pictures of the school and the students.
Best Regards,
Nahum Jean-Louis
Director, Institut Haitien d'Etudes Superieures and Professional Trainings

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Gives Gift of Music to Schools

2/23/2012
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While the UNICEF truck was being unloaded, dozens of heads peered through the narrow windows of the classrooms. The students from Vision Nouvelle School – which was reconstructed by UNICEF after the 2010 earthquake – were curious about the musical instruments slowly emerging from the truck. After some 60 musical instruments had been unloaded, the school principal called students attending music classes to open the boxes, tune and begin to play. Liz Curie Alexandre, 8, was the youngest of the group. Even after receiving permission from the music teacher, she was afraid to open the violin box. Wide eyed, she quietly enjoyed every minute of the unveiling. “I started studying music theory and playing violin two years ago in this school,” Liz recalled. “I loved it since the beginning, and I don’t ever want to leave music.” Nouvelle Vision School, located in Port-au-Prince, is one of three Haitian schools that have just received 220 instruments donated by the Berliner Philharmoniker, which, in 2007, was the first institution to be named an international UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
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“Music is fundamental for children and youth development,” explained Gilbert Buteau, UNICEF Youth and Adolescent Specialist in Haiti. “It is a channel of communication and expression – extremely important, especially for vulnerable children, who don’t have a family support. It is a way out for them.” Fritz Valescot couldn’t agree more. In 1997, he co-founded the Music School Dessaix-Baptiste in the southern city of Jacmel. “We started with 50 students and around 20 instruments,” he recalled. Today, 1,260 people, from 6 to 52 years old, attend the classes; the majority of them don’t pay any fees. “They are orphans, live in residential care centres, are victims of the restavek system or are street children,” he said. “The music gives back their dignity.” “These 75 new instruments from Berliner Philharmoniker will make a huge difference, especially those that we never had before, such as the double horn, the baritone horn or the bassoons,” Mr. Valescot said.
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Back in Port-au-Prince, 14-year-old Astremon Clive Wood is dreaming about playing with a bigger group now that his school doubled its number of musical instruments. “I started playing the cello last year after watching a film in which Jamie Fox plays the same instrument,” he explained. Now, he wants much more from music. “I want to be carried by music and go where it will take me.” He’ll have soon that opportunity. Thanks to the generous donation of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Berliner Philharmoniker, Nouvelle Vision School will hold its first concert in June.

Kellogg Foundation and Concern Partner to Raise Literacy Rates

2/14/2012
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Concern Worldwide will improve the quality of primary education for approximately 2,200 children living in rural and underserved areas in Haiti with the help of a $130,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “Concern is delighted to partner with the Kellogg Foundation in this unique opportunity to scale-up literacy education in one of Haiti’s most economically disadvantaged areas, where school enrollment rates are amongst the lowest in the country,” says Siobhán Walsh, Executive Director of Concern Worldwide US. The program will specifically target 10 schools in and around the town of Saut d’Eau, a rural and extremely poor region in Haiti’s Central Plateau, and focus on improving the reading and writing skills of 2,200 primary school students, grades one to six. Concern will assess the literacy levels in each of the 10 schools and use those findings to create custom educational materials and plans for students. Sixty teachers will then be trained across the 10 schools on how to implement the new curriculum and improve their students’ reading and writing skills. Concern has worked in Saut d’Eau since 1999, where it currently supports more than 41 schools throughout the area, and in Haiti since 1994, implementing emergency response and development programming in water, sanitation and hygiene; education; livelihoods; health and nutrition; peace-building; protection; and disaster risk reduction in Port-au-Prince, Saut d’Eau, and La Gonâve Island. This is the first grant Concern has received from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “Mr. Kellogg wanted to invest his money in people,” says Alejandro Villanueva, Regional Director of Latin America and the Caribbean at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “This training is an investment in the Haitian people - in teachers, in students, in their families and their communities. Good teachers are a true catalyst, an amazing role model, and so important for every society.”

Digicel Foundation Delivers on Promise to Build 50 Schools

Digicel's Group Chairman Announces Plans For Another 80 Schools in Haiti: The Digicel Haiti Foundation just opened their new College Classique d’Haiti school buildings in Turgeau, Port-au-Prince, making it the last of 50 schools rebuilt as part of the Digicel Foundation’s initial commitment following the devastating earthquake which struck the country on January 12th 2010. The co-founder of the College Classique d’Haiti, Maitre André Jean, and Founder of the Digicel Foundation and Chairman of Digicel Group, Denis O’Brien, were both present at the opening and together unveiled a plaque to mark the opening. Mr. O’Brien’s mother, Mrs. Iris O’Brien, funded the reconstruction of the College Classique d’Haiti. Denis O’Brien said; “In the past 18 months, more than 15,000 students and teachers have benefitted from earthquake-safe schools built by the Digicel Foundation. We are going to build even more schools in the next two years than we did in the last two since the earthquake – with 80 new buildings planned for completion by 2014.”
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Many of the directors of schools built by the Foundation were present at the inauguration. Mr. O’Brien paid tribute to the staff of the College Classique and all of the schools built by the Digicel Foundation in Haiti, saying; “It is a privilege to support these schools. It is their dedication that is improving the future for Haiti’s children, communities and the country. And because we know that a building is only a starting point, we are also going to support teacher training in all our schools.” André Jean, Director of the College Classique d’Haïti, said; “December 14th 2011, is a day of celebration for our students. The College Classique d’Haïti was reborn with the support of the Digicel Foundation, and for that we are extremely grateful to them.” The College Classique d’Haïti was founded in 1962, and has been located on the current site since the 1980s. The primary school has 260 students and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2012. The new paraseismic, paraciclonic buildings comprise eight classrooms, an administration block with sanitation as well as new school furniture, also supplied by the Digicel Foundation. The Digicel Foundation invested a total of US$6 million in its school construction programme, which has seen 50 schools built in 540 days, thanks to the labour and skills of over 2,000 workers.

Ben Stiller and Digicel Form 12 Month Education Partnership

The Jamaica Gleaner
12/14/2011
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BEN STILLER'S philanthropic organisation, the Stiller Foundation, has announced a partnership with the Digicel Foundation to build schools in Haiti to help support the country's education system. Over the next 12 months, the two foundations will build eight schools together across the country. The Stiller Foundation has been working to rebuild schools after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The Stiller Foundation's primary mission is to promote the education and well-being of children through initiatives that develop and support high-quality schools. Inspired by his first visit to Haiti in 2009, Stiller began a unique fund-raising campaign, 'Stillerstrong', which raised more than US$300,000 for school construction. Stiller expanded his commitment to Haiti in 2010 and has been supporting the reconstruction of schools after the earthquake. Two of these schools will be completed and serving more than 600 primary and secondary students by the end of this calendar year.
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The Digicel Foundation, founded by Denis O'Brien, chairman of cellphone operator Digicel Group, has supported education projects in Haiti since 2007. The Digicel Foundation has built 70 schools across the country and plans to build another 80, mostly in rural areas. The foundation has also focused on improving education quality in the past through teacher-training initiatives. "I am thrilled that the Digicel Foundation is partnering with the Stiller Foundation, which has shown exceptional commitment to education in Haiti. We are delighted that Ben and his organisation are lending such huge support to our mission to build 80 more schools in Haiti over the next two years...," said O'Brien. More than half of Haiti's school-age children do not attend primary school. On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, damaging or destroying 4,000 schools in and around the capital of Port-au-Prince.

OAS, Haitian Government, and Teachers Without Borders Partner

12/12/2011
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The Organization of American States (OAS), with the support of the Haitian government, has presented certificates to the first group of teachers that successfully completed the certificate program in Building Capacity for Teaching and Learning. The program, done in collaboration with Teachers Without Borders, was tailored to meet the needs of new teachers in Haiti. The program also contained a "train the trainer" component which enabled participants to train other teachers in schools and communities. “We thank the OAS and TWB for giving us the opportunity to pursue this program,” said Agella Ternela, a Haitian teacher from the coastal city of Jacmel. “It helps us to identify our weaknesses. It also allows us to set new objectives, to improve our classroom management and to come up with new evaluation methods. We are already seeing the results,” she added. Dr. Frantz Casseus, Chief of Staff of the Education Minister, commended the OAS for this initiative and reiterated continued support from his ministry. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Haitian Ministries of Education and Planning, OAS Member and Observer States, the private sector, and the media. Over the next three years, the OAS will facilitate training for more than 260 teachers. The next three cohorts will take place in March, July, and November 2012.

IDB Donates 50 million for Education in Haiti (11/26/2011)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced the approval of a $50 million grant to support the education reform Haiti launched in 2010, seeking to expand access to free, quality education for all Haitian children. The IDB has offered to support the ambitious five-year plan with $250 million from its own resources and to raise $250 million more from other donors. Among other goals, the reform calls for the construction of thousands of schools, training tens of thousands of teachers and free education for millions of children. An initial grant for $50 million was approved last November and the IDB has worked to enlist other international agencies, bilateral donors, philanthropic institutions and companies interested in supporting education in Haiti after last year’s devastating earthquake. Counting the financial assistance provided by the IDB and its partners, the support now involves about $150 million. Haiti’s Ministry of Education (MENFP) and its Economic and Social Assistance Fund (FAES) are the executing agencies of the new grant, which will contribute to expanding children’s access to schools, improve the quality of education, expand vocational training opportunities for young people and strengthen the ministry’s execution and regulation capacities. IDB resources will be used to finance the construction and equipment of 20 public schools in areas where there are no educational services. They will also support the rehabilitation of 15 schools damaged by the earthquake and the equipment of 8 schools built by the United States Southern Command. To expand access to education, the grant will support a school tuition waiver program backed by the Haitian government, the World Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Caribbean Development Bank, among other donors. The IDB’s contribution will enable 35,000 children to attend classes without paying tuition and will cover the cost of school kits and text books for 30,000 students and 2,000 teachers. To improve learning, the IDB will also assist the MENFP in restarting a distance education program that had shown encouraging results in terms of improved mathematics and language learning. The grant will also support a competitive fund for pedagogic innovation, which will finance projects proposed by public or private institutions to improve education using digital technologies. The program will also finance a pilot project on sports for development carried out by Haiti’s Olympic Committee. The project will involve 7,500 children in a sporting complex in Carrefour, in Port-au-Prince’s southern outskirts. To expand the technical training opportunities for Haitian youth, the plan will strengthen the National Institute for Vocational Training (INFP). The IDB will help finance the construction or rehabilitation of four training centers and the introduction of new public-private management models in six other centers, particularly in the northern region, where the IDB is financing the construction of an industrial park. The grant will also finance activities to strengthen the MENFP in order to increase its capacity to execute projects and to regulate the Haitian education system. Education is one of the IDB’s priority sectors in Haiti, where it is carrying out projects totaling over $1 billion in sectors such as transportation infrastructure, water and sanitation, agriculture, energy and private sector development.

New Govt. Programs to Provide Free Education to Haitian Children

10/26/2011
By Benjamin Steinlechner
UNICEF
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The Global Partnership for Education has helped more than 19 million children go to school for the first time. A campaign to renew support for these efforts will culminate in a pledging event in Copenhagen on 7-8 November. This series of stories seeks to highlight the Partnership’s work in the lead-up to this event. Lucien, 11, is the only child in his class not wearing a uniform. Sporting a t-shirt and jeans, he looks out of place amid throngs of children wearing neatly ironed, identical blue and white uniforms. His school in Tabarre, a Port-au-Prince neighbourhood close to the capital’s airport, is where Haitian President Michel Martelly recently announced that 772,000 children will receive free schooling this year. “I haven’t been to school for two years,” said a smiling Lucien. “I did my first year when I was nine in another school. But then my parents couldn’t afford to pay the school fees anymore, and I had to stay at home.” Many parents often spend almost all of their money on school fees for their children, which in Lucien’s school averages around 450 Gourdes – about US$11. Others, like Lucien’s parents, simply could not afford to send their children to school. “Education is crucial for the development of children, families, communities, and for the future of Haiti’s reconstruction,” stressed UNICEF Representative in Haiti Françoise Gruloos-Ackermans. “This initiative by the Haitian government will help thousands of children who never had the chance to go to school to get an education.” Thanks to the new government programme, many students like Lucien go to school for free now. That his parents still couldn’t afford to buy him a uniform doesn’t really bother him. “I am just happy to be here in school and to learn a lot of useful things,” he said. “I want to learn French because that will help me to find a good job.” The new government programme's target is to make it economically possible for every child to go to school. To this end, it will introduce free schooling across the country in stages. Poverty is particularly bitter in areas outside Port-au-Prince, where jobs are few and access to basic services like education is difficult, if available at all. This is why most of the funding allocated by the government for paying the school fees will initially be spent there. Still, children in Port-au-Prince like Lucien are benefitting from the free schooling. Unlike in previous school years, none of the children in the national school in Tabarre have to pay school fees. Eleven-year-old Nai Ka is classmate of Lucien’s, and like him, she hasn’t been to school in two years. “My parents are very proud I am going to school again,” she said excitedly. “I am also very happy that I get food here every day. At home I sometimes have to go two days without eating anything.” The World Food Programme is supporting the government’s programme with daily food rations for the children. “Going to school gives children back their hope,” explained Jean Francois Lucien, headmaster of the Tabarre School. “It helps them forget about their often dire situation at home and focus on something entirely different and stimulating.”

UNICEF, WFP, and Partners Ready to Support Haitian Students

10/4/2011
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At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, UNICEF and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are renewing their commitment to support the country’s efforts in the field of education. UNICEF has started the distribution of school kits to 750,000 children and 15,000 teachers in the country. In total, 2,500 schools will be supported by UNICEF, which is injecting close to $10 million in this operation. This year, the National School Meals Program (PNCS), WFP and their partners will provide hot meals daily to 1,9 million children, of which 1.1 million are provided by WFP. "School canteens are a simple and efficient way to ensure that children receive at least one nutritious meal everyday and to encourage them to attend school," said Patricia Dominique J. Martin, the Coordinator of the PNCS. UNICEF promotes the right to education for all children in Haiti in accordance to the 1987 constitution and the Children’s Right Convention ratified by Haiti in 1994. “Education is fundamental for the development of children, families, communities and for the future of Haiti’s reconstruction,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Haiti, Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans. To reach this objective, UNICEF is working jointly with the political instances of the country to build an education system that is free and universal.
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The earthquake has increased challenges in the field of education, but on 4 April 2010, UNICEF and WFP were working side by side with the government to restart the school year. The following October, the Ministry of Education and the National School Meals Program could again rely on the agencies’ support to make the first full school year following the earthquake a success. UNICEF has built 200 schools throughout the country, and has prioritized work on buildings destroyed or damaged by the earthquake or communities without proper infrastructure in the most vulnerable areas. WFP has doubled the number of children enrolled in its school meals program to better answer the needs of schoolchildren and their families in the aftermath of the earthquake. "A year and a half after the earthquake, a national survey has revealed that close to half of the Haitian population is struggling with food insecurity", said Myrta Kaulard, WFP Representative in Haiti. "The school meals program is an essential tool to solve this problem while helping schoolchildren learn better and grow up healthy", she added. Increasing the quantity of food produced in Haiti and used in the school meals program has been a priority for WFP in Haiti since 2008. "By establishing solid links between agriculture and the school meals program, the National School Meals Program, the Ministry of Agriculture and WFP contribute to the development of the agricultural sector and help local economies grow. Entire families and communities benefit", said Kaulard. UNICEF and WFP provide services to the most vulnerable children in the country’s public, communal and parochial schools. "We have a moral duty to help the country’s children who were not enrolled in school, especially the poorest and most vulnerable," said Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. To allow children living in remote areas to have access to education, UNICEF has initiated discussions with authorities to support the opening of schools in sub communal sections that have no public schools or no schools at all. UNICEF is well aware that access to education also includes developing a well-managed school network that offers quality teaching to students. The agency is supporting teacher’s training and the strengthening of basic academic teachings especially during the first years of schooling. Education is President Michel Martelly’s highest priority. UNICEF and WFP are committed to help authorities achieve the objective of ensuring that all Haitian children receive a good quality, free education and a daily meal in school. To develop a country, it is essential to educate its children.

