The First Lady recently visited Haiti (read: Port au Prince), visting the well known GHESKIO (Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Other Opportunisting Infections) Center as well as a school, education being one of her personal priorities. The last visit by a first lady to Haiti was by Hillary Clinton in 1998. Politics aside, this is a sign of progress. You can more about the visit in the New York Times.
Is water a right, a commodity, or both? Perhaps the better question would be whether clean water is a right - considering that 1 billion people live without access to water that is safe. Water sustains life, but shortages bring about desperation, disease, and conflict all of which fuel poverty. It doesn't have to be this way. World Water Day is coming up and presents a good opportunity for us to redouble our efforts to ensure that even the poorest of the poor have access to enough safe, drinkable water.
Haiti is a beautiful anomaly at the heart of the crossroads formed by Africa, North America, Latin America, and Europe. Michelene Quay, Director of "Eat, This Is My Body", took first prize for at the Miami International Film Festival. She notes that Haiti's very existence confounds the notion of what Latin America is. Above all, Haiti is unique and its art, music, and film reflect this. You can view the trailer here.
Haiti is not known for the quality of its educational system. However, the country has a handfull of top notch institutions educating and training a new generation of community leaders. These institutions can be expanded and replicated for the betterment of andeyo Haiti. One of the best examples is Fondwa, a rural University with a strong emphasis on service learning.
According to the Brookings Institution, "Threats to international peace and security often come from the world’s weakest states. Such countries can fall prey to and spawn a host of transnational security threats, including terrorism, weapons proliferation, organized crime, infectious disease, environmental degradation, and civil conflicts that spill over borders." The Index of State Weakness in the Developing World ranks 141 developing nations, including Haiti, according to economic, political, security and social welfare. It is interesting to glance at, but how useful is it?
The South Florida Sun Sentinel ran an article concerning the failure of reforestation efforts in Haiti. While little progress has been made to date, there have been small successes. We can learn a great deal by examining the programs which are doing well, asking ourselves why, and then replicating them.
Haiti Innovation is proud to be partnering with the Centre for Management Technology in the leadup to the Jatropha World 2008 conference, which will be held in Miami and focus on the potential of Jatropha as a biofuel in Latin America and the Caribbean. We will report before, during, and after the Conference, which we anticipate will help raise awareness and bring together key stakeholders who could make the cultivation and processing of Jatropha in Haiti a reality. Below is further information from CMT about the conference.
Ever thought that you would see the day when jumbo jets were powered by biofuels? Thanks to Virgin Airlines, we now know it is possible. Click here to watch the (successful) test flight and then check out this article in the Toronto Global and Mail. What does this have to do with Haiti? Presently, not much. But it has a great deal to do with the future viability of biofuel production in Haiti for domestic and international consumption.
Bourik (BOS) recently loaded up for a trip to Trou du Nord in the Northeast of Haiti and ran across some of the sharpest Haitians yet. A ruthless band, fearless but cautious, otherwise they’d never have made it as far as they have in this life (ages 6-10 perhaps).
Canada is a significant donor for international development programs both in Haiti and worldwide. The country has a large Haitian population and high ranking government officials who were originally born in Haiti. During a recent trip to Haiti, the Canadian Foreign Minister reaffirmed the government's long term committment to Haiti and new activities for partnership - activities which we believe could have a positive impact on Haiti's development.