The UN has released its 2014 Humanitarian Action Plan for Haiti. While 89% of camp residents have moved out and significant progress has been made against cholera, significant challenges remain such as halting environmental degradation and reducing vulnerability to disasters. The plan focuses on meeting the basic needs of those remaining in the camps, addressing the cholera epidemic, increasing food security, and strengthening the leadership and capacity of national authorities. A summary of the plan follows.
Peace Corps is not currently active in Haiti and it remains to be seen whether a program will be re-established. There remains a network of 516 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who served in Haiti and continue to share their experiences. Richard Ireland, senior statesman of the group before me, gave a presentation at his church, now available online. His musings on how Americans and Haitians view time, fear, and joy is well worth a listen as is learning how to say no with an open heart instead of a closed one. You can listen by clicking here.
Below is an article by Ezra Fieser and Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald concerning a Dominican court ruling denying citizenship to Dominican-born children of Haitian immigrants. Many of them have never been to Haiti but nevertheless will be denied access to education and opportunities as they lack citizenship from the country where they were born and raised. Haiti has recalled its Ambassador and protests are planned by human rights activists.
Tolerance for minorities - religious, political, sexual, and otherwise - is an important measure of a democracy. It has never been easy for Haitians to be out but watchdog groups are particularly concerned by a series of threats against Haiti's gay community. More information from the Associated Press follows. If you are interested in local organizations promoting gay rights, the best known are Kouraj and Serovie.
Below is an announcement concerning the launch of a five year project, as part of USAID's Feed the Future Initiative, to bolster agriculture in northern Haiti. In addition to nuts and bolts such as preventing erosion and promoting irrigation, the project will also expand the access of farmers to new(er) technologies such as mobile money. The $87.8 million project will be led by Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) with Haitian firms Agridey and AgroConsult sub-contracting.
Below is a brief Caribbean Journal article concerning yesterday's joint launch by Haitian President Michel Martelly and Dominican President Danilo Medina of a reforestation project in NE Haiti. The project is entitled "Regreening Haiti-DR" and is based on Dominican experience in forest recovery. 2013 has been designated "The Year of the Environment" in Haiti and, by expanding environmental partnerships, both countries stand to benefit.
Below is an article by Trenton Daniel (AP) concerning a beautification project, inspired by Haitian artist Prefete Duffaut, in the neighborhood of Jalousie. Plans are underway to include additional neighborhoods. The initiative is not without controversy - slums in Port au Prince have many other needs including water, security, and jobs. Still, Haiti is a colorful country with a vibrant artistic tradition that Jalousie increasingly reflects.
Below is the latest semi-annual report from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) covering the period from August 31st - March 15th. The report provides an overview of key developments during this time, especially police capacity, rule of law, and human rights promotion - all of which need to be strengthened significantly before MINUSTAH can fully transition its responsibilities to the Haitian government.
I grew up in the midwest and Chicago, being our largest city, was the promised land. Only well after living in Haiti did I learn that the first non-native resident of Chicago was Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable, a Haitian who made the long voyage from Saint Marc. A Haitian Times article about the "Founder of Chicago" follows and you can learn more through the Du Sable Heritage Association. The Haitian-American population there may not be large, but Chicago's history is forever connect to Haiti's.
Below is an article by the International Press Service's Ansel Herz describing upcoming legislative changes that would make it easier for survivors of rape to prosecute their attackers. The reforms have high-level support and could pass within a year. While much more remains to be done, these reforms would represent significant progress.