IDB and Happy Hearts Fund Partner to Support Education in Haiti

9/21/2011
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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Happy Hearts Fund (HHF) today entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU) harmonizing efforts, in support of the Government of Haiti (GOH) to build back schools that were affected by the January 12, 2010 earthquake, thus making a long-term and sustainable commitment for the future of the people of Haiti. This commitment falls within the Haitian Education Plan 2010–2015, which aims to expand access to education for all Haitian children. Under the MoU, HHF and IDB agree to support the implementation of the 2010–2015 Education Plan in Haiti, in particular, the objectives of access to free basic education and quality of learning that will need the construction and rehabilitation of school infrastructure, the reduction of the cost of education for poor households and opportunities to benefit from improved learning environments and methods. "Those of us who work in international development know all too well that access to quality education is paramount for a country’s development and sustainable future,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “The Inter-American Development Bank is very proud to be working with the Happy Hearts Fund on the incredible possibilities to support the children of Haiti through the education projects we will develop and implement together, in coordination with the Government of Haiti and in line with the Government’s Education Strategy." In particular, HHF and IDB agree to identify and co-finance schools in Haiti, specifically in the cities of Port-au-Prince, Léogâne and Jacmel. These areas were hit hardest by the catastrophic earthquake that posed many new challenges to a country already facing a difficult path toward development. HHF and IDB launched their partnership in September 2010, and have since undertaken a joint mission to Haiti with the objective of pre-evaluating schools in need of rehabilitation or complete reconstruction. Petra Nemcova, Founder and Chairwoman of Happy Hearts Fund stated: "I have a deep respect for the power of education and have seen firsthand how children, their families and entire communities blossom around a new school. Happy Hearts Fund is proud to be partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank and support the Government of Haiti by bringing safe vibrant learning environments back to the children of Haiti. This partnership will provide many generations with the opportunity for a brighter future." The MoU was signed today on the occasion of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting 2011, taking place in New York City. IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and HHF Founder and Chairwoman Petra Nemcova signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations and therewith officially solidified their partnership.
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The Haitian education reform plan aims to expand access to education from preschool through college. At present, more than half a million children do not attend school, mostly because their parents cannot afford their studies. Only a minority of Haitian schools are public. Under the reform, the Haitian state will assume a leading supervisory role in the education sector, including the oversight of private schools. At the same time, the Haitian government will invest aggressively in building larger public schools designed to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes. The IDB expects to contribute $250 million over five years to support the plan. Additionally the IDB aims to raise, mobilize and leverage $250 million more from non-traditional donors, such as Happy Hearts Fund. With resources from a $50 million IDB grant approved in November 2010, Haiti is currently rebuilding 30 public schools, putting up 25 semi-permanent schools, providing free education to 35,000 children in non-public schools and school kits and textbooks to 30,000 additional children, as well as strengthening the Ministry of Education’s capacity to implement its Plan. The scope of this IDB grant has also been increased by several co-financing efforts, including CAD$20 million from CIDA, US$10 million from the Haitian Reconstruction Fund and US$1 million from Trinidad and Tobago First Citizen Bank. In addition, in the months following the earthquake, the IDB has financed the construction of 800 temporary classrooms in 57 school sites and the distribution of 100,000 backpacks with books and supplies for students. It has also provided financial support to 1,200 schools, enabling some 70,000 children to resume their lessons. Out of 30 schools, ten permanent schools are being rebuilt 30,000 schools kits have been delivered; 35,000 other children have benefitted from free tuition for the past and current school year; consultants have been contracted to support MENFP in the implementation of the Education Plan.
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The IDB is Haiti’s largest multilateral donor. Last year it approved $251 million in new grants and disbursed $177 million in budget support and project funding for the Haitian government. In addition to supporting education reform, the IDB's activities in Haiti are concentrated in water and sanitation, agriculture, energy, transport and private sector development. Since January 2010 the IDB has financed the construction of 800 temporary classrooms in 57 school sites and the distribution of 100,000 backpacks with books and supplies for students. It has also provided financial support to 1,200 schools, enabling some 70,000 children to resume their lessons.
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Happy Hearts Fund is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving children’s lives through educational and sustainable programs in natural disaster areas. Globally, HHF has an active portfolio of operations in nine countries, including Haiti, benefiting more than 34,330 children and 337,450 community members.

Black Schools Help Rebuild State University of Haiti (7/21/2011)

By Kenneth J. Cooper
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A dozen historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have formed a consortium to help rebuild the earthquake-damaged State University of Haiti, the Caribbean country’s largest institution of higher education. Led by Florida A & M University, the consortium hopes to raise $12 million to construct a classroom building equipped to receive telecourses taught by the faculty from the black colleges. The group also plans to raise money so the State University of Haiti can hire replacements for professors who died in the earthquake last year and to provide scholarships to 1,000 Haitian students to attend the public university, which has reopened despite extensive damage to its buildings in Port-au-Prince, the capital. In the shorter term, the consortium intends to share faculty expertise to boost the university’s academic programs in agriculture and entrepreneurship, and research into renewable energy and alternative medicine. Administrators from the black colleges will help establish a campus office to generate donations from prosperous alumni. "It was thought that black colleges have the resources and talent and were advanced enough in their own right they could offer assistance to higher education, particularly the State University of Haiti, to help them get back on their feet,” says Frederick Humphries, former president of Florida A & M and the consortium’s coordinator.
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While most of the dozen black colleges participating are public universities, including South Carolina State and Morgan State, federally-supported Howard University and private Miles College are also members. The consortium has been in the making for a year and has drafted a well-developed plan for action, after asking Rector Jean-Vernet Henry and other top administrators of the State University of Haiti to identify needs. In a letter to Humphries last year, Henry gave “formal confirmation” of his university’s cooperation with the group. He cited seven priorities: rebuilding campuses, funding new professorships, providing student scholarships, developing student housing, boosting research into renewable energy and alternative medicine, upgrading technical capabilities and further developing research programs. Henry and vice rectors Fritz Deshommes and Wilson Laleau last October wrote another letter to Humphries endorsing the proposed e-campus.
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“We are very pleased with the project, which will open up a wide range of opportunities to the university,” they said. “Further, we believe that the proposed e-campus will have a lasting impact on Haiti’s education system as a whole.” Humphries, now regent professor at Florida A&M, says the effort grew out of his school’s drive to collect donations for Haiti right after the January 2010 quake. He led a small delegation to visit the State University last summer, and afterward Humphries and Dr. Arthur Thomas, program manager at Morgan State, phoned a number of black college presidents. “All of them wanted to help,” Humphries says. The University of Massachusetts Boston has assembled another consortium of a cross-section of American, Canadian, Caribbean and Spanish colleges to assist the State University of Haiti and other public and private schools in the country. Members of that consortium have similar plans to share faculty expertise with the Haitian colleges, largely in other academic areas. There is some overlap in the two groups’ plans for distance learning and business education. So far both groups have yet to secure funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.
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Leaders of each consortium expressed a willingness to collaborate. “Where we can make common cause, we’ll be very happy to do that,” Humphries says. Alix Cantave, associate director of the Trotter Institute at UMass Boston, says such cooperation “makes sense.” The consortium of black colleges this summer plans to send a team to work with the State University’s School of Agriculture, at the request of its administrators. “They asked us to look at their degree program in agribusiness, and we’re going to help with the program,” Humphries says. An expert in aquaculture from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff who specializes in catfish farming will be part of that team. Another delegation will counsel those in the university’s business school on how to create a program to incubate small businesses, Humphries says. George E. Cooper, president of South Carolina State, emphasizes the potential economic benefits to Haiti. “As 12 HBCUs, we can play a role in stimulating the Haitian economy,” he says. South Carolina State, Cooper says, has the capacity to provide assistance in a number of fields, including computer science, engineering and community and economic development. “We’re in this for the duration. The challenge for us is identifying what can be done,” Cooper says. “These are the kinds of things that cannot be done in one or two years. Because of the devastation, I think you would need a 25-year plan.” Besides Florida A&M, South Carolina State, Morgan State, Howard, Miles and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the other members of the black college consortium are Central State, Virginia State, North Carolina A&T, Fort Valley State, Tennessee State and Jackson State.

Update on National Education Fund (FNE) (5/30/2011)

Haiti Libre
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Yesterday, President Michel Martelly and other stakeholders made a detailed presentation of the Fonds National pour l’Education (FNE). The goal of the project is to mobilize financial resources needed to educate the most disadvantaged children. Through the FNE, nearly 1.5 million children will be schooled by the end of his five-year term. "I bring good news for Haiti's children with the launch ofa consortium of several sectors to finance their education,” President Martelly declared. The FNE will be funded by two contributions: USD 0.05 will be contributed for each minute of all incoming calls and USD1.50 will be contributed for all incoming or outgoing money transfers. Haitian émigrés wire about $1.5 billion annually to relatives back home. The wire transfers make up about 26 percent of GDP. President Martelly asserts that these are not taxes, but "a clever way for us not to tax people", emphasizing "that the money will not come directly from the client but will come from the operators", thus indirectly from the pocket of those who call Haiti [the Diaspora]. In this way Michel Martelly said to be able to collect nearly USD 360 million over five years, 180 million on transfers and an amount equivalent on the minutes, to send children to school. The funds of FNE will be managed by a council of 15 members with the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH). Price Waterhouse Cooper, an independent international firm, will be responsible for audits "for the sake of transparency."

New Fees for Calling, Sending Money to Haiti for Education

5/25/2011
Associated Press
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The cost of making a call or sending money to Haiti is about to go up because the new president is imposing fees to raise money for his goal of free education. President Michel Martelly says the new fees will go into effect next month. Haiti will impose a charge of $1.50 on wire transfers and five cents per minute on phone calls to the country. Haitians living abroad will probably pay most of these fees. Martelly told a news conference he projects the fees will generate $144 million over the next five years to pay for schools. Haitian emigres wire about $1.5 billion annually to relatives back home. The wire transfers make up about 26 percent of GDP.

In Haiti, Class Comes With a Peek at Lush Life (5/3/2011)

New York Times
By SARAH MASLIN NIR
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On a jungle-covered hill, about 25 Creole-speaking kindergartners chanted numbers inside a gleaming classroom, the ceiling laced with clotheslines of paper butterflies. Past noon, they spilled into the courtyard to dash across the gravel in a blur of blue and cream uniforms, each one embroidered with an anchor and the school’s unusual name: “École Nouvelle Royal Caribbean,” or the New Royal Caribbean School. For years, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the cruise line corporation based in Miami, has run a private resort on a sandy promontory nearby — a playground of lounge chairs, bars and even an alpine coaster that shoots guests though the forest. The company has leased the 260 beachfront acres, about 90 miles north of the nation’s capital, from the government since 1986. Several times a week, up to 7,000 people descend for the day when mega ships make berth here on a newly completed $34 million pier, offering a dizzying contrast to the poverty beyond the gates.
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But in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated the capital, the cruise line evoked harsh criticism when it resumed docking pleasure ships at the resort for frolicking vacationers — just six days after the quake killed as many as 300,000 people, according to Haitian officials, and rendered more than a million homeless. Then the company opened the cheery citrus-colored school complex just outside the resort’s heavily guarded chain-link fences in October, a move Royal Caribbean representatives said it was considering before the disaster and the scathing press it received afterward. “We’ve been there for a long time and of course the problems in Haiti are enormous, and it’s hard for anyone to really make a significant dent in them,” said Richard D. Fain, the company’s chairman and chief executive. “We thought one of the places to start was with education.” Still, the assistance was “modest,” he added. “We are a business. We’re not a charitable organization.”
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Other projects include a water distribution system in the village of Labadie, said John Weis, an associate vice president. After the quake, the company donated around $2 million in aid and helped import relief supplies. “I’m not saying we do this because it’s a completely altruistic motivation,” Mr. Weis said, “but I think that our management feels that we have a responsibility to make a difference down here.” While residents seem to agree that the school is a boon to the community, the praise is tempered by doubts. Its mountainous location is far from the towns it serves, and its failure to provide any meals — leaving many children hungry throughout the day — has critics wondering why the company has not done more. The World Food Program provided some food, but the company discontinued lunch a few months ago, citing sanitary concerns in preparation. A kitchen is being planned, but for now only a handful of parents can afford to provide lunch for their children, several teachers said.
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The vast majority of the 200 or so students do not eat anything from early morning until they get home after school, teachers said. Some students fall asleep at their desks from fatigue. “The school was built for underprivileged kids, but the way the school is functioning, it is for the bourgeois,” said Paul Herns, 29, who teaches fifth grade. He echoed a common sentiment: gratitude mixed with the feeling that the company, which had revenues of $6.8 billion last year, could do a lot better. “Royal promised a school that was to be different from other ones in Haiti, similar to schools abroad,” Mr. Herns said. “Where children are fed and have access to sporting activities and taught some English skills to speak to foreigners; where they can surf the Web. These services have not yet been provided.” Mr. Weis said meals were not promised.
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The school itself is stunning and serene, a clean-swept haven from the several surrounding towns from which the students hail, where streets are choked with trash and the smoke of plastic bottles burning. It houses kindergarten through fifth grade and is run by a nonprofit group founded and led by Maryse Pénette-Kedar, a former minister of tourism and president of Royal Caribbean’s operations in Haiti. Students are chosen by lottery, and around 20 percent are children of the company’s local employees. “The vision is that we’ll connect the education and the jobs together,” Mr. Weis said. “We’ll have a steady supply of well-educated people, and they’ll be prepared to work on board the ship.” The school cost around $550,000 to build and equip, according to Mr. Weis, and Royal Caribbean spends nearly $200,000 each year to run it. For this school, there is a $5 a month tuition, a fee organizers say they imposed to create a sense of stewardship among the families. It is certainly a far cry from local schools like L’École Nationale Mixte in neighboring Fort Bourgeois, where splintering desks teeter on dirt floors behind doors of rusted sheets of corrugated metal, and rain pours through the roof, canceling classes. But because of a decision to build on hilltop land controlled by the cruise line, rather than restore schools or build new ones within a community, it is also remote.
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Many students commute piled into the backs of pickup trucks, or “tap-taps,” the jalopies that serve as local taxis, which the company says it subsidizes, even though parents say they pay extra out of pocket. The company provided bus service but canceled it because the costs came to $15,000, the vehicles were shoddy and the rutted mountain roads are dangerous. It says it plans to restart and improve the service. Some students like Rodman Decius, 13, whose mother, Immacula Caprice, 39, had her right foot amputated after an infection and cannot work, say they cannot always afford even subsidized transport. In late March after school, Rodman showed a reporter his hourlong commute marching home through jungle paths, at points clambering along a cliff face with a sheer drop to sea. His walk took him past several schools. He said he had last eaten 10 hours ago.
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Residents like Eddy Hippolyte, a taxi driver, say that some people feel that rather than build a showpiece, the company should have improved existing schools. But others, like Jacques Renelle, 37, who teaches kindergarten, are more supportive. “The overall good outweighs these irregularities,” she said. Mr. Weis is rankled by what he sees as the “give an inch take a mile” attitude he feels the company’s charity work engenders. “We have a responsibility to the community that we’re in,” he says. “But it’s not unlimited.” Ms. Pénette-Kedar agreed. “The state does not provide for its people, so you end up having to take responsibility — not the full responsibility, because that’s not possible,” she said. “It’s not the job of the company, but you’re there.” For students, who often spend recess kicking an empty plastic bottle around the school’s outdoor tables, the shining school is not the only oasis they know. The cruise’s resort lies just down the road, cut off by a fence. “I wish I could play there,” Rodman says, “But I don’t have any money.”

Haiti's Martelly Seeks New Taxes to Help Schools (429/2011)

Associated Press
By TRENTON DANIEL
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's president-elect announced Tuesday that he intends to impose taxes on money transfers and international cellphone calls to help finance schools across the chronically impoverished country. Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, who last week was declared the official winner of a March 20 presidential runoff but will not take office until May 14, said Haiti's three telecommunication companies have agreed to charge an additional 5 cents a minute to help bankroll schools. The levy on international phone calls with companies Digicel, Voila and Haitel would raise roughly $36 million annually, Martelly said. The program, he added, would take effect June 1 if lawmakers approve the plan. During campaigning, Martelly pledged to ensure that all children in Haiti receive a free education. Haitian parents now spend the bulk of their salaries on education but few of their children learn much because the quality of schools is considered so dismal. Martelly said his government will also approach money transfer businesses to see if they would agree to donate a dollar for each remittance sent to Haiti to help fund schools. He also said that restructuring Haiti's popular lottery might generate income for bettering education. He disclosed few details of these proposals, however. Martelly's education plans were unveiled at a press conference as international election observers sift through contested results for 19 legislative races from the March 20 runoff.
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The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince and the United Nations expressed concerns over discrepancies between the final results released last week and preliminary results released April 4. The new results showed that candidates in 19 races received thousands of votes that they didn't have in the initial results, and expanded the presence of Haiti's ruling Unity party in parliament. Martelly, a first-time politician who won 67 percent of the vote in the country's presidential elections, is not a member of Unity. Martelly has called for an investigation into the reversals but said little on the matter Tuesday. "The vote of the population should be respected," he said. "We can't build democracy with a stolen election."

