Governance

U.S. State Department Releases 2009 Human Rights Report for Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, March 12, 2010.

Each year, the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor is mandated to release country specific human rights reports that address individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As this report pertains strictly to 2009, it does not address human rights issues in post earthquake Haiti. Still, it is highly relevant as long term recovery and reconstruction will depend in part upon creating a culture that respects human rights and a government that can enforce them.  Read more »

Port de Paix: Past, Present, and Potential

By Bryan Schaaf on Sunday, February 28, 2010.
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The northwest is the poorest part of Haiti, long neglected by the Haitian government and the international community. Most Haitians have neve been here and comparatively little has been written about the region.  I recently was able to visit both Port de Paix and the Ile de Tortue, a nearby island that was once a hotbed of piracy. Below is a summary of the area's past, present, and also its potential.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Respond to the Haiti Earthquake

By Bryan Schaaf on Monday, February 1, 2010.

Peace Corps/Haiti was never a very large program.  However, Peace Corps Volunteers have long made a difference in Haiti both through the projects we participated in and the relationships we made.  Likewise, Haiti made a difference for us, most of all, in the way we view the world.  While Peace Corps is no longer active in Haiti, those who served there certainly are.  All have been affected by the earthquake and all are taking action in some way.  Below is a summary of what Haiti Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) are thinking, feeling, and doing in response.  In this way, we both bear witness and re-affirm our commitment to stay connected to Haiti.  Read more »

Haiti Earthquake Update (1/20/2010)

By Bryan Schaaf on Wednesday, January 20, 2010.
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The suffering caused by the earthquake is difficult to fully comprehend.  Haitian authorities report that at least 72,000 bodies have been recovered.  Some predict the final death toll will be as high as 150,000 in Port au Prince alone.  Up to 1.5 million people may be homeless. ICRC reports approximately 55,000 people in 40 informal temporary camps throughout the city.  As you read this, many people are going back to the countryside.  While most of the damage took place in the southern portion of Haiti, the whole country will be affected. The Government has declared a period of national mourning until February 17.  We all grieve for what Haiti has lost.

Don’t Send Food to Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Thursday, December 31, 2009.

When people think of Haiti, they often think of hunger, and not without reason. Though there has been significant progress over the past year, hunger remains a pervasive problem.  Achieving food security is fundamental to nutrition, health, education, economic growth, stability and all the other issues we lump under “development.”  There are well intentioned groups, such as this one from Kansas, that often try to send packages of food to Haiti.  It might make one feel good, but in reality, it does little good. There is much that we can do to promote food security in Haiti, but it is up to us to ensure that our time, energy, and resources make an actual, and not just a perceived, difference. Read more »

USAID Announces Haitian Diaspora Marketplace Initiative

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, August 14, 2009.

While speaking at the Haitian Unity Diaspora Congress, Acting USAID Administrator Alonso Fulgham announced the launch of the Haitian Diaspora Marketplace, a partnership between USAID and Haiti's Sogebank Foundation that will provide $2 million in resources to support investments by members of the Diaspora with small and medium enterprises in Haiti.  Fulgham served from 1984-1986 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Port-au-Prince, where he worked with the Government and local groups on export promotion.  More on his remarks here and the Haitian Diaspora Marketplace Press Release is copied below.   Read more »

Bill Clinton Speaks at Second Annual Haitian Diaspora Unity Congress

By Bryan Schaaf on Sunday, August 9, 2009.

Trenton Daniel of the Miami Herald describes below the speech given by Bill Clinton at the second annual Haiti Diaspora Unity Congress. During the speech, he encouraged the Diaspora to stay engaged and announced a number of new initiatives.  For example, he noted that the Soros Economic Development Fund has created a Haiti Invest project, through which an initial 25 million dollars will be spent on  promoting investment in agricuture, energy, housing, and tourism.  Clinton is an asset to Haiti, but as one participant emphasized, the Haitian Diaspora must now step up. Read more »

Cautious Optimism as Investment Trickles into Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Tuesday, July 28, 2009.

In the article below, Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald writes how, despite Haiti's many challenges, roads are being built, power plants constructed, and business opportunities growing. Investments in Haiti - in the capacity of its government, in its infrastructure, and increasingly in its private sector, are starting to pay off.  Haiti is a country under construction, with something that it has not had for years...momentum.       Read more »

State Department Releases 2009 TIP Report: Haiti and the DR

By Bryan Schaaf on Monday, June 22, 2009.

Human trafficking is a global problem that affects every country in the world.  Last week, the U.S. State Department released its 2009 annual report on how well partner governments are preventing and responding to human trafficking. Understanding trafficking in Haiti requires understanding the situation in the Dominican Republic.  Neither country complies with minimum standards for eliminating trafficking, although both governments acknowledge the need to do more. This is an issue that clearly requires cross-border collaboration. Read more »

Introducing the Haiti Pro Online Business Community

By Bryan Schaaf on Thursday, May 28, 2009.

Haiti Pro is new website for entrepreneurs interested in private sector solutions to Haiti's developmental challenges.  Haiti Pro Members can easily share videos of their ideas and efforts.  There are already a number of interesting clips on topics including dairy franchising, wood charcoal alternatives, reforestation, and women's groups.  Below are summaries of the clips that are in Kreyol and/or French.  Consider joining if you are interested in small business development in Haiti.

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