The International Crisis Group, an NGO with expertise on preventing and responding to emergencies, has released a report entitled "Peacebuilding Haiti: Including Haitians from Abroad" The report argues that the Haitian government needs to implement a long term disaspora policy with the support of the international community. With the Diaspora being over three million strong and possessing skills, connections, and resources that would be useful in the reconstruction of the country, we could not agree more. Seeting aside one day a year for the Diaspora is not enough - we need ongoing engagement.
There are more Haitian doctors in Florida than in Haiti. When you speak to them, their frustration is palpable. Many want an opportunity to give back to their country - but at the same time, they want the resources and tools they need to make a difference for their patients.
I recently came across a very interesting blog called "Black Gives Back", which focused on the activities of black philanthropists and black philanthropic organizations. It is well-designed and prominently features Wyclef Jean.
Websites do more than give information. They tell stories. Unfortunately, the website of the Haitian Embassy in Washington DC is not doing a good job of conveying, what is one of the most interesting histories in the Western Hemisphere.
We should be discussing the Restavek situation in Haiti. It is neither new or a simple issue. A restavek (comes from the phrase 'to stay with') is a child who is sent from one family to live with another family. Considering Haiti's history as the only people to lead a successful slave rebellion for independence, discussing restaveks can be a sensitive issue. However, I believe that we must.
I would argue that the measurement of progress in a country is not the quantity of money a person has, not the ammount of technology possessed, but rather the ability of that country to meet the needs of its children. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has just released a report which suggests we have a long way to go, for Haiti and the world.
We frequently write about the innovative work that Project Medishare and its partners began in Thomonde and have expanded into ineighboring provinces. Recently, they remodelled their website and added a very nice blog and its definitely worth a look if you are interested in Haiti's Central Plateau and public health.
HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and TB are the unholy Trinity of illness in the developing world. But there are a number of less widely known diseases, which while not fatal, cause a great deal of sickness, suffering, and disability. One of them is Lymphatic Filariasis, also known as Elephantiasis. But what is it? LF is a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes that bite infected humans and pick up microfilariae – thread like parasitic worms. Below is a picture.
There are a precedents for Governments creating job corps in varying forms. The pictures on the left is of men working for the United States Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 as a form of "work relief" for unemployed families suffering from the Great Depression.
We all know that Haiti once had a tourism industry...before the HIV/AIDS scare, several coup d'etats, and the kidnapping crisis. The much more difficult questions concern whether Haiti could/will have one again and whether time spent in this sector would be better spent on infrastructure, education, etc.