The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) in partnership with S.O.B.’S, PEN World Voices and The Maysles Institute will be holding a number of Haitian cultural events in New York City this May. There will be musical performances by well known bands such as RAM, screenings of Haitian films, and discussions on different aspects of Haitian culture. More information is below.
President Obama is in the United Kingdom this week as part of the G20 Summit. As Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed, more is at stake than banks. According to World Bank estimates, the global economic crisis will cause an additional 22 children to die per hour, throughout all of 2009. Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, stated, “In London, Washington and Paris, people talk of bonuses or no bonuses...In parts of Africa, South Asia and Latin America, the struggle is for food or no food.”
World Water Day has come and gone. About 1.1 billion people still do not have access to safe drinking water, and two in every five people on the planet still have no access to a proper toilet. The international community has become increasingly aware of the disastrous consequences of the status quo for public health and economic growth. It will take more than awareness to change the current situation - it will also take political will, long term committment, and a new approach.
Usually when you read an article about peacekeepers in Haiti, it concerns how many are on the ground. In a bit of a role reversal, the Miami Herald reported that the United Nations will deploy a group of Haitian police as peacekeepers to Chad. The yearlong assignment involves monitoring Chadian police responsible for refugees from the war in neighboring Darfur.
The Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP) provides merit based scholarships to high performing students, no matter their socio-economic status. Many graduates have gone on to be health care providers, educators, and community organizers. Last week, former President Bill Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon visited the HELP Haiti Center. Both Clinton and Ki-Moon said they were impressed and inspired by what they saw at HELP and pledged to remain engaged. As Clinton put it, programs such as this one show success is possible in Haiti.
Thank you to Lindsay Poulton for sending us this investigative video footage by the London Guardian concerning sexual violence in Haiti. The piece notes how gender based violence has often been used as a weapon, especially in the slums and during periods of conflict. Protecting women and children is absolutely essential for countering a culture of impunity and promoting a society that respect human rights - not just for some of us, but for all of us.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former U.S. President Bill Clinton will visit Haiti March 9-10 to promote international aid for Haiti. According to UN Peacekeeping Chief Alain Le Roy, ''Clearly it's a fragile situation in Haiti. There are still lots of difficulties but we think Haiti is winnable." Also noteworthy is that a long awaited donor conference has been set for April 13-14 and will be chaired by the Inter American Development Bank. Expect food security to be an important part of these discussions.
Haiti’s walls are falling down! Only to be built back up according to the ordinance of 2 meters from the street. Correct an aggressive public works project has been underway in the capital now for about a year, creating new public space, reducing the risk of clipping pedestrians, and bringing a new feel to corners of Port that haven’t existed for generations.
The United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery makes grants available for up to $15,000 for programs of humanitarian, legal and financial assistance to individuals whose human rights have been violated as a result of contemporary forms of slavery. Human trafficking and restaveks are just two areas where these funds could make a difference in Haiti. No awards were given for Haitiian programs last year, but hopefully a number of organizations will apply this year. Attached and below is background on this fund and the programs it supports.