Shakira Helps to Rebuild a School in Haiti (AP - 4/2/2011

Colombian singer Shakira danced with students in Haiti on Thursday as she celebrated the renovation of a historic Catholic girls school damaged in the country's devastating 2010 earthquake. With her song "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" playing over loudspeakers, the Grammy-winning, hip-shaking pop star grooved with students from the Elie Dubois high school in downtown Port-au-Prince. Her Barefoot Foundation, which helps child victims of violence and disasters, and the Inter-American Development Bank each donated $400,000 to restore the high school. "I'm convinced that the key to a dignified future for Haiti is through education," said Shakira, 34, wearing a black T-shirt and matching jeans. The nine-classroom, 250-student school was built in 1913, and was the first in Haiti to provide vocational training for girls, officials said. Construction is expected to begin in two months and will take up to 14 months to complete. Organizers have yet to put out bids. Those involved attribute the cost to the expensive nature of building materials in the capital. "Everything has to be imported," said Eric Cesal, an architect and program manager for Architecture for Humanity, an aid group that planned the school's restoration. Youngsters were excited to meet Shakira and hear about their new school. "It's so nice that we have a star coming and that she's coming to help the school," said Joselourdes Jean-Paul, a 19-year-old student. "With the new school, we're going to learn more and learn better."

Haitian Immigrant Students Win Contest Birth with Robot

3/22/2011
Daily News
BY Ben Chapman
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The robotics team at It Takes a Village Academy in East Flatbush hold their robot. The team had earned the chance to enter a prestigious contest in St. Louis, and now must raise the money to go. Building robots at school wasn't something Margely Saint-Pierre could have ever imagined back home in Haiti, even before his high school was destroyed in last year's devastating earthquake. But at the It Takes a Village Academy in East Flatbush, he's a member of a robotics team that's made up almost entirely of Haitian immigrants like him, and it feels like a family. The students just won the chance to enter their robot in a prestigious competition in St. Louis, but they need to raise money to pay for the trip. "It's like a dream come true," said Margely, 17, who saw 10 friends die in the aftermath of last year's earthquake before his parents sent him to stay with his uncle, a police officer who lives in Canarsie.
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The junior with an 80 average is just one of a dozen students on the school's robotics team who emigrated from Haiti - half of them since the earthquake. Two weeks ago, their robot took first place in a competition at the Javits Center by outperforming robots from 63 other schools from around the country, including big-name city schools such as Stuyvesant and Dalton. They're one of just two public school teams from the city invited to the FIRST Tech Challenge next month, where 100 schools around the world will compete to see who can build the fastest and most precise robot. The invitation is an honor for Margely and all the students on the It Takes a Village robotics team - but, more importantly, the kids have used their team to help each other adjust to their new lives in America. "They're like brothers and sisters, sharing experiences," said Yvon Morin, a computer science teacher who serves as the team's coach, and who's also a Haitian immigrant.
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The kids spend three afternoons a week working on their robot in the after-school program funded by the Brooklyn Community Foundation. They sometimes speak Creole as they talk about their work, the lives they left behind and the new challenges they face in Brooklyn. They're learning computer programming, math and physics as they work to perfect their creation, which can navigate a maze on its own and looks like an Erector Set crossed with a remote-control car. Competing in next month's tournament would be a chance for the young immigrants to make a statement as well as network with college reps. "We're going to show that we're Haitian and we've accomplished something really important," said team captain Christopher Leveille, 17, who emigrated to Canarsie from Port-au-Prince two years ago. It will cost about $15,000 for the It Takes a Village team to attend the three-day St. Louis robotics competition, which starts on April 27. To learn more or to make a donation, call (718) 260-3524 or (718) 629-2307, or visit www.bcfny.org.
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Schoold Key to Recovery in Haiti (3/5/2011)

The Montreal Gazette
By RENE BRUEMMER
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Rea Dol, founder of the SOPUDEP school in Port-au-Prince, with some of her charges: Of the Haitian children who attend school, only one in three will get as far as Grade 6. She has created a hot lunch program that feeds 700 children daily, a tutoring and housing centre for street kids, and a micro-credit program that gives small loans to dozens of mothers so they can start their own businesses. "Education, for us, is the basis of all development," said Dol over the phone from Port-au-Prince, the happy clatter of children reverberating in the background in the learning centre she built nine years ago. The school survived the earthquake when all but three of 300 neighbouring houses collapsed. But they teach outside under tents now, because the children are still scared to go indoors.
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"In developed countries, education is a right," she said. "Here in Haiti, it is a privilege. But not many have the opportunity to have that privilege." That education can elevate an individual and a society by improving wages, creating a better understanding of basic health care and imparting a sense of self-worth is well documented. But in Haiti, a country where 70 per cent of the population live on less than $2 a day, more than 80 per cent of elementary school students must pay to go to class. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere has the second highest rate of private school education in the world. Some parents give up more than half their annual income in the hopes of providing a better life for their children.
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Limited access to education ensures the downtrodden majority remains down and the privileged minority retains privilege. Not surprisingly, Haiti has one of the lowest enrolment rates in the world, with roughly 75 per cent of children attending primary school, a number that falls to 24 per cent in rural areas, and to 22 per cent overall in high school. Of the children who make it in, only one in three will get as far as Grade 6. Only four in 100 will graduate from high school. Improving Haiti's education system is seen as crucial to its redevelopment in the wake of last year's earthquake that killed more than 250,000 and left almost 20 per cent of its population homeless. Michaelle Jean, former governor-general of Canada and now a UN special envoy for Haiti, made a direct plea to the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti two weeks ago to add the overhaul of education to its list of main priorities.
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But with a fractured system of roughly 18,000 schools, the vast majority of which operate with no government oversight and provide an abysmal quality of education and one-quarter of which were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake, the question of how to overhaul the system, and how much difference it would actually make to the reconstruction of Haiti, remains deeply problematic. In both developing and developed countries, better educated workers earn more on average than less well educated ones, notes Princeton economics and public affairs professor Anne Case in her essay The Primacy of Education. Studies have found that each additional year of education can add 10 per cent to a worker's wages. The increase is even higher in poor countries.
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The problem is figuring out whether higher earnings are linked directly to education, or to numerous other factors at work: Do educated children find better employment because they come from wealthier families that can afford to send their children to school, and then have the connections to help them find work? Are children who graduate those who were born with greater ability, and thus would have likely earned more, whether or not they went to school? Regardless of the reasons, "broad-based education of good quality is among the most powerful instruments known to reduce poverty and inequality" and "strengthens nations' economic wealth by laying the foundation for sustained economic growth," the World Bank asserts. The benefits of higher levels of education to health are clear, particularly for women. Reproductive health improves. Child mortality improves because families are better educated about immunization and nutrition. Fertility rates drop, which eases financial strains. Education is "perhaps the single most effective preventive weapon against HIV/AIDS," the World Bank reports, teaching prevention and because educated women have more options and are less prone to depend on sex or men for their livelihoods. Educated mothers send their kids to school.
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Education gives people, especially women, the confidence to let their voices be heard, notes Franque Grimard, associate director of the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University. "Women who are educated are more likely to become participant in consensual situations, such as showing up at a village meeting and getting their points across," he said. Unfortunately, being aware of the benefits does not mean having the ability to partake. "Education, really, is an investment in the future, but some of these households can't think five years down the road," Grimard said. "They have to think of 'how do I get food on the table today, or next year.' Most of them understand it's better in the long run, but they may not be willing to think of the long run because they can't."
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Children are often needed to work in the fields. If the education offered makes little immediate difference, is of poor quality and is prohibitively expensive or unavailable, the children will not go. This is the case in Haiti. Like the farmer who would like to send his children to school but can't afford it, Haiti has always wanted to educate its offspring but lacked the means or wherewithal to do so. The country's first constitution, written the year after the world's first and only successful slave revolt gained its residents independence from France in 1804, stated: "Education shall be free. Primary education shall be compulsory. State education shall be free at every level."
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One hundred years after that proclamation, the state had only built 350 schools that served the children of the political elite, enough for 10 per cent of the eligible population, writes World Bank education specialist Jamil Salmi. To fill part of the gap, religious organizations built and staffed schools. Later, non-denominational, for-profit schools started to spring up, with the result that today the public system provides free education for only 20 per cent of students, and competition to get into those schools is fierce. Of the 20 poorest countries in the world, Haiti is the only one with more than 50 per cent of children enrolled in the private sector. In Canada, only about five per cent of elementary schoolchildren go to private schools.
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"It should be emphasized that the Haitian private education system has grown by default, one could almost say by despair, rather than by deliberate intention of the state," Salmi wrote. The result is a system where the quality of education a child receives is directly linked to the level of tuition its families can afford, which leads to "tragic social and human implications," Salmi wrote. For those who don't have the money for the better private schools, where annual tuitions start at $250 and go much higher in a country with an average annual income of around $750 -the quality of education is poor. Only one-third of teachers in public school are graduates of teacher training colleges, according to Salmi's report published in 2000. In private schools, the rates were only 20 per cent. The average private school teacher has only a Grade 9 education and makes about $60 a month, making it difficult to attract and retain qualified teachers.
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At Rea Dol's SOPUDEP school (Society of Providence United for the Economic Development of Petionville), which charges only $10 a month in tuition and lets half the students come for free, she can only afford to pay her university-educated teachers $500 a year, which works out to $2.50 a day, half the Haitian minimum wage. The government recently gave the school a $2,600 grant to help pay its 48 teachers and administrators for five months, under a program designed to keep teachers, who hadn't been paid during the four-month post earthquake shutdown, from fleeing. That works out to $10 per teacher a month. The Sawatzky Family Foundation of Orillia, Ont., had paid for salaries and the school's meal program for two years, until funds ran out. The average child in Haiti receives five years of poor education, with the result that more than half the population can't read. The average Canadian receives 12 years of education that must meet provincial standards. In the case of Haiti, the key to providing universal education may lie in collaboration and using the international goodwill that grew in the wake of the earthquake to help fund free education. "An education system requires a system, said international development expert Grimard. "It requires funding, organizations, it requires raising money from individuals to get education up and running."
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As with many of Haiti's woes, a lack of resources and administration lie at the root of its educational morass. In Quebec, property owners pay school taxes, whether or not they have children in school, to support the system. Haiti's lack of formal employment and thus taxation revenue make this impossible. What the country does have is a plethora of non-governmental organizations and private interests filling in where the government can't. Most are well-intentioned, but the lack of cohesion means nearly 800,000 children out of a total student population of between 3 and 3.5 million are left out of the system. There has been "a profound failure of collective action in the education sector" between the government of Haiti and international organizations during the last 25 years, said Marcelo Cabrol, chief of education at the International Development Bank (IDB), in an interview with Brendan McNulty, a private-sector development consultant. Grimard refers to the collection of NGOs as an example of "one thousand points of light" that are failing on a national basis because of their inability to come together with a common focus.
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Others say the international community and NGOs have not worked because of basic self-centredness. "I don't think these organizations really want to co-ordinate with one another," said Jacky Lamarque, rector of Quisqueya University in Port-au-Prince and director of the Presidential Commission on Education, in an interview with McNulty. "There are NGOs more concerned with spending their budgets than producing results. ... There is a great mirage here. Lots of people are donating to Haiti, but those resources often don't reach Haiti. The beneficiary is often the donor (the NGO). They are spending money to elevate themselves."
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Rea Dol started her career as an educator teaching people in their fifties, sixties and seventies to read. She had no intention of opening a primary school, but so many disadvantaged people asked her to educate their children that she started looking around for one of Haiti's many NGOs to start a school. None would, she said. She had to start it herself. Last March, the IDB presented the government with a suggested redesign of the system based on the National Education Plan designed by Haiti's Ministry of Education in 2007, to bring together several hundred actors in a coalition where "everyone could take ownership of just one part or action, whether that is working on the new curriculum or retraining teachers," Cabrol said.
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In May 2010, the Haitian government gave the IDB a mandate to work with Haiti's Ministry of Education and National Education Commission to help institute a major reform of the education system. The five-year, $4.2-billion plan calls for private schools to become publicly funded so children can go to school without paying tuition. The government would cover the salaries of teachers and administrators participating in the new system. To participate, schools will have to undergo a certification process to verify the number of children and staff at the school, and will receive money to upgrade facilities and buy education materials. To remain certified, schools will have to meet increasingly stringent standards, the IDB noted, including the adoption of a national curriculum, teacher training and facility improvement programs. The plan will also finance building of new schools, and the use of schools to provide services like nutrition and health care.
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The plan proposes to have all children enrolled in free education up to Grade 6 by 2015, and Grade 9 by 2020. The proposal was accepted by the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission in August. To qualify, schools must be structurally sound, offer free tuition, and must adopt the new national curriculum, which will include annual student testing and two years of mandatory training for teachers, said Sabine Rieble-Aubourg, one of the lead planners for the IDB's Haitian education plan. The plan is to weed out lesser schools and consolidate many over time, eliminating waste. The average private school has only 100 students. The plan is admittedly optimistic, Rieble-Aubourg admits, but results have been good thus far, given the short period of time to reconstruct schools and create collaboration among several hundred organizations. Education is held in high regard in Haiti, she notes, which ensures political support.
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"The plan gives us objectives, and we should at least try to set the bar as high as we can. ... A lot of talent is really being wasted because children are not getting an opportunity, and that should not be. There are so many scientists and doctors and teachers out there that are just waiting to be taught." It could take at least five years to see improved buildings and better trained teachers, and 10 years before test scores start rising, IDB officials said. And Grimard noted that improved education alone is not a guarantee of improved living standards. Sri Lanka completed a successful education overhaul that saw its literacy rate climb to nearly 100 per cent in the early 1980s, but its failure to adapt open-market policies, and its descent into civil war, meant education had little initial effect on wages. Education reforms in Pakistan led to "well-educated housewives" 15 years ago, as social norms prevented women from entering the labour force.
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Ultimately, said school owner Dol, it will be up to Haitians to take control and make education their priority for the betterment of all. "People can help us, but if we don't work to change the situation, nothing will change," she said. The power of schools goes beyond education, she noted. In the wake of the earthquake, with one of the few buildings left standing in her neighbourhood, Dol organized a food centre and health clinic there to feed and heal thousands of Haitians. Her school lost 31 students and two teachers to the earthquake, but it was still able to provide sustenance. Now she gives extra materials to help other fledgling schools, as well as supporting the tutoring services, hot lunch program and micro-finance initiatives at her school. After dropping to 350 students because many had to move to faraway tent camps, enrolment is back up to 450. Most importantly, she said, they are changing attitudes. "One of our recent graduates was planning to go into finance," she said. "But after seeing all we had done for the people after the earthquake, he said he wanted to study psychology, so he could help his fellow Haitians. "That's how it starts."

Red Cross Commits 2.7 million to help children return to school

2/16/2011
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The American Red Cross today announced it was spending $2.7 million to provide financial support for Haitian families affected by the January 2010 earthquake so their children can attend school. An estimated 3,000 children in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Croix Deprez, a hilly area where many homes collapsed in the earthquake, are benefiting. The program, which targets children and youth ages five through 19, provides vouchers to cover the cost of school fees. In addition, participating families will receive a cash grant of $100 per child to cover the cost of school-related expenses, including transportation, uniforms and lunch. "This is a terrific program," said Matthew Marek, head of programs for the American Red Cross in Haiti. "Children get an education, and cash-strapped families can use their savings for other pressing needs." The program pays students' school fees for the remainder of the current academic year. To be eligible for the school vouchers and cash grants, families must live in one of three camps in the Croix Deprez area, and have enrolled their children in primary or secondary school by a January 2011 deadline set by the Haitian government. Nearly 200 area schools are participating in the program. Many of them lost a large number of fee-paying students after the earthquake because families could no longer afford to send their children to school. Now, thanks to the American Red Cross funding, they have the income to pay teachers and staff. The program is being implemented with approval from the Haitian Ministry of Education. Haiti has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. One challenge for families is the lack of funds to pay for private schools, which make up the bulk of the Haitian education system. In many cases, school fees exceed $140 per trimester per child. Prior to the earthquake, which left more than 230,000 dead and left more than 1.3 million homeless, more than two-thirds of the Haitian population lived on less than $2 a day. The American Red Cross has long supported school-based initiatives in the U.S .and around the world. For decades, the organization has worked with and in schools on issues including disaster preparedness, health and safety education, food assistance and psychosocial support.

