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A Postcard from Saint Joseph's

  • Posted on: 14 November 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is a guest blog from Nina Persi, an art student who visited Haiti to document the lives of orphans living in Saint Joseph facilities in/around Port au Prince and Jacmel.  Having returned to Pennsylvania, she is using her photos to raise awareness about vulnerable children in Haiti (of which there are many) and to raise funds for the Saint Joseph Family, an organization doing exceptional work caring for them.  More information on her trip, the Saint Joseph Family, and how you can get involved follows.  

What does it mean to be poor?

  • Posted on: 26 October 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

wealthAccording to Webster’s on-line dictionary, the definition of poor is: 1. Destitute of property; wanting material riches or goods; needy; indigent.  Haiti has come to be known as the poorest country in the western hemisphere, which is technically true if you base the statement according to dollars and cents.  Many of the local Haitians I’ve come across say “yes we are poor” while smiling. My question is why the smile? Which leads me to ask what exactly does it mean to be poor?

Haiti, Canada, and the WHO Launch Maternal and Child Health Initiative

  • Posted on: 15 September 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Haitian and Canadian governments launched a maternal and child health initiative today, a continuation and expansion of two existing programs.  Even prior to the earthquake, Haiti was a difficult place to be a mother or a young child. Through this initiative, mothers and children under five receive basic care without cost.  The intent is to progressively scale up this initiative to 90 health care facilities throughout the country.  The full press release follows.

Keeping Haiti Safe: Police Reform

  • Posted on: 12 September 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The International Crisis Group has released a report on the importance of police reforms for security in Haiti, meaning freedom from intimidation and abuse, conflict and violence, and crime and impunity.  The release comes during a time in which Brazil and other partner nations are increasingly contemplating a gradual drawdown of MINUSTAH staffing. This provides the Haitian government and its partners a window of opportunity to continue reforms that will make the Haitian National Police more effective and accountable.  The full report is attached and a summary is copied below.  

An Island Divided: Haiti and the Dominican Republic

  • Posted on: 14 July 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

One World Education is a Washington DC based non profit organization that specializes in teaching high school students to write about cultural/global issues.  Andre Sanabia, a tenth grader from Alexandria who participates in the program, wrote a piece questioning how Haitians (and Dominicans of Haitian descent) are treated in the Dominican Republic.  I wish more politicians in the Dominican Republic possessed Andre's introspectiveness.  As he notes, a little kindness goes a long way.     

Stranded: The Stateless Haitians

  • Posted on: 14 July 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Imagine being born in a country that does not recognize you and the possibility of being deported to a country that you do not know.  This is the reality for many Dominicans of Haitian descent throughout the Dominican Republic.  Steve Sapienza’s documentary “Stranded: The Stateless Haitians” explores how Dominicans of Haitian descent struggle with government discrimination in the only country they have ever known.  Earlier blogs on statelessness in the Dominican Republic and on the complicated relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic are also available.  

Aquaculture: A Blue Revolution for Haiti?

  • Posted on: 8 July 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is an article Phil Cruver, President of KZO Sea Farms, wrote for the Christian Science Monitor on the need for a modern aquaculture industry in Haiti. With half the fish consumed worldwide each year having been farm-raised, this is clearly a growth industry.  But could it work in Haiti?  Even traditional fisheries are rare in Haiti despite its oceans having become largely overfished.  However, aquaculture could provide jobs, affordable protein, and contribute to better marine management.  It is certainly worth considering.      

Security in Post Quake Haiti Depends Upon Resettlement and Development

  • Posted on: 30 June 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The International Crisis Group (ICG) recently released a report summarizes the challenges that the Haitian government has faced in rebuilding Port au Prince and facilitating resettlement of the internally displaced.  Chief among these challenges has been the lack of a formal land tenure system. While several communities have developed their own local solutions to land ownership, a strategy from the central government is needed.  ICG notes that this will require political will, creativity, and consensus. To put off resettlement further is to put off a transition to development.  

State Department Releases 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report

  • Posted on: 29 June 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department released its 2011 annual report on human trafficking.  While Haiti does have institutions devoted to protecting children, such as the Haiti National Police Brigade for the Protection of Minors (BPM), they lack resources and capacity.  For the immediate future, trafficking prevention and response will remain driven by non governmental and international organizations.  However, the Haitian government can make a major contribution by passing legislation that criminalizes sex trafficking and forced labor.  The portion of the report devoted to Haiti follows below.

Haiti Ranked Fifth on 2011 Fragile States Index

  • Posted on: 20 June 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy Magazine released the 2011 Failed States index today.  Of 177 countries, Haiti was ranked the fifth most vulnerable when compared against twelve key social, economic, and political indicators.  Few would dispute Haiti’s fragility.  Still, the index does not convey that Haiti has major assets, such as its Diaspora and potential for economic development.  Improvements depend in large part on the extent to which Haitian civil society and the international community can have confidence in the leadership of the Haitian government.  A fair assessment or not?  Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section. 

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