Justice from Lot Bo Dlo?

  • Posted on: 22 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf


Last week, Haitian survivors of a brutal 1994 massacre by paramilitary leaders at last received a measure of justice. Unfortunately, it wasn't a Haitian court that dispensed it. It was a federal court in Florida. The Raboteau Massacre was a joint military/paramilitary attack on a pro-democracy neighborhood in a seaside slum during Haiti's 1991-1994 de facto military leadership, carried out on April 22, 1994. Up to 100 people were slaughtered, many of them as they ran toward the sea to escape. The next day, survivors of the attack filed complaints in Haiti with a local judge. In 2000, they won the convictions of 53 paramilitary leaders, some of them in absentia, and a damages award of $1 million gourdes. The trial was praised by international observers as fair to victims and defendants alike, and was one of the most important human rights trials ever in the Western Hemisphere.

Sanitation: The Overlooked and Under-Appreciated Life Saver

  • Posted on: 21 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Sanitation is an often overlooked but very important component of public health.  The United States government has an HIV/AIDS Coordinator, a Malaria Coordinator, and an Avian Influenza Coordinator.  However, if we really wanted to focus on saving the lives of children worldwide, we would have a global diarrhea coordinator.  As Rose George writes in the article below, "excrement is the real weapon of mass destruction."  Alas, it is not a sexy public health issue and celebrities are unlikely to rally around this cause.  But in countries such as Haiti, providing adequate sanitation is an essential part of promoting public health.  The full article is below.  

Wyclef Jean Creates New Partnerships to Fight Hunger

  • Posted on: 20 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

I was talking with a Haitian friend of mine not long ago who was telling me how proud he was of Wyclef Jean for what he has done to give back to Haiti. I couldn't agree more.  Wyclef knows the importance of coordination.  To that end, he has taken the lead in creating a new partnership between his Yele Foundation, the World Food Programme, and the Pan American Development Foundation.  The joint project is called Together For Haiti and focuses on food security, assistance, livelihoods, and agricultural production.  Wyclef has involved numerous celebrities and companies as well.  Below is the article as it appeared in the Miami Herald today.  

 

The Let Agogo Example: More Jobs and Better Nutrition Through Dairies

  • Posted on: 18 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is a Miami Herald article on Haitian dairies that I read with great interest. With the exception of Laughing Cow cheese, it is hard to find and even harder to afford dairy in Haiti.  Powdered milk is expensive and when mixed with unclean water can be dangerous for children.  Countries such as India have a wide network of dairy cooperatives which provide jobs for women and better nutrition for kids.  One glass of milk would make a real difference in boosting their immune systems. According to Dr. Michel Chancy, approximately 100 dairies would meet Haiti's domestic demand.  After reading the article watch videos concerning the successful Let Agogo program to learn more.

Haiti Food Security Update (5/18/2008)

  • Posted on: 18 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The big news over the past week was that Ericq Pierre, Preval's selection for Prime Minister, did not make it through the nomination process.  According to a release by Pierre, he was unwilling to promise positions and favors in exchange for political support. Some have hailed him for his integrity while others have criticized him for not knowing how to "play the game."  To any extent, no Prime Minister means no functional government and thus no new policies.  Donors, international and non governmental organizations and a financially stretched Diaspora continue to do what they can to help.  Below is a summary of other items of interest concerning food security.

Strange Things Documentary: Street Kids of Haiti

  • Posted on: 12 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The publicity surrounding Haiti's political instabilities and poverty are known to the media, yet the country's children are often missing from the images and minds of the world. Strange Things, a Hamm Production documentary, follows the lives of several orphaned, homeless and impoverished children in the streets of Cap-Haïtien. The documentary is an honest portrait, through the street kids' eyes, while describing their stories of survival. Interviews with local residents recount why and how over 300,000 of Haiti's children are left to survive poverty on their own. When you ask a child on the streets of Haiti "What's up?" they say "Bagay Dwol" - strange things.

 

Haiti Food Security Update (5/11/2008)

  • Posted on: 11 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

mayi moulinBelow is an update concerning food security in Haiti.  First though, I read  an interesting article in the Miami Herald about the critical role of coordination in Haiti relief efforts.  In fact, it notes that an uncoordinated flow of aid can cause harm, particular in a setting like Haiti where food is plentiful on store shelves but most people can't afford it because of high unemployment and global price hikes.  The best way to help Haiti right now is to contribute to both the organizations that can make a difference now and those that can help Haiti become self-reliant over the long-term.

Keeping New Mothers Alive (Partners in Health)

  • Posted on: 11 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Today is, of course, Mother's Day.  In too many parts of the world, becoming a mother is a serious threat to one's health.  Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl of Partners in Health remind us in the Washington Post that it doesn't have to be this way. We have the knowledge needed to protect pregnant women and their children.  What is lacking is the will and the committment.  Drawing from their experiences in Haiti, Partners in Health is applying their rights based approach in Rwanda and elsewhere. The article is copied below.  

Reforestation in Haiti - Can the Young Lead the Way?

  • Posted on: 11 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

art of living Jule Hanus from the Art of Living Foundation sent us a video clip featuring a Youth Leadership Training Program which incorporates music, dance, yoga, and environmental preservation.  Take a look at it by clicking here.  Even when the Haitian government (someday) releases a strategy and appeals for funds to support nationwide reforestation communities will do the heavy lifting. In a country, where almost half the population is under fifteen years of age, there are many opportunities to involve the young in reforestation.

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