UN special envoy calls for overhaul of Haitian education system

UN News Wire
2/15/2011
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The Special Envoy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for Haiti is calling for an urgent overhaul of the country’s education system, which she says is the cornerstone of the impoverished nation’s future prosperity. Michaëlle Jean made the request today as she presented UNESCO’s strategy before the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti, which was set up in April 2010 to coordinate and oversee the recovery and reconstruction campaign following last January’s devastating earthquake. The 7.0-magnitude quake claimed more than 200,000 lives and left 1.3 million more people homeless. Countless buildings, including Government facilities, hospitals and schools, were also destroyed. “It is imperative to implement the National Pact for Education, which was developed by Haitian authorities in the world of education and endorsed by the President of the Republic. This plan lays the foundation for building an education system that is accessible, universal and offers quality instruction,” said Ms. Jean. Haiti wants, among other things, to provide free and high quality education for all children from 6 to 12 years of age by 2015. This is an ambitious goal, according to UNESCO, which noted that before the earthquake only one in five children had access to public school. A large segment of the population was deprived of education because parents lacked the financial resources to pay the registration fee. The Haitian education ministry also aims to increase the proportion of students pursuing studies at the secondary and university level and provide literacy to 2.5 million inhabitants. “Haiti can count on UNESCO in all its actions, whether it is capacity building or improving the quality of education through teacher training and curriculum development,” the Paris-based agency stated in a news release. UNESCO said it is also ready to assist the Haitian Government in its areas such as science, communications and culture. It has already set up the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding of Haitian Cultural Heritage, reflecting its commitment to the protection of the country’s tangible and intangible heritage.

Michaelle Jean in Haiti to press for education reform (2/14/2011

Canada.Com
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Former governor general Michaelle Jean is calling on the Haitian government to add overhauling the country’s education system to its list of priorities. Jean is expected to appear before the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti on Tuesday to present an action plan drafted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which she now represents as special envoy. She’ll ask the commission to implement the National Pact For Education, developed by Haitian authorities and endorsed by the president. “This plan lays the foundation for building an education system that is accessible, universal and offers quality instruction,” she said. The plan seeks to ensure all children aged six-12 have access to quality instruction by 2015. Haiti’s ministry of education is also hoping to increase the number of students in high school and post-secondary as well as ensure the country’s 2.5 million residents have basic literacy skills. The Haitian native who fled to Canada as a child arrived in Port-au-Prince on Sunday. She will visit Jacmel, about 40 kilometres south of the capital, to meet with local authorities, artists and civil society groups Wednesday before returning the Canada the next day. Jacmel was hit hard by last year’s earthquake and has been a major beneficiary of Canadian aid ever since. It’s also the city where Jean’s father was born and where she spent her summers as a child. Jean was in Haiti last month to mark the one year anniversary of the massive earthquake that killed some 300,000 people and devastated the country. She was named UNESCO’s special envoy for Haiti last June.

Red Cross Sponsors Haitian Children’s Return to School (2/5/2011

By Abi Weaver
International Communications, American Red Cross
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Behind the small wooden desk she shares with two other classmates, Estelle Jean mimics the phrases issued by her French teacher with the rest of her first-grade class while subconsciously toying with her plaid jumper and satin hair ribbons. To some, including her teacher, this tic might suggest that she is distracted, anxious or even bored, but Samuel Lee St. Hubert knows her actions are actually rooted in pride. Estelle and more than 3,000 other students throughout Port-au-Prince’s Croix Deprez neighborhood have recently returned to school with assistance from the American Red Cross. “Uniforms and books are very valuable; they mean renewed access to education and future opportunities for families living in the camps,” said Samuel, a senior field officer supporting earthquake recovery programs. As part of its multi-year assistance program in Haiti, the American Red Cross has committed to paying the second and third trimester school fees for families, who primarily live in the Tapis Rouge, Croix Deprez and Galilee camps and had enrolled their children in primary and secondary school by the government’s deadline last month. For this first-of-its-kind program from the American Red Cross estimated at nearly $3 million, it will pay each of the more than 200 participating schools directly as well as provide a cash grant of $100 per child to help reduce the families’ other education-related expenses, including uniforms, transportation and lunch money.
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“I wake up in the morning and know that I’m sending more than 3,000 kids to school that day,” said Madushi Lansakara, an American Red Cross delegate leading the program. “That alone is amazing.” Prior to the earthquake, Haiti already struggled with inadequate access to schools with only 8 percent of the institutions being operated by the state. As a consequence, an estimated 37 percent of Haitian children over the age of five never receive formal education, according to the United Nations’ education cluster. This and literacy levels below 53 percent suggest that school attendance rates in Haiti are among lowest in the world. However, in speaking to Haitian families it is obvious that parents are unanimously in favor of sending their children to school. The main issue holding them back is the lack of money to pay for private school fees and other related expenses. On average, families can end up paying 11 to 13 percent of their household income on education expenses, according to the World Bank. For most, coping with the post-disaster economy, this is entirely out of reach. “School fees can easily exceed $140 per trimester for each child,” said Samuel. “This is very expensive when you consider that some 70 percent live on less than $2 per day.”
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For Christophe Laguerre, a 40-year-old father of four living in the Tapis Rogue camp, this causes him great shame. Before the earthquake he was able to scrape together enough money by working in printing and gardening to hire a tutor for one of his children. After Haiti’s devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010, however, Christophe lost all sources of income, forcing his son to discontinue his studies. “When your children don’t go to school, people think you don’t take your responsibility toward them seriously,” he said of his struggles through a translator. “For so long we saw our neighbors sending their children to school and wanted the same opportunity.” Today, their situation has improved with this program, and all four of Christophe’s children are enrolled and attending school paid for by the American Red Cross. “I am very hopeful,” he said. “I had no hope before, but now I have a chance thanks to this program to give my children a future. Something better is in store for them. I would love for them to finish school, study what they want to learn. The only thing I can leave them when I die is an education.” For parents like Christophe, this program puts the money they were saving for their children’s school fees back into their hands. For others, like his neighbor Yolen Fancois who is raising eight children of her own and did not have any money to contribute, it gives them one less thing to worry about. Estelle Jean smiles proudly in her Port-au-Prince classroom after returning to school with assistance from the American Red Cross.
Estelle Jean smiles proudly in her Port-au-Prince classroom after returning to school with assistance from the American Red Cross. Two sisters sit outside their new home constructed by the Red Cross following Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and diligently complete their homework assignments.
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Ultimately, the American Red Cross plans to help the families restore their livelihoods and cultivate some savings so they will be able to take over payments for their children’s school fees at the start of the next academic year. M. Wilnick Cius, a director at one of the participating schools that lost some of its staff when their building collapsed, knows first-hand it is not only the parents and children who will benefit from the American Red Cross initiative. “First of all, this program is very helpful for the children who want to achieve a certain level of education. But it also helps the school when we have a group of students who can pay on time,” he said through a translator. “This means the teachers get paid on time, stay employed and provide the children with a better education.”
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Luckner Bright Junior, an administrator at the College Le Normalien, also recognizes other benefits. His Catholic school which was severely-damaged in the earthquake reopened in April and serves children of all ages, including Estelle and 20 others sponsored by the American Red Cross. “If you don’t go to school, you can get involved with drugs, prostitution and gang activity. We know what happens in the camps,” he said. “It’s better to have them out of the camps for 5 to 6 hours a day. It’s safer.” To continue receiving the American Red Cross assistance and ensure the program’s success, students are required to attend school at least 60 percent of the time. Luckner reports that this condition and built-in counseling for families who struggle has helped improve the children’s grades and provide stability for both the school and the students. Jean Lynonel Nico Alexandre and Joseph Elie, two high-school students who are sponsored by the American Red Cross and lost relatives in the disaster, are focused on securing their future and have dreams to be a plumber and engineer respectively. They appreciate how important attending school each day is to achieving their goals. “Without knowledge you can be nothing in life,” said Jean Lynonel – a sentiment echoed by Joseph. For decades, the American Red Cross has supported initiatives at schools in the US and throughout the world, such as providing preparedness, health and safety education, food assistance, and psychosocial services.
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About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Job Training Program Launched for Unemployed Youth (1/19/2011)

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)announced a US$4 million grant for a project to provide job training to 9,000 unemployed and out-of-school young Haitians. The four-year Haiti Youth Reconstruction Academy project, with a total estimated cost of US$9.3 million, will be carried out by the Haitian NGO IDEJEN. The MasterCard Foundation, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Education Development Center, and Catholic Relief Services are also partners in the project. The project will offer young men and women ages 15 to 24 six months of intensive job training, mentoring, life skills development and literacy and numeracy courses. YouthBuild International, a U.S. non-profit with a long track record in training unemployed young adults in applied work skills, will support the project’s design and implementation.
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Trainees will receive stipends for participating in community construction projects such as rebuilding houses, schools or sanitary blocks. To promote financial responsibility and management skills, the project will match every dollar saved by the trainees with two dollars in a savings account which they will be able to access upon graduation. The project will establish partnerships with local governments, businesses and organizations to recruit mentors for its trainees as well as to find internship and employment opportunities for graduates. IDEJEN will follow up on its alumni for six months after their graduation, providing guidance as they pursue jobs, further education or vocational training, or start their own businesses. In addition, the project will finance the improvement of the facilities, equipment and operations of the 12 community-based centers where the training will take place. The teaching manuals and monitoring and evaluation tools developed by the project will be provided to the Haitian Ministry of Education’s National Institute of Vocational Training. MIF, part of the Inter-American Development Bank group, promotes economic growth and poverty reduction through private sector development, focusing on microenterprises and small and medium-size businesses. Since the 2010 earthquake it has approved more than US$16 million in grants to support projects in Haiti, with an emphasis on jobs and income generation.

Rebuilding Haiti’s Education System One Year After the Quake

1/6/2011
UNICEF
By Roger LeMoyne
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January 12 marks one year since the deadly earthquake that devastated Haiti’s education system, and affected millions of children. Twelve months later UNICEF and partners are focused on reconstruction efforts, building semi-permanent schools with hurricane and earthquake-resistant designs, to ensure children can access quality education in a safe environment.

UNICEF podcast moderator Amy Costello spoke with Carlos Vasquez, architect and UNICEF Education Specialist, and Tania McBride, UNICEF Communication Specialist for Haiti, to find out how the educational system is managing to move forward one year post-earthquake.
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Ms. McBride, who recently returned from three weeks in Haiti, said the children she spoke with who had moved from school tents into semi-permanent structures seemed “really happy to be back at school”. “One interesting thing about this,” Mr. Vasquez added, “is the fact that, believe it or not, children were afraid of going back to schools that were made out of bricks or reinforced concrete because they associate collapse with a certain type of construction.” “That was also part of our initial design concerns when we were thinking about the semi-permanent schools,” Mr. Vasquez continued, “If you are able to pick on how children perceive space and how do they perceive the disaster, if you’re paying attention as an architect, you should be able to integrate their concerns into your design process.”
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Ms. McBride noted that while many children were now back in the classroom, many were still suffering deeper psychosocial problems. “On the surface of it the children seem very happy at school, learning, playing with their friends, interacting with their teachers, but one particular mother [I spoke with] told me that her children weren’t actually doing so well,” Ms. McBride said. “Her youngest daughter, who was about five,” Ms. McBride continued, “didn’t sleep well at night, they didn’t like to be separated from her for too long, and she, as a parent, didn’t like to be separated from her children.” Mr. Vasquez said going forward it is “fundamental that as an organization, as political institutions, we all agree on certain basic things that would enhance the security of the school environment both from an humanitarian perspective and from a disaster risk reduction perspective.”

Parents and Teachers Help Children in Haiti Cope with Quake Effe

1/4/2010
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
By Tania McBride
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Like many people in Haiti, Jean Andre Durvier can't forget the moment the earthquake struck Port-au-Prince. Under the shade tarp at the back of the tiny Dalmas 33 Dei Gloria primary school – a temporary facility that his two sons attend – Mr. Durvier speaks softly amidst the constant roar of traffic in the capital, Port-au-Prince. "I had decided on a whim, at 4:15 p.m. on the day of the earthquake, to pick up Mackintosh and Freddy from school," he recalls. "I work from home as a mechanic and the school is 15 minutes away." Mr. Durvier, who was widowed prior to the quake, clears his throat and pauses to collect himself. "As I was turning into my gate at 4:52 p.m.," he continues, "I felt the car being twisted and pulled. I didn't know what was happening. Right in front of my children's eyes, our house collapsed. It was too much for the children to see."
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Since that day, their school routine has been vital for Mackintosh Durvier and his younger brother Freddy to establish a semblance of normal life. "They are with their friends, who are terribly important, and they can learn," says principal Elizabeth Myrtha Hyppolite. "It is much better that they are at school than at home surrounded by the memories of January 12, or in the camps." Mr. Durvier agrees that life under a tent in one of the Haitian capital's camps for the displaced is not suitable for his children, who have dealt with many challenges and have myriad questions. "So many things have happened this year. They are asking me what is going on in Haiti," he says. "They feel confused. I am their father and I am the key figure in their life. I have to keep their morale up and keep them stable, particularly now. I have to be their anchor." Ms. Hyppolite nods as Mr. Durvier speaks. She restarted the temporary school days after the earthquake flattened the former school building next door, where she had worked for many years.
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UNICEF engineers recently assessed the site in preparation for the construction of five semi-permanent classrooms, which will incorporate water and sanitation facilities, as well. Although parents are the first line of support, explains Ms. Hyppolite, the school community also provides a place where children can find some normalcy away from their chaotic day-to-day existence. But while the physical environment can be altered, the scars borne by the children and parents of Haiti will not heal overnight, she cautions. "Parents should not be forgotten, either. They are suffering, as well," says Ms. Hyppolite. "It's difficult for the children to survive. Their parents sometimes simply don't have the money to feed them or provide for them as they had done before." Mr. Durvier adds: "I think about this every day. I live from day to day, relying on the generosity of friends and family and what little work I can get." His eyes fill with tears, "It's my responsibility to protect them, and provide for them," he says of his sons. "It's very difficult."

Michaelle Jean: Rebuilding Haiti Must Start in the Classroom

12/19/2010
Globe and Mail
By Andy Blatchford
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With her sleeves rolled up, Michaelle Jean is laying the groundwork for what she hopes will lift her native Haiti from the rubble — once and for all. But Canada's former governor general says lots of work remains nearly a year after an earthquake crumpled buildings and shattered lives in her homeland. Ms. Jean, now a United Nations special envoy to Haiti, says it's difficult for Haitians to see tangible results of the country's sluggish reconstruction. “People are very frustrated right now,” Ms. Jean told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview. “Unfortunately, we will commemorate the earthquake one year later, and Haitians have not seen many signs that would make them believe that the work has begun.” Recent violence triggered by Haiti's contested presidential election and a deadly, ongoing cholera epidemic have compounded the challenges. The population has been left “tired” and “traumatized,” she said.
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But Ms. Jean is optimistic the country will get back on its feet, even though tent cities still occupy public squares and food and drinking water remain scarce for many. “The sum of the needs is incredible, but we should not be discouraged,” said Ms. Jean, whose term as governor general ended in October. “It's a work in progress and it's time for actions.” Ms. Jean says boosting support to small- and medium-sized businesses, rebuilding cultural treasures to encourage tourism and creating the country's first national land register are keys to Haiti's development. But lasting reconstruction of the Caribbean nation will begin in the classroom, she insists. A quality, universally accessible education system, Ms. Jean says, will empower Haitians to rebuild their country themselves. “Afterwards, people can now say, ‘We are the ones who did it,' and they can take ownership of it,” said Ms. Jean, who was born in Port-au-Prince and moved to Canada as a child. “Haitians want to be considered and recognized as being part of the solutions. “If we don't do this, it will be a catastrophe, it will be business as usual.”
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In her new role with the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ms. Jean is tasked with helping rebuild a long-impoverished country hit by a quake last Jan. 12 that killed more than 200,000 people and left more than a million homeless. Ms. Jean recalled what it was like to see the damage up close last March, during her only visit to Haiti since the quake. She walked past fallen homes and into vast encampments that were supposed to be temporary. Jolting scenes from the aftermath brought her to tears. “I knew I would find a devastated country — evidently, the scale was beyond everything we could imagine once we were on the ground,” said Ms. Jean, who hopes to return to Haiti soon, once the election crisis has subsided. At the time, Ms. Jean says, the ordeal was cast by the international community as an opportunity to do things differently in Haiti, a country that has faced trade embargoes, brutal dictatorships and natural disasters since achieving independence 200 years ago. For decades, the country's economy has relied heavily on foreign aid. “It's going to work, we have other examples in the world,” she said of Haiti's reconstruction. Ms. Jean highlighted rapid rebuilding in the Sichuan region of China, where 90,000 people were killed in a 2008 quake. She also pointed to Rwanda, which was the scene of the 1994 genocide that claimed an estimated 800,000 lives in 100 days. “Sixteen years later you have Rwanda (and) Kigali is cleaner than Ottawa,” said Ms. Jean, adding that Rwanda was rebuilt under a clear strategy. Haiti's tumultuous past prompted many from its elite to flee the country over the years, including Ms. Jean's family. Today, dynamic members of its diaspora have landed in places like Canada and the United States. “So, I think that in many ways, the rest of humanity also has a certain debt to Haiti, a moral debt.”

