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U.S. State Department Releases 2010 Human Rights Report for Haiti

  • Posted on: 11 April 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

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. The 2010 Human Rights Report for Haiti, attached and copied below, indicates much remains to be done.  Protecting human rights is a critical element of governance and one which the new administration must take on as institutions and infrastructure are reformed and reconstructed.   Protecting human rights will help Haiti become a country that is more fair and just for the whole population, not just the rich and powerful.

Peace Corps/Friends of Haiti Launched

  • Posted on: 6 April 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

While there is not an active Peace Corps program in Haiti,  the organization continues to make a difference in Haiti through the 507 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who served between 1982-1987, 1990-1991, and 1996-2005.  In March, Peace Corps/Friends of Haiti (PCFOH)  became the newest “Friends Of” Group to be recognized by the National Peace Corps Association.   You don’t have to be an RPCV to get involved!  Take a look at our temporary website (we'll improve it as time goes on), join in discussions about Haitian development issues, and feel free to reach out to us with your feedback and ideas.

Haiti Education and Leadership Program (HELP) Update

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

Since 1988, the Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP) has provided scholarships to high performing students throughout Haiti based solely on merit.  HELP is still going strong and recently upgraded its website with support from the Mastercard Foundation.  It may well be that the only activity that counts as "sustainable development" is education.  Knowledge and skills can’t be taken away.  In a country where over 40% of the population is under the age of fourteen, education empowers individuals to improve themselves, their communities, and their country.  More information about HELP follows.  

Beyond Emergency Relief in Haiti (Groupe URD)

  • Posted on: 28 January 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is a stock-taking document by Groupe URD which highlights common themes from the many evaluations that have been carried out concerning the humanitarian response to the earthquake.  Chief among them are the importance of urban planning in cities, agricultural revitalization in the countryside, disaster preparedness throughout the country, and the need to focus on communities and institutions rather than individuals.  You can also learn more about URD's activities in Haiti here

State Department Awards Grant to Fight Human Trafficking in Haiti

  • Posted on: 21 January 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The U.S. State Deparment's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) today announced a grant of $4.75 million to ten grantees to strengthen the capacity of the Haitian government and civil society to prevent and respond to human trafficking. Information about grantees and their activities follows in the official announcement below.  Background on human trafficking in Haiti and the Dominican Republic can be found in the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report.    

Between Relief and Development: Haiti One Year Later

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

Today marks one year since the earthquake.  There has been a great deal of commentary, dialogue, and debate over what is going well, what is not, what should be improved and how.  Much of Port au Prince is still in ruins, a cholera epidemic has yet to peak, and the most recent elections were a debacle.  The anniversary provides an opportunity for us to consider what will get Haiti out of survival mode and on the path to development.  Doing so will depend in large part upon the Haitian government, its willingness to change, and ability to lead.

PAZAPA: 2010 In Review

  • Posted on: 9 January 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Established in Jacmel in 1987, the mission of PAZAPA (Step by Step) is to support the treatment, education and development of children with disabilities and to integrate them into their communities.  During the earthquake, the PAZAPA School was damaged beyond repair.  PAZAPA has since acquired new land and established temporary structures within which to continue classes.  Both the special education school and the school for the deaf are functioning.  Fortunately, none of the PAZAPA staff were hurt and stipends were provided to help them rebuild their homes.  Below are excerpts from PAZAPA’s recently completed 2010 Annual Report.      

Frontline: The Battle for Haiti (1/12/2011)

  • Posted on: 9 January 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Stability alone may not be sufficient for sustainable development in Haiti, but it is a prerequsite.  One of the ongoing challenges to stability in post earthquake Haiti has been the escape of 4,500 hardened criminals from prison, many of whom were associated with gang violence, drug trafficking, and kidnapping.  On January 12th at 9:00, PBS Frontline will air a special on the efforts of the Haitian National Police to aprehened the escapees and efforts to establish a functional justice system.  More information on the special, which will also be viewable online, below. 

Remembering Thomas White

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

Partners in Health (PIH) co-founder Thomas White passed away the morning of January 7th.  Many lives have been saved, and the health of many communities improved, in Haiti and around the world, as a direct result of the financial support he provided to PIH throughout the years.  While White will be missed, he leaves behind an inspirational legacy.  Below is the PIH announcement of White's passing as well as a blog by author Tracy Kidder remembering him. 

Strange Things: PBS to Broadcast Documentary on Haitian Street Children

  • Posted on: 5 January 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Two years ago, we posted a blog about a documentary under development entitled Strange Things (Bagay Dwol).  Directed by Alexandria Hammond, Strange Things follows the lives of three street children in Cap Haitian over three years.  The film has since been completed and screened at dozens of film festivals.  An abbreviated version of the documentary entitled “Children of Haiti” will have its national broadcast premier Tuesday, January 11th, at 10:00 PM as part of the PBS Independent Lens Series.  It will include updates on the main characters and address challenges facing homeless children in post earthquake Haiti.   

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