“Tales from the Hood” is a blog written by an expat, currently based in Haiti, about humanitarian assistance, international development, and the good and bad that comes with it for aid worker and recipient alike. It includes observations, insights, criticism, and a willingness to raise (albeit anonymously) the questions that keep aid workers up at night. Below is a three part blog where he looks back on the Haiti response – what was different about it, whether responders are succeeding or failing, and implications for the future. For those interested in photography, you can find his Haiti photo album on Flickr.
Transitions in Haiti are seldom uneventful. An imperfect election on November 28th resulted in widespread frustration and frequent (but mostly nonviolent) protests. On Tuesday, December 7th, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) will hold a panel discussion at 2:00 to discuss how the elections may influence Haiti’s recovery and how a newly elected government and the international community can best work together. Panelists include representatives from Partners in Health, the Organization of American States, and the Haitian Embassy in Washington DC. More information below.
Inside Disaster is an interactive, educational website about the Haiti earthquake response and about humanitarian work in general. It is a companion to an upcoming three part documentary series that explores the complexities of the Haiti response. The website contains many useful resources for the aspiring or current humanitarian, the most interesting of which is a simulation that allows the participant to experience the earthquake as a survivor, as an aid worker, or as a journalist. The simulation, well worth a look, is called Inside the Haiti Earthquake. Inside Disaster would welcome your feedback on the website.
Without a doubt, post earthquake Haiti was a complex and difficult humanitarian situation. However, the response could have been much better. Below is a blog by Simon Levine which asks why we have not learned from past emergencies and why it is that we may not learn from this one as well. Immediately after is a special issue of Humanitarian Exchange, published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which explores the experiences of humanitarian actors involved in the earthquake response.
Most agree that efforts to protect the safety, dignity and rights of the most vulnerable populations (women, children, the disabled, the elderly, etc.) in post earthquake Haiti could and should have been more effective. Women and children are still vulnerable to a range of protection threats including sexual abuse/exploitation and human trafficking. Interaction, an advocacy group for American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has released two reports, on improving protection and on preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) respectively. Both are thorough, well thought out, and are copied below.
Haiti is in the midst of a cholera outbreak, the origin of which is and may remain unclear. We live in a mobile world and the source could be Africa, Asia, South America, or it may have already been in the environment. Where it came from is less important than the fact that Haiti, and especially the poorest of the poor, will always be vulnerable without clean water, adequate sanitation, and good hygiene. This is an update on the current cholera emergency and a reflection on actions that can prevent this from happening again.
Below is an article by Gerardo Reyes and Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald concerning human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors in the Dominican Republic, both of which have increased since the January earthquake. Human trafficking occurs on both sides of the border. It will take a sustained, joint effort to ensure that migration is humane, orderly, and that minors are not being exploited as they are now. As the article makes clear, this will require tackling corruption within the border authorities. For more information, take a look at the U.S. State Department's latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) reports for the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Attached and copied below is a Refugees International (RI) report concerning opportunities to build on the bilateral relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR) which has markedly improved since the earthquake. The DR rightfully deserves credit for the solidarity showed to its neighbors in the weeks and months after the earthquake. This solidarity now provides a foundation upon which to address challenges in the bilateral relationship, for the benefit of both countries, such as migration management and statelessness.
The Grande Anse (Grandans) is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful regions of Haiti. It is also one of the most isolated. Mason Robbins was a Peace Corps Volunteer in a small village outside of the regional capital of Jeremie. He recently had a chance to spend two weeks in the community where he served. Below is his postcard.
Historic sites throughout Haiti speak to resistance, perseverence, and the long struggle for freedom. Unfortunately, many of these sites are now falling apart. Stephanie Curci has created a website that is both map and visual record of Haiti's historical sites. She plans to expand the number of sites represented and make it interactive so visitors can post their own photos and narratives. Stephanie welcomes feedback at email@example.com. In the meantime, below is an article she wrote for the Journal of Haitian Studies on preserving and reintegrating Haiti's unique historical legacy.