Red Cross pays school fees for 8,000 children (12/3/2010)

British Red Cross
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In Les Cayes, a southern district of Haiti, the Red Cross is paying the coming year's school fees for up to 8,000 children displaced by the earthquake. Although Les Cayes was not directly affected by the quake, around 120,000 people flooded into the area immediately after the disaster, causing a huge negative economic impact on the already poor families who are now hosting the displaced. Increasingly, parents are moving back to the capital to look for work, but leaving their children with relatives or friends. This places a great strain on the host families who were struggling to make ends meet even before the disaster. The British Red Cross, in partnership with the Danish Red Cross, is supporting children in four communes in Les Cayes who are hosting people displaced by the earthquake. Joseph Francis is headmaster at one of Les Cayes' schools. He said: "The social consequences of the earthquake on our community were huge. People lost everything. Suddenly people couldn't afford to send their children to school, even though our fees are not high, or to buy books or uniforms. And with extra displaced children to support, this has become even harder for the average family." Darna Bernard, 13, is a displaced child who has been living in Les Cayes since 12 January with her father, who is a mason. "I had a bad time in the earthquake. Many people died, including my little cousin. I broke my foot, but it is okay now," she said. "I was very happy to come here to Les Cayes. Life is not easy here either but I am happy because I can go to school – French is my favourite subject. When I am older, I would like to be a teacher."
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Pierre Antoinne, headmaster of another school in Les Cayes, said: "Children and parents have great needs here. The Red Cross support will help them very much. It's important because education is the basis of society. That is why I do this job." Pierre continued: "Before the earthquake the local factory closed and many people lost their jobs. Many were forced to go to the capital to look for work. Then the earthquake made things even worse. "Most local families had people supporting them financially from Port-au-Prince, and most of these people either died or lost their jobs in the quake, stopping the vital flow of income to this area." The British Red Cross is also beginning a livelihoods programme in two communes in the area to help people get back on their feet through supporting development of small businesses.

E-Learning Brings University Education to Post-Quake Haiti

ReadWriteWeb
By Curt Hopkins
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University of the People, the tuition-free online academic institution, has started its first courses in Haiti this week. UoPeople's methods of hooking up students to top-quality courses, underwritten by respected academics, in coherent paths of study has attracted a lot of attention in the earthquake-damage country. 250 students are in the UoPeople's first class, including this 21-year-old. "Since the earthquake, I have been sleeping in the street, under a tent, and nobody cares about my education anymore. University of the People is better than food and a tent. And education is even better than a visa or a green card." The UoPeople's methods marry peer-based in-person courses with online curriculum, overseen by a board of high-profile academics in partnership with Yale, the Clinton Global Initiative and others. Although it has yet to achieve accreditation, it is not a "self-improvement" course, but rather offers real undergraduate degrees: Associate and Bachelor degrees in both Computer Science and in Business Administration. Over 700 students in 100 countries attend. The nearly two-year-old organization is part of a trend that has seen almost six million people in the U.S. alone enrolled in distance learning courses, according to a recent study by The Sloan Consortium. The improvement in technology from instant messaging to video sharing has made it a much more viable concern.
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An interesting aspect of the University of the People program is the library. "Students and faculty have access to subscriptions via Library and Information Resources Network (LIRN), a rich and powerful collection of over 60 million proprietary resources. Additionally, the center provides recommendations of open educational resources, including open access textbooks and course materials. The Library Services offered by the ULRC also includes online access to assistance from librarians. The UoPeople was founded by Shai Reshef. Reshef is an entrepreneur (both for-profit and social), an Ashoka Fellow and was named an "Ultimate Game Changer" in Education by the Huffington Post. Like most entrepreneurs, he saw an opportunity. "In my 20 years working in the education arena, coupled with extensive world travel, I noticed there was one issue that unites countries, cities and states around the globe--the need for improved and accessible education. I had previously run several online educational companies and realized the tools to make this possible were readily available--dropping technology costs, the Internet, computers and open education resources--they just needed to be utilized in a new way." For those who worry that "you get what you pay for," this education isn't 100% "free." There is an application fee and end-of-term exam fees. But students without computers and Internet access can use the Student Computer Center in Port-au-Prince. The Center provides access to computers, satellite internet connection, furniture and support staff.

A School Fights for Life in Battered Haiti (11/14/2010)

New York Times
By Barbara Sontag
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In mid-October, when fresh-faced girls in starched uniforms skipped through the gates of the Collège Classique Féminin to start the first post-earthquake school year, their desire to seek sanctuary inside was palpable. Dashing off a street clogged with vendors hawking car mats and phone chargers, they reconnected with hugs and squeals. They cheered the absence of the stifling tents in which they studied last spring. And they all but embraced an administrator’s warning that strict discipline would be reinstated after a lax period when “we all were traumatized.” Still, nothing felt normal. The school’s door bore a frightening scarlet stamp, slapped there by government engineers who consider it unsafe. The semi-collapsed central building loomed menacingly over eight portable classrooms that clearly would not fit 13 grades. And the all-girl student body had dwindled to almost half its pre-disaster enrollment. When the opening bell rang, the students, from first graders in hair ribbons to seniors in lip gloss, formed neat lines in the dusty courtyard. In a rousing rendition of the national anthem, they sang, “For the country, for our forefathers, let us march united.” Then Chantal Kenol, a director, raised a bullhorn. “We’re postponing the start of classes until next week,” she announced, explaining more repairs were needed and acknowledging this was “not good news.” Freezing briefly, the students erupted in moans. One voice rang out: “No, not good news! Not at all, not at all!” A new plan for reforming Haiti’s weak educational system envisions a publicly funded network of privately managed schools, similar to what has developed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It calls for subsidies to and accreditation of the nonpublic schools that educate some 82 percent of Haitian students. But, like the Collège Classique Féminin (known as C.C.F.), many independent schools are in danger of collapsing financially before such a public-private partnership can be realized. They are struggling to reopen and stay open, to rebuild, and to retain student students and teachers.
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Forty-six years after its founding, C.C.F., a once-elite school catering to lower-middle-class girls who aspire to be the doctors, engineers and teachers of Haiti’s future, is fighting for its life. So are many other battered institutions, from hospitals to universities, during this limbo period before reconstructions begins. “You have to be really determined right now,” said Marie Alice Craft, another C.C.F. director. “If you’re not, the whole thing will fall apart, and we can’t allow that to happen. The adults are exhausted, but these kids deserve a future. We can’t let C.C.F. fail, just like we can’t let Haiti fail.” In the first week of October, Haiti’s reconstruction commission approved a $500 million Inter-American Development Bank project to reconstruct the education sector. That same week, the back-to-school date of Oct. 4 proved little more than “symbolic,” as Pierre Michel Laguerre, the Education Ministry’s director general, put it. With thousands of schools damaged or destroyed, hundreds of temporary replacements were still being built by Unicef, the government, the Digicel Foundation and others. Schools had to be cleared of rubble and of displaced people; families had to scrape together money for uniforms and fees. Neighborhood by neighborhood, students returned gradually to schools that possessed “the same deficits as before the earthquake — and then some,” said Jacky Lumarque, rector of Quisqueya University. Before the earthquake, Haiti’s education system was, at worst, inaccessible — with half the primary school-age children not in school — and at best “mediocre,” as a presidential commission on education said. “Many people called teachers and many places called schools were in fact not,” said Mohamed Fall, Unicef’s education chief here. After the earthquake, longtime advocates for education reform, like Mr. Lumarque, saw an opportunity. From May through July, a presidential commission drafted a $4.2 billion five-year plan for overhauling prekindergarten through university. Previously, the commission had resisted accepting the nonpublic schools as a linchpin, but the moment demanded pragmatism.
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Creating a traditional public school system “was not realistic in the short term,” said Marcelo Cabrol, education chief for the development bank. He recruited Paul G. Vallas, the Louisiana Recovery School District superintendent who has overseen a proliferation of charter schools after Katrina. Haiti’s plan calls for subsidizing nonpublic schools to eliminate or reduce tuition. This was happening before the earthquake on a very limited basis, but its reach would expand greatly and the schools would undergo an increasingly rigorous certification process. Also, large disaster-proofed schools would be built, teacher training programs established and the 50-year-old national curriculum modernized.
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Still, while the development bank has committed to raising $500 million, the $4.2 billion reform plan remains largely unfinanced. This worries those familiar with Haiti’s poor record for turning strategic plans into realities. “Right now, we need a series of day-to-day actions to seize the moment,” Mr. Lumarque said. “But there is no ownership for this plan. Elections are Nov. 28, the education minister has packed his bags, donors are in a wait-and-see mode — and we have a problem with our institutions making it through this year.” Shortly after the Jan. 12 earthquake, C.C.F.’s four directors ventured into the heart of Port-au-Prince to find out what had befallen their beloved school. In the nightmarish city center, what they saw at the school gate was heart-stopping: four unattended book bags. They later learned that girls waiting outside for a ride had abandoned the bags and fled to safety. Inside C.C.F., the media center where girls usually waited at the end of the day was crushed. So was the administrative office where Fabienne Rousseau, the director for discipline whom the girls call either “the red light” or “the immigration officer,” often stayed late to work. The women peered through the gate and trembled. “We stood outside our school yard and cried like children,” Ms. Craft said. The women, two pairs of sisters, had inherited the school’s leadership from their mother and aunt. After surveying the destruction, they drove straight to one of the founder’s houses. Elegant and regal with a nimbus of white hair, the founder, Renée Héraux, 77, greeted the women with a home remedy for distress. One by one, she fed them spoonfuls of a sugar cane syrup concoction. Mrs. Héraux had not been willing to check out the damage with her own eyes. “To see an oeuvre of 46 years that was destroyed in a few seconds — ah, no, that is too much to bear,” she said, her voice breaking. But she would not let the younger women feel defeated. “We were saying, ‘That’s it. C.C.F. is no longer,’ ” said Djenane Sajous, one of Mrs. Héraux’s daughters. “But my mom said, ‘C.C.F. is not just a building. It’s a spirit. It’s a heritage.’ ” In the early 1960s, Mrs. Héraux, a teacher, had a vision for an independent Catholic school for girls — one that included religious instruction but did not belong to the church, employ nuns or rely on rote memorization. She and her co-founders started with 27 girls — their daughters and friends’ daughters. They opened in a rented house, adding grades yearly until they built a small campus and a reputation for top results on official examinations — and in competitive volleyball.
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In the late 1980s, after the Duvalier regime ended, the school, located in a volatile urban zone, began hemorrhaging students. Upper middle class families gravitated to suburban private schools with American or French curriculums; many alumnae declined to send their daughters to the school. In the end, the school adapted. Civil servants, small business owners and families dependent on remittances from abroad, it turned out, coveted the cachet of one of Haiti’s finest schools even if the price tag remained relatively elite. “The clientele changed,” Mrs. Héraux said, “but the education — the standards — remained the same.” Marie Patricia Jean-Gilles, a receptionist at the Ministry of Justice, spends more than a third of her $325 monthly paycheck to send her daughter, Caroline Begein, to C.C.F. Many Haitian families devote an equivalent chunk of their income to schooling. “Parents are willing to pay for education in Haiti unlike almost anywhere else,” Mr. Cabrol said. They have little choice. The government spends the equivalent of only 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product on education, compared with almost 5 percent in the region.
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Ms. Jean-Gilles said she was determined to provide Caroline, 15 and in 11th grade, a chance “to soar above her origins.” She herself did not make it to 11th grade until 22, at which point she got pregnant, dropped out and lost her husband to liver disease. From then on, Ms. Jean Gilles has been singularly devoted to her daughter, sending her to the best school she could find. “In Haiti, if you want something for the future of your children, you have to choose wisely and sacrifice,” Ms. Jean-Gilles said. “Me alone, I couldn’t give her what she’s gotten at C.C.F. over the last 10 years. She expresses herself very well, I can say that. People congratulate me. And she wants to be a doctor.”
“More precisely, a pediatrician,” Caroline interjected. A poised, outgoing girl, Caroline has absorbed her mother’s faith in education — “when you go to school, you tether your head securely to your shoulders,” Caroline says — and appreciates her sacrifice.
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“That’s why I work so hard, that’s why I don’t repeat grades, that’s why I have a goal,” Caroline said. Her goal: “I plan to put myself at the service of my country and perhaps of humanity.” Caroline and her mother live in a rental home without electricity outside Port-au-Prince. The house withstood the quake, and Caroline, after nights of praying and singing in the streets with less fortunate neighbors, found herself riddled with survivors’ guilt: “I thought, ‘Why not me?’ Why was I not under the rubble like the others?’ ” In the months that followed, Caroline and her classmates located one another — all the students in her class had survived — and found out who was homeless, who was hurt and who was in mourning. When Caroline learned some were being sent abroad, she begged them not to break up the band of sisters. “I called friends saying, ‘Please, if you leave, that will ruin everything,’ ” Caroline said. “But they had to respect what their parents wanted.” Before school reopened in April, Caroline often accompanied her mother to work, where she used the Internet to look at school photos posted on Facebook by classmates abroad “in order to remember the way we were,” she said. Caroline, describing herself on Facebook as “a teen who adores romanticism,” Skittles and Eminem, posed a defiant question: “And what if we all were to get together, forming a strong solidarity based on love and determination ... Would we not get Haiti back on its feet?” In March C.C.F., its records lost, worked to track down students, one phone call leading to the next and finally to a parents’ meeting in the wrecked school yard.
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Nobody ventured inside to see the startling images: a demolished primary classroom with a teddy bear in clown suit still intact; a tangle of colorful desks violently tossed on a bed of chopped concrete; an assignment from Jan. 12 etched on a blackboard. Jean Wener Jacquitte, whose daughter Meghann, 15, died in their collapsed house, attended the meeting partly to revisit one of her favorite places. “I also wanted to tell them in person that Meghann was gone,” Mr. Jacquitte said, staring at a picture of her on his cellphone. The directors felt overwhelmed by the parents’ determination to start over. “With each parent who said, ‘Yes, my child is alive, and yes, my child will come back,’ we realized we could not close,” Ms. Rousseau said. “We could not let them down.” Some schools tried to recover fees for the three months when they were closed. C.C.F. did not. As a result, the directors did not pay their staff — or themselves — for those months, which upset many teachers. Jeanette Nicaisse, 41, a math teacher there for 25 years, lost her home to the earthquake and gained two new dependents: her mother, whose legs were crushed, and her adult brother, who suffered a disabling head injury. “Obviously, I see the state of the school, and I know they have to spend a lot to fix it,” Ms. Nicaisse said. “But we all have problems. The teachers were very angry. We have a 12-month contract and it wasn’t honored. Now, sometimes, I think, if a better offer came along ...”
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April, the directors gathered the students for a week of group therapy, led by Ms. Craft, a psychologist. In the tents that would serve as their classrooms, the girls stood in circles, clasped hands and reintroduced themselves. “My name is Caroline Begein, and I survived the earthquake of Jan. 12,” began Caroline, who then coaxed a classmate trembling with tears to follow. “My name is Medjina Géné,” she said, “and I, too, survived the earthquake of Jan. 12.” Medjina, whose mother had been injured and had close relatives killed, was in shaky shape. But the group sessions soothed her, she said: “They helped me not to cry and to look at things from another perspective — to have hope, to make new attachments and to let those dear beings I lost remain in my heart.” Eight of 18 10th graders, including Caroline and Medjina, had returned. School days were truncated, grades combined and extras like sports and computers were gone. All but one 10th grader passed their state exams in July, and when they parted, they imagined that 11th grade would be the time they finally put the earthquake behind them.
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In August and September, the directors struggled to find help for expensive demolition and construction work. When the Education Ministry offered no guidance, they used connections to get a government agency to build portable classrooms. The work proceeded slowly, and the directors internalized their anxiety, suffering back aches and chest pains. Things looked bleak. The school had 329 students before the earthquake. By the registration deadline in September, only 19 parents had paid tuition deposits. “I think the earthquake just revealed the cracks that were already there,” Ms. Kenol said. “Everybody’s financial situation was already degraded. Parents were less and less able to pay. We were already thinking that we would need some kind of subsidies.” On that canceled first day of school, the disappointed students regained their equilibrium remarkably fast. After the hardship they had endured since January, this was a minor setback. After classes resumed, the students were thrilled to crawl back inside the school’s cocoon. But new issues kept intruding, like hurricanes and epidemics. Caroline, elected class secretary, organized a discussion club. Asked the topics, she said, “Cholera, cute boys, whatever.” In the final count, some 174 students returned to C.C.F., short of the school’s minimum enrollment to make ends meet. The directors began to harbor serious doubts they could sustain the legacy they inherited. Some parents, like Pierre Richard Milfort, said that if C.C.F. did shut down, he might take advantage of his American visa and abandon Haiti. “It would be a signal that everything really is coming undone,” he said. But Caroline refused to contemplate that her school might die. She put her hand over her ears, said, “No! Stop!” adding, “It would be very disastrous — for me personally and for Haiti.”

