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Keeping New Mothers Alive (Partners in Health)

  • Posted on: 11 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Today is, of course, Mother's Day.  In too many parts of the world, becoming a mother is a serious threat to one's health.  Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl of Partners in Health remind us in the Washington Post that it doesn't have to be this way. We have the knowledge needed to protect pregnant women and their children.  What is lacking is the will and the committment.  Drawing from their experiences in Haiti, Partners in Health is applying their rights based approach in Rwanda and elsewhere. The article is copied below.  

Algae Can Be a Biofuel - But Could It Work in Haiti?

  • Posted on: 9 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

I am neither an agronomist or an energy specialist.  But I always have my eyes open for new innovations which could help Haiti achieve either food security or energy independence.  Recently, I received an email from The National Algae Association (NAA) annoucing that it would be bringing together Algae oil production companies, algae researchers and "algaeprenuers" together for a conference on June 17th in Woodlands, Texas.  The private sector seems to think algae has potential as a biofuel - Chevron, Honeywell, and Boeing all have some involvement in algae businesses.   But is it feasible in Haiti? 

Electrifying Haiti: Lighting Up Pignon

  • Posted on: 7 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Our friends at Current sent us a link to a piece concerning a town in the Upper Central Plateau of Haiti called Pignon.  Pignon is an isolated community best known for its regional hospital.   The road leading to Pignon is one of the worst in Haiti - The last time I was on it, the pickup truck literally tipped over.   But even in the most difficult locations, when a community comes together, it can accomplish amazing things.

 

Helping Haiti to Feed Itself (Partners in Health)

  • Posted on: 5 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Copied below is a brief article in the Boston Globe written by Dr. Joia Mukherjee and Donna Barry, both of whom work for the Institute for Health and Social Justice at Partners In Health.  Though short, the article cuts through many of the cliches we've seen so far on hunger in Haiti.  The piece covers the long term historical reasons for food security, which is by no means new.   It also notes how food "assistance" can cause more harm than good and the burden of Haiti's debt on this struggling, young democracy.   With minimal tourism or industry, Haiti need its agricultural sector more than ever.   But will developed countries let Haiti compete?  A level playing field would be more important than any hand out for Haiti's long term development.

Haiti Food Security Update (5/3/2008)

  • Posted on: 3 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

With an Agronomist for a President and now an Economist for a Prime Minster, we hope that the Haitian government will address the food crisis head on.  The Government will need to articulate short term measures and a long term plan to the Haitian public, to donors, and the international community.  Preval has spent a great deal of time talking about national production - but this will not be possible without halting and reversing envrinmental degradation.  Fortunately, Haiti continues to draw support from major donors. This will allow the government some time to establish new policies and programs.

I Have Twenty Dollars - How Can I Help Fight Hunger in Haiti?

  • Posted on: 1 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

In response to queries from readers, the first "How Can I Help" blog was devoted to volunteering.  With increasing food insecurity in Haiti, we have received many inquiries from caring people who want to do their part to improve the situation.  Many have offered to hold food drives - but Haiti is in this situation because it does not grow enough food and has depended on importation for far too long.  Your support will go farther if, instead of sending food, you make a contribution to an organization that is already on the ground in Haiti.  Below are organizations that are fighting hunger in Haiti and are reputable and effective.  With your support, they can reach more people.

Treating Malnutrition, Saving Lives in Cap Haitian

  • Posted on: 23 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Malnutrition is a threat to health but it is treatable.  The cure is the appropriate kind of food.  There is no reason why children should die either from malnutrition or infectious diseases they are vulnerable to because  malnourishment has weakened their immune systems. Earlier we wrote about Plumpynut, a Ready to Use Therapeutic Food that has revolutionized the way we treat malnourished children - and saved many of their lives in the process.  Current sent us a video about Meds and Foods for Kids,  organization in Cap Haitian that decided to make their own version of Plumpynut from local ingredients.  They have been very successful and now the World Bank is supporting them to provide "Medika Mamba" nationwide.  It is an innovative idea that is now having a nationwide impact.

FOKAL to Present on Haitian Libraries and Human Development (June 10, 2008)

  • Posted on: 22 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

It is not easy to find a library in Haiti. The Fondation Connaissance & Liberté (FOKAL) wants to change that. FOKAL  supports 35 community libraries throughout Haiti.  FOKAL also supports arts and culture programming, a debate program, grassroots initiatives, a preschool program and even water projects.  FOKAL staff will speak at the Library of Congress in Washington DC on June 10th.  If you do not live in the Washington DC area, you can catch the live webcast.   In the meantime,take a look at their website to learn more about this organiztion.  Education is fundamental to solving Haiti’s economic, environmental, and health related challenges.

America's Role in Haiti's Hunger Riots (Bill Quigley Report)

  • Posted on: 21 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Haiti Innovation expressed disappointment and irritation with last week's New York Times article describing a solution to Haiti's hunger. Today, circulating through blogs all over cyber space, human rights lawyer Bill Quigley released a compelling report: "America's Role in Haiti's Hunger Riots". He goes beyond the trite phrases describing Haiti and delves into the truth behind high food costs. So although Haiti "needs to better feed itself", countries such as the US need to allow this to happen. Mr. Quigley raises the question, "Thirty years ago, Haiti raised nearly all the rice it needed. What happened?".

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