The work of the Education Cluster in Haiti (October 2010)

Overseas Development Institute
by Charlotte Lattimer and Andrea Berther
.
The massive earthquake that hit Haiti on 12 January 2010 had a devastating impact on the education sector. Eighty percent of schools – almost 4,000 – were damaged, and an estimated 1.26 million children and youth were affected; large numbers of teachers and other education personnel were killed and injured.[1] In relation to more obvious lifesaving sectors such as food, shelter and health, education typically struggles to achieve visibility and funding within an emergency response operation. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, however, education was accorded a surprisingly high priority. Given the scale of the disaster and the size and complexity of the humanitarian response that followed, the Global Education Cluster conducted a lessons learned exercise to reflect on and learn from the experience in Haiti during the first three months after the earthquake. This article summarises the main points, with a particular emphasis on coordination.
.
Background: The Education Cluster was set up at global level in December 2006 as part of the wider humanitarian reform process to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response. The Global Education Cluster is co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children, with differing leadership at country level. Its vision is to enable all children and young people to have immediate access or ensured continuity to a good-quality education in a safe environment, in order to protect, develop and facilitate a return to normality and stability. To date, Education Clusters have been set up in 38 countries in response to natural disasters and conflict situations. Within days of the earthquake in Haiti, clusters were established to support national authorities to coordinate the humanitarian effort. An Education Cluster was established alongside other clusters and is co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children.
.
Education as a priority in Haiti: The education sector in Haiti was weak even prior to the earthquake. Over 90% of schools were privately run, and families had to pay up to 25% of their income to send their children to school. Estimates vary, but some reports put the proportion of children out of school prior to the earthquake at 50%.[2] Teachers are vastly under-qualified, with 80% failing to meet selection criteria for professional training. Recurrent natural disasters compound the problem by disrupting normal education patterns and exacerbating the political, socio-economic and environmental problems that have greatly constrained Haitians’ access to education.
.
The Education Cluster in Haiti: The initial meetings of the Education Cluster in Haiti were convened by UNESCO in the first week after the earthquake. By week two the Cluster was fully established and functioning under the leadership of UNICEF and Save the Children. In the initial weeks and months after the earthquake, the Education Cluster was responsible for coordinating the work of approximately 175 members from more than 100 organisations. Some 40–50 individuals were regularly present at weekly coordination meetings in Port-au-Prince. Sub-national Education Clusters were set up in Leogane, Petit and Grand Goave and Jacmel, where regular meetings also took place. Working groups were created to focus on specific thematic areas: capacity development/teacher training, psychosocial support (linked to the inter-cluster Psychosocial Task Force), the curriculum, early childhood development (linked to a Task Force bringing together other relevant clusters) and infrastructure/reconstruction. Disaster risk reduction was initially integrated into the work of different groups and later established as a sub-group in its own right. The Education Cluster in Haiti works alongside the pre-existing Education Sector Working Group, led by UNESCO, which focuses on longer-term education support in the development context.
.
Initial activities included a rapid joint needs assessment carried out by 40 data collectors visiting nearly 240 sites and meeting over 2,000 community members. The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies were adapted for use in Haiti, and a detailed strategy for all education actors involved in response and recovery was drawn up for an initial six-month period, in alignment with the strategic priorities of the Ministry of Education. Information management and sharing were facilitated via a common website and tools and services such as a ‘who does what, where and when’ matrix. Education was included within the Flash Appeal issued just after the earthquake. Within the revised Humanitarian Appeal, which requests a total of $1.5 billion across all sectors, education requirements amount to just over $87.5m. At the time of writing, $82m had been received, 94% of total requirements.
.
Achievements of the Education Cluster: The Education Cluster in Haiti has achieved a great deal in extremely challenging circumstances. It is a strong Cluster with broad and inclusive membership, operating entirely in French. Sub-national Clusters support coordination at local level. As a result of Education Cluster programmes, nearly 200,000 children have benefited from temporary learning spaces, over 88,000 children under the age of six have enrolled in early childhood development classes and over 500,000 children have received basic learning materials.[3] The Education Cluster is working closely with the relevant humanitarian and civil–military coordination bodies, and has succeeded in clearing debris from approximately 70% of destroyed and heavily damaged schools on the priority list for 2010. Work is under way with the government to provide grants to non-public schools, giving essential support to ensure that they reopen. An adapted curriculum is being developed with the government to allow children in directly affected areas to accelerate their learning and complete the rest of the school year in 90 days or less. Training for teachers on psychosocial recovery continues, with the target of reaching every school-going child in affected areas.
.
Lessons learned: Capacity and staffing of the Education Cluster The magnitude of the disaster and the complexity and scale of the response called for a massive coordination effort, with unprecedented numbers of staff performing a wide variety of functions. The Education Cluster, like many of the other Clusters, struggled to deploy adequate numbers of skilled and experienced personnel for at least the first month after the earthquake. The fact that the Education Cluster functioned exclusively in French meant that sourcing the right staff was even more problematic than it might have been. Only short-term staff were available, resulting in high turnover and a loss of institutional knowledge with each rotation. Because of the pressure on agencies to deliver and the shortage of deployable personnel, staff deployed to support coordination struggled to balance dual programming and coordination responsibilities.
.
Lessons learned from the experience point to the need for:
.
-Renewed efforts to improve surge capacity for the Education Cluster by agreeing on triggers for rapid response, making better use of existing rosters and exploring new sources of additional deployable capacity through Cluster partners. Options to explore include rapid response teams, internal temporary re-deployment, rosters and stand-by partners.
.
-A move away from deploying individual Cluster Coordinators to deploying teams of staff for large-scale emergencies, with a range of different functions and skills.

Role of the Education Cluster: Different actors approached the Education Cluster with different needs and expectations. Those who were new to Haiti and/or education in emergency response looked to the Cluster for orientation and training. More experienced players expected the Cluster to drive decision-making and improve the quality of the education response. However, in the early weeks of the response the large numbers participating in Cluster meetings made it difficult to go beyond basic information-sharing. The main focus of the response was at sub-national level, yet staffing and resourcing of the sub-national Education Clusters was not prioritised early enough. Similarly, the thematic groups within the Cluster, focusing on areas such as teacher training or psychosocial support, were not adequately resourced. Much of the time of Cluster coordination staff was dominated by reacting to operational issues, leaving little space for strategic or proactive and creative thinking, or for ensuring stronger links between the Cluster’s immediate plans and government/Sector Working Group mid- to longer-term planning.
.
The Haiti experience resulted in several key recommendations in this area:
.
-Take a more decentralised approach to Cluster coordination, focusing on and adequately resourcing sub-national coordination.
.
-Develop benchmarks for Cluster progress, with milestones for what should be done by when.
.
-Prioritise capacity development within Education Clusters, using the INEE Minimum Standards, and adapting existing training packages for Frontline Responders, Ministry of Education officials and Education Cluster Coordinators.
.
Operational issues: There were high expectations within the Education Cluster when it came to areas such as information management, needs assessment, planning and monitoring, advocacy and resource mobilisation. Education Cluster members appreciated the high level of information-sharing that the Cluster facilitated. However, information management within the education sector had been weak prior to the earthquake, with very little reliable data available on schools, students and teachers. The assessments conducted by the Ministry of Education and the Education Cluster provided a snapshot of the situation after the earthquake, but failed to fill this larger information gap. Large amounts of money were mobilised for the humanitarian response in Haiti, but some Cluster members thought that the Education Cluster could have done more to mobilise additional resources earlier, capitalising on donor generosity in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
.
Lessons learned from Haiti point to the need for:
.
-Stronger information management stand-by capacity within the Education Cluster, including deployable experts, agreed tools and templates and databases/systems for adaptation and use in ‘information poor’ environments.
.
-More resources for comprehensive education-related needs assessment to accompany the forthcoming rollout of the Joint Education Needs Assessment Toolkit by the Education Cluster.
.
-Continued efforts to review the inclusion of education in inter-agency appeal processes and guidance for Cluster Coordinators on how to participate in the development of appeals.
.
Partnerships: Government capacity to lead and coordinate education was weak even before the earthquake, and what little capacity existed was devastated by the disaster. There was confusion, including within the government, about the role of the Education Cluster in relation to the pre-existing Education Sector Working Group and other groups. There were good links between the Education Cluster and other clusters relevant to education, such as the Child Protection Sub-Cluster, though duplication of effort was still reported in some areas.
.
Following experiences in Haiti, the Global Education Cluster recommends:
.
-Emphasising the importance of early Education Cluster support to boost government capacity for coordination and leadership, including possible secondments into Ministry of Education offices.
.
-Developing guidance for Education Clusters on agreeing roles, responsibilities and accountabilities with existing sector working groups and with other clusters on potential areas of overlap.
.
Conclusion: The widespread destruction of schools and vast numbers of children and youth affected, combined with an extremely weak, non-state education system prior to the disaster, put extreme pressure on the humanitarian community to respond in a coordinated manner. There needs to be some caution in terms of learning lessons from the Haiti experience, given many of its characteristics are not necessarily transferable to other situations. Having said that, the Education Cluster has been able to extract several useful lessons from its response in Haiti. These lessons will be turned into concrete recommendations and actions that the Education Cluster can implement in the months and years to come, to improve its response to future disasters.
.
Charlotte Lattimer works with Save the Children as Knowledge Management Advisor for the Global Education Cluster Unit in Geneva. Andrea Berther was Education Cluster Coordinator in Haiti between January and April 2010. She is currently Regional Education Specialist, Emergencies, UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office.

The work of the Education Cluster in Haiti (October 2010)

Overseas Development Institute
by Charlotte Lattimer and Andrea Berther
.
The massive earthquake that hit Haiti on 12 January 2010 had a devastating impact on the education sector. Eighty percent of schools – almost 4,000 – were damaged, and an estimated 1.26 million children and youth were affected; large numbers of teachers and other education personnel were killed and injured.[1] In relation to more obvious lifesaving sectors such as food, shelter and health, education typically struggles to achieve visibility and funding within an emergency response operation. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, however, education was accorded a surprisingly high priority. Given the scale of the disaster and the size and complexity of the humanitarian response that followed, the Global Education Cluster conducted a lessons learned exercise to reflect on and learn from the experience in Haiti during the first three months after the earthquake. This article summarises the main points, with a particular emphasis on coordination.
.
Background: The Education Cluster was set up at global level in December 2006 as part of the wider humanitarian reform process to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response. The Global Education Cluster is co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children, with differing leadership at country level. Its vision is to enable all children and young people to have immediate access or ensured continuity to a good-quality education in a safe environment, in order to protect, develop and facilitate a return to normality and stability. To date, Education Clusters have been set up in 38 countries in response to natural disasters and conflict situations. Within days of the earthquake in Haiti, clusters were established to support national authorities to coordinate the humanitarian effort. An Education Cluster was established alongside other clusters and is co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children.
.
Education as a priority in Haiti: The education sector in Haiti was weak even prior to the earthquake. Over 90% of schools were privately run, and families had to pay up to 25% of their income to send their children to school. Estimates vary, but some reports put the proportion of children out of school prior to the earthquake at 50%.[2] Teachers are vastly under-qualified, with 80% failing to meet selection criteria for professional training. Recurrent natural disasters compound the problem by disrupting normal education patterns and exacerbating the political, socio-economic and environmental problems that have greatly constrained Haitians’ access to education.
.
The Education Cluster in Haiti: The initial meetings of the Education Cluster in Haiti were convened by UNESCO in the first week after the earthquake. By week two the Cluster was fully established and functioning under the leadership of UNICEF and Save the Children. In the initial weeks and months after the earthquake, the Education Cluster was responsible for coordinating the work of approximately 175 members from more than 100 organisations. Some 40–50 individuals were regularly present at weekly coordination meetings in Port-au-Prince. Sub-national Education Clusters were set up in Leogane, Petit and Grand Goave and Jacmel, where regular meetings also took place. Working groups were created to focus on specific thematic areas: capacity development/teacher training, psychosocial support (linked to the inter-cluster Psychosocial Task Force), the curriculum, early childhood development (linked to a Task Force bringing together other relevant clusters) and infrastructure/reconstruction. Disaster risk reduction was initially integrated into the work of different groups and later established as a sub-group in its own right. The Education Cluster in Haiti works alongside the pre-existing Education Sector Working Group, led by UNESCO, which focuses on longer-term education support in the development context.
.
Initial activities included a rapid joint needs assessment carried out by 40 data collectors visiting nearly 240 sites and meeting over 2,000 community members. The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies were adapted for use in Haiti, and a detailed strategy for all education actors involved in response and recovery was drawn up for an initial six-month period, in alignment with the strategic priorities of the Ministry of Education. Information management and sharing were facilitated via a common website and tools and services such as a ‘who does what, where and when’ matrix. Education was included within the Flash Appeal issued just after the earthquake. Within the revised Humanitarian Appeal, which requests a total of $1.5 billion across all sectors, education requirements amount to just over $87.5m. At the time of writing, $82m had been received, 94% of total requirements.
.
Achievements of the Education Cluster: The Education Cluster in Haiti has achieved a great deal in extremely challenging circumstances. It is a strong Cluster with broad and inclusive membership, operating entirely in French. Sub-national Clusters support coordination at local level. As a result of Education Cluster programmes, nearly 200,000 children have benefited from temporary learning spaces, over 88,000 children under the age of six have enrolled in early childhood development classes and over 500,000 children have received basic learning materials.[3] The Education Cluster is working closely with the relevant humanitarian and civil–military coordination bodies, and has succeeded in clearing debris from approximately 70% of destroyed and heavily damaged schools on the priority list for 2010. Work is under way with the government to provide grants to non-public schools, giving essential support to ensure that they reopen. An adapted curriculum is being developed with the government to allow children in directly affected areas to accelerate their learning and complete the rest of the school year in 90 days or less. Training for teachers on psychosocial recovery continues, with the target of reaching every school-going child in affected areas.
.
Lessons learned: Capacity and staffing of the Education Cluster The magnitude of the disaster and the complexity and scale of the response called for a massive coordination effort, with unprecedented numbers of staff performing a wide variety of functions. The Education Cluster, like many of the other Clusters, struggled to deploy adequate numbers of skilled and experienced personnel for at least the first month after the earthquake. The fact that the Education Cluster functioned exclusively in French meant that sourcing the right staff was even more problematic than it might have been. Only short-term staff were available, resulting in high turnover and a loss of institutional knowledge with each rotation. Because of the pressure on agencies to deliver and the shortage of deployable personnel, staff deployed to support coordination struggled to balance dual programming and coordination responsibilities.
.
Lessons learned from the experience point to the need for:
.
-Renewed efforts to improve surge capacity for the Education Cluster by agreeing on triggers for rapid response, making better use of existing rosters and exploring new sources of additional deployable capacity through Cluster partners. Options to explore include rapid response teams, internal temporary re-deployment, rosters and stand-by partners.
.
-A move away from deploying individual Cluster Coordinators to deploying teams of staff for large-scale emergencies, with a range of different functions and skills.

Role of the Education Cluster: Different actors approached the Education Cluster with different needs and expectations. Those who were new to Haiti and/or education in emergency response looked to the Cluster for orientation and training. More experienced players expected the Cluster to drive decision-making and improve the quality of the education response. However, in the early weeks of the response the large numbers participating in Cluster meetings made it difficult to go beyond basic information-sharing. The main focus of the response was at sub-national level, yet staffing and resourcing of the sub-national Education Clusters was not prioritised early enough. Similarly, the thematic groups within the Cluster, focusing on areas such as teacher training or psychosocial support, were not adequately resourced. Much of the time of Cluster coordination staff was dominated by reacting to operational issues, leaving little space for strategic or proactive and creative thinking, or for ensuring stronger links between the Cluster’s immediate plans and government/Sector Working Group mid- to longer-term planning.
.
The Haiti experience resulted in several key recommendations in this area:
.
-Take a more decentralised approach to Cluster coordination, focusing on and adequately resourcing sub-national coordination.
.
-Develop benchmarks for Cluster progress, with milestones for what should be done by when.
.
-Prioritise capacity development within Education Clusters, using the INEE Minimum Standards, and adapting existing training packages for Frontline Responders, Ministry of Education officials and Education Cluster Coordinators.
.
Operational issues: There were high expectations within the Education Cluster when it came to areas such as information management, needs assessment, planning and monitoring, advocacy and resource mobilisation. Education Cluster members appreciated the high level of information-sharing that the Cluster facilitated. However, information management within the education sector had been weak prior to the earthquake, with very little reliable data available on schools, students and teachers. The assessments conducted by the Ministry of Education and the Education Cluster provided a snapshot of the situation after the earthquake, but failed to fill this larger information gap. Large amounts of money were mobilised for the humanitarian response in Haiti, but some Cluster members thought that the Education Cluster could have done more to mobilise additional resources earlier, capitalising on donor generosity in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
.
Lessons learned from Haiti point to the need for:
.
-Stronger information management stand-by capacity within the Education Cluster, including deployable experts, agreed tools and templates and databases/systems for adaptation and use in ‘information poor’ environments.
.
-More resources for comprehensive education-related needs assessment to accompany the forthcoming rollout of the Joint Education Needs Assessment Toolkit by the Education Cluster.
.
-Continued efforts to review the inclusion of education in inter-agency appeal processes and guidance for Cluster Coordinators on how to participate in the development of appeals.
.
Partnerships: Government capacity to lead and coordinate education was weak even before the earthquake, and what little capacity existed was devastated by the disaster. There was confusion, including within the government, about the role of the Education Cluster in relation to the pre-existing Education Sector Working Group and other groups. There were good links between the Education Cluster and other clusters relevant to education, such as the Child Protection Sub-Cluster, though duplication of effort was still reported in some areas.
.
Following experiences in Haiti, the Global Education Cluster recommends:
.
-Emphasising the importance of early Education Cluster support to boost government capacity for coordination and leadership, including possible secondments into Ministry of Education offices.
.
-Developing guidance for Education Clusters on agreeing roles, responsibilities and accountabilities with existing sector working groups and with other clusters on potential areas of overlap.
.
Conclusion: The widespread destruction of schools and vast numbers of children and youth affected, combined with an extremely weak, non-state education system prior to the disaster, put extreme pressure on the humanitarian community to respond in a coordinated manner. There needs to be some caution in terms of learning lessons from the Haiti experience, given many of its characteristics are not necessarily transferable to other situations. Having said that, the Education Cluster has been able to extract several useful lessons from its response in Haiti. These lessons will be turned into concrete recommendations and actions that the Education Cluster can implement in the months and years to come, to improve its response to future disasters.
.
Charlotte Lattimer works with Save the Children as Knowledge Management Advisor for the Global Education Cluster Unit in Geneva. Andrea Berther was Education Cluster Coordinator in Haiti between January and April 2010. She is currently Regional Education Specialist, Emergencies, UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office.

The work of the Education Cluster in Haiti (October 2010)

Overseas Development Institute
by Charlotte Lattimer and Andrea Berther
.
The massive earthquake that hit Haiti on 12 January 2010 had a devastating impact on the education sector. Eighty percent of schools – almost 4,000 – were damaged, and an estimated 1.26 million children and youth were affected; large numbers of teachers and other education personnel were killed and injured.[1] In relation to more obvious lifesaving sectors such as food, shelter and health, education typically struggles to achieve visibility and funding within an emergency response operation. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, however, education was accorded a surprisingly high priority. Given the scale of the disaster and the size and complexity of the humanitarian response that followed, the Global Education Cluster conducted a lessons learned exercise to reflect on and learn from the experience in Haiti during the first three months after the earthquake. This article summarises the main points, with a particular emphasis on coordination.
.
Background: The Education Cluster was set up at global level in December 2006 as part of the wider humanitarian reform process to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response. The Global Education Cluster is co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children, with differing leadership at country level. Its vision is to enable all children and young people to have immediate access or ensured continuity to a good-quality education in a safe environment, in order to protect, develop and facilitate a return to normality and stability. To date, Education Clusters have been set up in 38 countries in response to natural disasters and conflict situations. Within days of the earthquake in Haiti, clusters were established to support national authorities to coordinate the humanitarian effort. An Education Cluster was established alongside other clusters and is co-led by UNICEF and Save the Children.
.
Education as a priority in Haiti: The education sector in Haiti was weak even prior to the earthquake. Over 90% of schools were privately run, and families had to pay up to 25% of their income to send their children to school. Estimates vary, but some reports put the proportion of children out of school prior to the earthquake at 50%.[2] Teachers are vastly under-qualified, with 80% failing to meet selection criteria for professional training. Recurrent natural disasters compound the problem by disrupting normal education patterns and exacerbating the political, socio-economic and environmental problems that have greatly constrained Haitians’ access to education.
.
The Education Cluster in Haiti: The initial meetings of the Education Cluster in Haiti were convened by UNESCO in the first week after the earthquake. By week two the Cluster was fully established and functioning under the leadership of UNICEF and Save the Children. In the initial weeks and months after the earthquake, the Education Cluster was responsible for coordinating the work of approximately 175 members from more than 100 organisations. Some 40–50 individuals were regularly present at weekly coordination meetings in Port-au-Prince. Sub-national Education Clusters were set up in Leogane, Petit and Grand Goave and Jacmel, where regular meetings also took place. Working groups were created to focus on specific thematic areas: capacity development/teacher training, psychosocial support (linked to the inter-cluster Psychosocial Task Force), the curriculum, early childhood development (linked to a Task Force bringing together other relevant clusters) and infrastructure/reconstruction. Disaster risk reduction was initially integrated into the work of different groups and later established as a sub-group in its own right. The Education Cluster in Haiti works alongside the pre-existing Education Sector Working Group, led by UNESCO, which focuses on longer-term education support in the development context.
.
Initial activities included a rapid joint needs assessment carried out by 40 data collectors visiting nearly 240 sites and meeting over 2,000 community members. The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies were adapted for use in Haiti, and a detailed strategy for all education actors involved in response and recovery was drawn up for an initial six-month period, in alignment with the strategic priorities of the Ministry of Education. Information management and sharing were facilitated via a common website and tools and services such as a ‘who does what, where and when’ matrix. Education was included within the Flash Appeal issued just after the earthquake. Within the revised Humanitarian Appeal, which requests a total of $1.5 billion across all sectors, education requirements amount to just over $87.5m. At the time of writing, $82m had been received, 94% of total requirements.
.
Achievements of the Education Cluster: The Education Cluster in Haiti has achieved a great deal in extremely challenging circumstances. It is a strong Cluster with broad and inclusive membership, operating entirely in French. Sub-national Clusters support coordination at local level. As a result of Education Cluster programmes, nearly 200,000 children have benefited from temporary learning spaces, over 88,000 children under the age of six have enrolled in early childhood development classes and over 500,000 children have received basic learning materials.[3] The Education Cluster is working closely with the relevant humanitarian and civil–military coordination bodies, and has succeeded in clearing debris from approximately 70% of destroyed and heavily damaged schools on the priority list for 2010. Work is under way with the government to provide grants to non-public schools, giving essential support to ensure that they reopen. An adapted curriculum is being developed with the government to allow children in directly affected areas to accelerate their learning and complete the rest of the school year in 90 days or less. Training for teachers on psychosocial recovery continues, with the target of reaching every school-going child in affected areas.
.
Lessons learned: Capacity and staffing of the Education Cluster The magnitude of the disaster and the complexity and scale of the response called for a massive coordination effort, with unprecedented numbers of staff performing a wide variety of functions. The Education Cluster, like many of the other Clusters, struggled to deploy adequate numbers of skilled and experienced personnel for at least the first month after the earthquake. The fact that the Education Cluster functioned exclusively in French meant that sourcing the right staff was even more problematic than it might have been. Only short-term staff were available, resulting in high turnover and a loss of institutional knowledge with each rotation. Because of the pressure on agencies to deliver and the shortage of deployable personnel, staff deployed to support coordination struggled to balance dual programming and coordination responsibilities.
.
Lessons learned from the experience point to the need for:
.
-Renewed efforts to improve surge capacity for the Education Cluster by agreeing on triggers for rapid response, making better use of existing rosters and exploring new sources of additional deployable capacity through Cluster partners. Options to explore include rapid response teams, internal temporary re-deployment, rosters and stand-by partners.
.
-A move away from deploying individual Cluster Coordinators to deploying teams of staff for large-scale emergencies, with a range of different functions and skills.

Role of the Education Cluster: Different actors approached the Education Cluster with different needs and expectations. Those who were new to Haiti and/or education in emergency response looked to the Cluster for orientation and training. More experienced players expected the Cluster to drive decision-making and improve the quality of the education response. However, in the early weeks of the response the large numbers participating in Cluster meetings made it difficult to go beyond basic information-sharing. The main focus of the response was at sub-national level, yet staffing and resourcing of the sub-national Education Clusters was not prioritised early enough. Similarly, the thematic groups within the Cluster, focusing on areas such as teacher training or psychosocial support, were not adequately resourced. Much of the time of Cluster coordination staff was dominated by reacting to operational issues, leaving little space for strategic or proactive and creative thinking, or for ensuring stronger links between the Cluster’s immediate plans and government/Sector Working Group mid- to longer-term planning.
.
The Haiti experience resulted in several key recommendations in this area:
.
-Take a more decentralised approach to Cluster coordination, focusing on and adequately resourcing sub-national coordination.
.
-Develop benchmarks for Cluster progress, with milestones for what should be done by when.
.
-Prioritise capacity development within Education Clusters, using the INEE Minimum Standards, and adapting existing training packages for Frontline Responders, Ministry of Education officials and Education Cluster Coordinators.
.
Operational issues: There were high expectations within the Education Cluster when it came to areas such as information management, needs assessment, planning and monitoring, advocacy and resource mobilisation. Education Cluster members appreciated the high level of information-sharing that the Cluster facilitated. However, information management within the education sector had been weak prior to the earthquake, with very little reliable data available on schools, students and teachers. The assessments conducted by the Ministry of Education and the Education Cluster provided a snapshot of the situation after the earthquake, but failed to fill this larger information gap. Large amounts of money were mobilised for the humanitarian response in Haiti, but some Cluster members thought that the Education Cluster could have done more to mobilise additional resources earlier, capitalising on donor generosity in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.
.
Lessons learned from Haiti point to the need for:
.
-Stronger information management stand-by capacity within the Education Cluster, including deployable experts, agreed tools and templates and databases/systems for adaptation and use in ‘information poor’ environments.
.
-More resources for comprehensive education-related needs assessment to accompany the forthcoming rollout of the Joint Education Needs Assessment Toolkit by the Education Cluster.
.
-Continued efforts to review the inclusion of education in inter-agency appeal processes and guidance for Cluster Coordinators on how to participate in the development of appeals.
.
Partnerships: Government capacity to lead and coordinate education was weak even before the earthquake, and what little capacity existed was devastated by the disaster. There was confusion, including within the government, about the role of the Education Cluster in relation to the pre-existing Education Sector Working Group and other groups. There were good links between the Education Cluster and other clusters relevant to education, such as the Child Protection Sub-Cluster, though duplication of effort was still reported in some areas.
.
Following experiences in Haiti, the Global Education Cluster recommends:
.
-Emphasising the importance of early Education Cluster support to boost government capacity for coordination and leadership, including possible secondments into Ministry of Education offices.
.
-Developing guidance for Education Clusters on agreeing roles, responsibilities and accountabilities with existing sector working groups and with other clusters on potential areas of overlap.
.
Conclusion: The widespread destruction of schools and vast numbers of children and youth affected, combined with an extremely weak, non-state education system prior to the disaster, put extreme pressure on the humanitarian community to respond in a coordinated manner. There needs to be some caution in terms of learning lessons from the Haiti experience, given many of its characteristics are not necessarily transferable to other situations. Having said that, the Education Cluster has been able to extract several useful lessons from its response in Haiti. These lessons will be turned into concrete recommendations and actions that the Education Cluster can implement in the months and years to come, to improve its response to future disasters.
.
Charlotte Lattimer works with Save the Children as Knowledge Management Advisor for the Global Education Cluster Unit in Geneva. Andrea Berther was Education Cluster Coordinator in Haiti between January and April 2010. She is currently Regional Education Specialist, Emergencies, UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office.

Haiti Resumes Education Campaign Supported by Cuba

10/6/2010
Prensa Latina
.
The Haitian government resumed the literacy campaign in the North, Northeast, West, South and Southeast provinces with the educational method "Yo, si puedo" (Yes, I can), supported by Cuba and Venezuela. The authorities expect that 240, 000 people in these provinces will benefit from the program, which involved 150 Cuban supervisors, facilitators and 15 technicians. To achieve this purpose, the Haitian government set up more than 9, 000 schools in the territories chosen to implement the project in the next 22 months. Cuba also assists the local executive with visual tools while Venezuela has the financial support, about five million dollars.
.
Since the beginning of educational cooperation in Haiti 10 years ago, the Cuban teachers have been taught to read and write to more than 160 thousand illiterate with the method "Yo, si puedo." The reopening of the campaign coincides with the start of school year in Haiti, nine months after the quake that caused more than 220 people dead, 1.5 million people homeless and damaged the infrastructure collapsed in the capital and three other cities Classes officially began on Monday in all state schools.

From Relief to Development: Next Steps for Education

10/6/2010
Brookings Institution
.
In the 10 months since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, humanitarian relief and recovery have been the primary focus of work on the ground. In the education sector, schools and classrooms have been rehabilitated, teachers have been retrained, and children have received necessary learning materials. Yet, these activities have only reached a subset of the population and represent only a small portion of what is needed to rehabilitate and renew education in Haiti. At the same time, the Haitian government, with the support of the international community, has developed a comprehensive education sector strategy, which has recently been approved by the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.
.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
.
Saul/Zilkha Rooms
The Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC
.
Contact: Brookings Office of Communications
.
E-mail: events@brookings.edu
.
Phone: 202.797.6105
.
On October 14, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings will host a discussion of education in Haiti since the January earthquake. Panelists include Marcelo Cabrol of the Inter-American Development Bank, Lisa Doherty of UNICEF, and Peter Holland of the World Bank. They will also reflect on coordination efforts, including the work of the Education Cluster, the inter-agency group which organizes responses in education during humanitarian emergencies, and the transition from emergency relief to longer-term recovery and development.
.
Brookings Nonresident Fellow Allison Anderson will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion. After the program, the panelists will take audience questions.
.
Nonresident Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Center for Universal Education Panelists Marcelo Cabrol
.
Chief, Education Division, Inter-American Development Bank Lisa Doherty
.
Regional Education in Emergencies Specialist, Eastern and Southern Africa, UNICEF
Peter Holland
.
Education Specialist and Team Leader Haiti, The World Bank

Education Cracks in Haiti (IPS - 10/6/2010)

By A. D. McKenzie
.
When Angelique tells her story, sadness and anger are mixed in her voice. She's a student at the bustling University of Paris 8 here, but her country and family are never far from her thoughts. Earlier this year, she lost her home and her old college when the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake hit Haiti. Angelique (who asked that her real name not be used for this article) was at her part-job in the hills of Port-au-Prince at the time, and escaped injury. But when she made it home she found that three people had been killed in the house that she shared with others. The State University of Haiti, where she was studying sociology and from which she should have graduated last June, had also been badly damaged. Angelique, 28, thought her future had been lost in the rubble, until friends in France offered to help.
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Her benefactors included Jean Digne, president of the little known Montparnasse Museum, who has been active in efforts to assist Haitian artists and students, through exhibitions, seminars and other events. Angelique now plans to graduate next June and would like to do a master's in communications afterwards. "There has been a lot of talk about scholarships for Haitian students, but I haven't received any scholarship, neither from the French government nor the government of Haiti," Angelique says. "It's my friends who have helped me. The Haitian government seems only interested in the upcoming elections. That's all they talk about now."
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Angelique says that even before the earthquake, conditions at the State University of Haiti left a lot to be desired. "We had a shortage of books in the library and many of the officials didn't seem interested in the students," she told IPS. "The government wasn't doing much then and hasn't been doing anything for the university since the earthquake." Apart from the rebuilding of colleges, Angelique says she hopes the international community focuses on providing food and security for her compatriots. She says that many of her friends have not been lucky enough to continue their studies in Haiti. Some have stopped pursuing an education and have started working. Others, reluctantly, have opted to leave.
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According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Haiti faces multiple challenges in the higher education sector. The country has one government university and some 200 private higher-education institutions, which charged relatively high fees before the earthquake. Fewer than 50 of these colleges are recognised by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, leading to questions about their quality. "Many universities and higher education institutions lost students, teachers, buildings, and equipment," says Bechir Lamine, a UNESCO representative in Port-au-Prince. "Hardly any statistics exist as to the scale of such a loss."
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One of the leading non-public universities (Quisqueya) was left practically without any buildings, not even its latest acquisition "inaugurated barely one month before the earthquake," Lamine told IPS in an e-mail interview. Quisqueya has been holding some of its classes in tents. A significant issue for Haitian universities after the earthquake is that they are threatened with losing their students, contributing to the brain-drain from which the Caribbean nation already suffered, according to education experts. An estimated 85 percent of college-educated Haitians live abroad, driven away by instability, poverty, violence and other ills.
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"Many parents are sending their children to neighbouring Dominican Republic or other countries to ensure that they continue their studies," Lamine said. "Most non-public universities perceive this as a threat because it'll deprive them of their students, of their income, and as a consequence, of their teachers." Another issue has to do with replacing lost buildings and equipment. Some colleges have received equipment from overseas institutions, such as the new computers that the information technology institute ESIH got from Virgina Tech and IBM in the United States.
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But "donor money is not forthcoming and therefore many are faced with difficulties in ensuring classes for the current academic year," Lamine said. "Tents and light shelters are used but there are fears the hurricane season could jeopardise all ongoing efforts." Right after the earthquake, many offers of scholarships and other educational assistance poured into Haiti -- from the United States, Canada, Brazil, other Caribbean countries and European nations. But most students have found it difficult to act on these offers, as files were lost in the earthquake and mere survival has taken precedence in some cases, says Dr. Samuel Pierre, a Haitian-born professor at the École Polytechnique de Montréal.
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Pierre, who has been leading a programme to help Haitian students studying in Canada, says that more work needs to be done, including better coordination of efforts and the follow-through on donations. "We have to keep calling on the countries that have given a commitment to provide aid, because they've made promises but nothing has been done," he told IPS. At the institutional level, universities have taken the lead to assist in several cases. In Canada, most big universities cancelled fees for Haitian students over the last academic year, with some 200 students benefiting in Quebec, Pierre said. There is also a move to send some teachers to Haiti to assist with courses.
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In the Caribbean, the University of the West Indies (UWI) has accepted 79 students from Haiti for the new academic year, says Dr. Matthew Smith, a professor of history at the UWI campus in Jamaica and co-coordinator of the university's assistance to Haiti. In the United States, offers have been made by dozens of universities, but there are problems with language as only a limited number of Haitian students have the English language skills to study at U.S. institutions. Meanwhile, Brazil, a Portuguese-speaking country which has an abundance of university spaces and not enough qualified students to fill them, has offered 500 scholarships.
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For higher education, the Haitian government has earmarked only 1 percent, or about 53 million dollars of the 5.3 billion dollars pledged by donors, but experts are pushing for more focus on universities, especially so that students can stay and contribute to the reconstruction efforts. They know that many who leave may never return. (END)

USAID Provides New Schools to Earthquake Affected Communities

9/10/2010
United States Agency for International Development
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In Léogâne, the town that was the epicenter of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, you see signs of recovery and life resuming. People have returned to markets to sell their crops and wares, rubble is being removed from key thorough fares, and schools are being rebuilt. On August 25, USAID and the Digicel Foundation inaugurated École Louis de Borno, the first school built under a new public-private partnership to construct new schools for people affected by the earthquake. Approximately 50 schools are planned that benefit up to 30,000 children.
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"Immediately after the earthquake, 4,800 schools were damaged or destroyed. USAID is proud to play a role in helping children return to school through a number of our projects," said USAID Haiti Mission Director Carleene Dei. "This new partnership with Digicel illustrates USAID's commitment of exploring new and innovative approaches meet the educational, economic development and job-training needs of Haitian communities." Under the USAID partnership, some of the schools will be constructed with U.S. military shipping containers which are being converted into school campuses. USAID procured about 100 shipping containers that had been used as part of the Joint Task Force-Haiti's humanitarian mission in the aftermath of the earthquake.
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The project is also employing youth for the construction of the schools through the USAID-funded IDEJEN livelihood initiative. IDEJEN provides out-of-school youth ages 15-24 with basic, non-formal education and vocational training. This effort, which will employ up to 100 people at a pre-fabrication plan in addition to those on site assembly will serve to get money to Haitian families in need, stimulate the economy and help develop a workforce able to participate in upcoming reconstruction efforts.

Teaching Resources in Kreyol and French (9/12/2010)

By Emmanuel W. VEDRINE
evedrine@hotmail.com,
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(a) YON KOUDEY SOU PWOBLEM LEKOL AYITI (a look at the problem of schools in Haiti) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/koudey.pdf
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(b) SEZON SECHRES AYITI (novel depicting the plight of Haitian peasants) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/sezon.pdf
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(c) PETIT LEXIQUE DU CREOLE HAITIEN (historical linguistics) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/lexique.pdf
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(d) KOZE LANMOU I & II (love poems in Haitian Creole) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/koze.php
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(e) 100 KESYON & REPONS POU EKZAMEN SITWAYÈNTE AMERIKÈN (bilingual document: Kreyol - English) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/sitwayente.pdf
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(f) PEYI M RELE AYITI (bilingual document: Kreyol – English; historical document)
http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/peyi.php
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(g) YON PANORAMA SIVILIZASYON ENDYEN AYISYEN (bilingual document: Kreyol - French, Kreyol - English) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/panorama.php
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(h) KONVÈSASYON KAT TI ZANMI KI TE NAN HIGH SCHOOL (bilingual document: Kreyol – English; sketch) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/konvesasyon.php
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(i) KREYOL LESSONS FOR BEGINNERS (bilingual document: Kreyol - English; booklet for learners of Kreyol) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/kreyol.pdf
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(j) A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THESES & DISSERTATIONS RELATED TO HAITI (20th Century) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/bibliography.html
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(k) A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THESES AND DISSERTATIONS RELATED TO HAITI (From 2001-2004) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/theses.php
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(l) A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THESES AND DISSERTATIONS RELATED TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
http://www.potomitan.info/bibliographie/dominicana/dominicana_biblio.php
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(m) PATH TO THE MOST EVER PUBLISHED BIBLIOGRAPHY RESEARCH ON HAITIAN CREOLE http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/path2.php (bibliographical document on Kreyol)
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(n) MANJE KREYÒ: RESÈT POU KÈK PLA AYISYEN (bilingual document: Kreyol - English; learning how to cook Haitian food) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/reset.php
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(o) IDE POU KREYE YON 'HIGH SCHOOL AYISYEN' PRIVE NAN BOSTON (Ideas to found a private high school in Boston) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/idepou.pdf
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(p) ENPÒTANS POU DEKWOCHE YON DIPLÒM FEN ETID SEGONDÈ (On the importance of high a school diploma; bilingual document: Kreyol - French) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/diplom.php
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(q) BÈBÈ GÒLGOTA: IN SEARCH OF CITIZENSHIP WITH DIGNITY
(bilingual document: English – Kreyol) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/golgota.php (book review)
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(r) DISKOU BARACK OBAMA (Obama’s acceptance speech) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/obama.php
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(s) SUZANNE COMHAIRE-SYLVAIN: a bibliography of her publications http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/suzanne_comhaire.php
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(t) AGRIKILTI TA DWE PREMYE SIB NAN DEVLOPMAN AYITI (Bilingual document: Kreyol - English) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/agrik.pdf ; http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/agriculture.pdf
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(u) KEK PLANT KREYOL AK NON YO AN LATEN | Some Creole plants and their names in Latin http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/kek_plant.php
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(v) ANN PALE DE BWA AK FRI AYITI! (On trees and fruits in Haiti) http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/bwa.php
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(w) LE REBOISEMENT D’HAÏTI, UN DEFI POLITIQUE ET ENVIRONNEMENTAL http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/reboiser.php ; Kisa k dwe fèt reyèlman pou rebwaze Ayiti? http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/reforest.php#k ; What’s really needed to be done to reforest Haiti? http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/reforest.php
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(x) AYITI : POU YON EDIKASYON PRATIK LÈ VANDREDI (Haiti: for a practical education on Fridays)
http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/vandredi.php http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/vandredi.php#a
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(y) BOUKAN DIFE LITERATI AK JOEL LORQUET: a collection of articles & interviews http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/lorquet.pdf
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(z) E. W. Vedrine’s complete works on Haitian Creole & and Haiti (20 years of publications) http://potomitan.info/vedrine/index.php

NTID Graduate Plans to Open School for the Deaf in Haiti

8/28/2010
YNN News
By Sheba Clarke
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Instead of graduating college and jumping into a career like most students, RIT Grad Tara Thorn, 24, picked up and moved to Haiti. It's for a cause she says is greater than her own. According to Thorn, when you have a calling in life, it's best to answer it. Thorn recently graduated from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. And she just figured that bit of wisdom out. "My heart has always been with the deaf community," said Thorn.
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Two months ago, Thorn took a trip to Haiti to work at an orphanage. She was there with family members who are missionaries. "It was about 5 months after, but it looked like it hit 5 days before," said Thorn. She says although she came back here, her heart stayed there. "I just completely fell for that culture and those people and knew that it was the place for me."
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Tara decided to move to Haiti. She plans to open up her own school for the deaf just an hour north of Port-Au-Prince. "I just saw a need for education and for life," said Tara. "I feel that I'm the person that can do this. I'm the person that can give up my life here, and make the sacrifices that we've been making to pick up and move there."
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The vision came to Tara only two months ago. Right now, she's in the process of collecting donations through her website Haitianschoolforthedeaf.com. And she's working to become a 501(c3) non-profit organization. "Once that happens, we'll be able to get quickly through the Haitian government and become a school, find a building, and get some students in it," she said. Tara says funding opportunities and support are already knocking. To her, it's confirmation that her plan is her purpose. "I have a lot of support behind it. A lot of support behind me; it's such a blessing on my heart,” said Tara.

Digicel Foundation and USG Partner to Build Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2010
Press Office: 202-712-4320
Public Information: 202-712-4810
www.usaid.gov
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The first school built under an innovative public-private partnership was opened today by the Digicel Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). École Louis de Borno in Léogâne, the town which was epicenter of the earthquake, now stands ready to welcome 600 primary students when the new school year begins on October 4th. The school is the first of 50 planned by the Digicel Foundation, providing permanent and transitional schools for up to 30,000 children, at two school shifts per day. Under the USAID partnership, some of these schools will be constructed with US military shipping containers which are being converted into school campuses to replace those destroyed in the earthquake.
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USAID procured about 100 shipping containers that had been used as part of the Joint Task Force-Haiti's humanitarian mission in the aftermath of the earthquake. The school in Léogâne will also receive a generous donation of classroom and reference books from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti's Public Affairs Section. "We are very happy to see the work of so many people come to fruition today," said Mme. Josefa Gauthier, Executive Chairman of the Digicel Foundation. "The Foundation, USAID, IDEJEN, engineering company Kentz and the management of the school have created something totally new in response to the needs of Haitian children after the earthquake. I am especially pleased that the school offers such a child-friendly learning environment compared to other transitional options."
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The project is also employing youth for the construction of the schools through the USAID-funded IDEJEN livelihood initiative. IDEJEN provides out-of-school youth ages 15 to 24 with basic, non-formal education and vocational training. This effort, which will employ up to 100 people at a pre-fabrication plant in addition to those on site assembly, will serve to get money to Haitian families in need, stimulate the economy, and help develop a workforce able to participate in upcoming reconstruction efforts.
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Immediately after the earthquake, in which 4,800 schools were damaged or destroyed, the Digicel Foundation committed to building 50 schools. Up to 15 will be modular schools, with on average six 51-square-meter classrooms. Each classroom is composed of two specially ventilated 20-foot shipping containers. The schools will also have administration offices and sanitation, and will be furnished with school desks, benches and blackboards by the Foundation. The modular schools have a construction time of about four weeks on site and although considered transitional, can last up to 10 years if necessary.
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"In the aftermath of the earthquake, in which so many schools were destroyed and livelihoods interrupted, the need for this work is even more critical," said USAID Haiti Mission Director Carleene Dei. "This partnership with Digicel illustrates USAID's commitment to exploring new and innovative approaches to addressing these challenges. This unique effort will simultaneously help tackle the educational, economic development, and job-training needs of Haitian communities through the more than fifty school construction projects planned." Work is already beginning on the next sites, also in the Léogâne area, for modular schools constructed through this partnership.
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About the Digicel Foundation: The Digicel Foundation Haiti was established by the mobile telecommunications company Digicel in 2007 to support education and community projects throughout Haiti. For more information, go to http://www.fondationdigicelhaiti.org/
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About the U.S. Agency for International Development:
Through USAID, the American people have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. For more information on USAID, please visit http://www.usaid.gov. You may also learn more about USAID-funded IDEJEN livelihood initiative at http://idejen.edc.org/.
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For more information, please contact:
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Elizabeth Headon, Digicel Foundation,
Elizabeth.Headon@digicelgroup.com, +509 3700 7031
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Janice Laurente, USAID
jlaurentehaiti@usaid.gov, +509 3701 8039

Plan for activities and physio school in Haiti revealed (8/22/20

Otago Daily Times
By Robyn Couper
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A proposal to establish a physiotherapy and occupational school in the Haitian city of Cap-Haitien is being investigated by a North Otago trust as one way to help the country's people recover from January's devastating earthquake. The project was announced yesterday afternoon by Project Hearts and Hands for Haiti (HHH), which has already raised about $120,000 for medical relief teams to go to there. One team has not long returned and another will go back in January with surgeons, anaesthetists and physiotherapists. At a public meeting attended by about 120 people in Oamaru yesterday, the achievements of the team, based at St Justinien's Hospital in Cap-Haitien, was outlined, along with plans for more long term aid.
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Most earthquake victims suffer orthopaedic injuries, but the country lacks trained physiotherapists and occupational therapists. In the first team funded by the North Otago community to go to Haiti, there were three physiotherapists who not only assisted patients but also started training three physiotherapist assistants at a unit set up by the University of Miami. Former Waitaki mayor Alan McLay went across to join the team, with a role of deciding "where we go from here". "My job was to look at what had been done and how we could operate in the future effectively," he said.
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Education was the key and a site, owned by the Evangelical Church, for a possible physiotherapy school about 10km from the city centre had been identified. It had two buildings, one of which was "revivable" and could be developed. A second storey could be added as a training centre and clinic, with the existing ground floor providing accommodation for between eight to 10 people. Project HHH medical teams who went to Cap-Haitien could also stay there. The site was also large enough to become a centre for health services education. "The lack of physios is huge and we could possibly do something about that," Mr McLay said.
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Project HHH chairman Bruce Albiston emphasised the school was a proposal at this stage and more investigation was needed. The next step was to prepare concept plans to seek approval from civic, hospital and health authorities in Haiti and clinicians, along with investigating how it could be funded and what money was needed. Already, that had been discussed with authorities who were interested in the project.

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