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Promoting Food Security in Haiti: Doing Good, Doing it Right

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

When I see articles re-emerge about the clay biscuits the poorest of the poor in Haiti eat, as seems to happen every few years like clockwork, it frustrates me.  We all know Haiti is a hungry country, but communities need solutions instead of pity, and partners who empower rather than provide handouts.  Sometimes I read about well meaning groups in the United States that decide to box up food and send it to Haiti.  Well intentioned but not smart - this is dependency and not development.  Solutions exist and Kimberly Green of the Green Family Foundation writes about one in a blog she submitted to the Huffington Post.  You can read it here but i have also copied it below.

OLPC Foundation and IDB Team Up to Bring Computers to Haiti

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

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation and the Inter American Development Bank recently announced a plan to ensure access to computers for over 13,000 Haitian students.  Under the plan, the OLPC Foundation will provide 2 million dollars, the IDB will provide 3 million, and UNESCO will carry out an external evaluation.  If the program is successful, and we hope it is, then it could be expanded further in Haiti and other countries.

 

Deforestation in Haiti: Weaning a Country off of Wood Fuels

  • Posted on: 16 February 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Attached is an assessment carried out by the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (EMAP) on Haiti's reliance on wood based charcoal for its energy needs - estimated to be about 70% of total energy usage.   Having read the assessment, I feel it raises some sensible interventions even if they do not go far enough.  However, the strategy could provide a foundation upon which to build.

WFP and The Hungry Times Ahead

  • Posted on: 15 February 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Though we are all different, we have this in common - we must eat to survive.  In an ideal world, individuals, families, communities, and countries would be able to feed themselves.  Needless to say, the world is less than ideal.  For the poorest of the poor, climate change, population growth, environmental degradation and soaring food prices make feeding oneself increasingly difficult. The World Food Programme (WFP) plays a vital role in ensuring that vulnerable populations, including those affected by disaster and conflict, receive the food they need, in Haiti and worldwide.  

Can You Hear us Now? Cellular Phones Give Haitians a Voice

  • Posted on: 10 February 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

For too long, Haiti has been in a communication stranglehold.  Making a telephone call through the local Teleco station, when it worked, was a long and expensive ordeal.  Sending a letter was like buying a lottery ticket - better to send it on the "Diaspora Express" by handing it to someone you know going to the U.S.A.  But Haitians now have more communication options than ever before - the impact of cellular technology has been particularly dramatic. 

Biking Haiti

  • Posted on: 8 February 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

 I don’t fully realize why I put myself through it until days afterwards when the tightness subsides, the soreness in the muscles evaporates and the numbness of my body dissolves making movements like standing, sitting and walking possible without grunting or wincing. It is only after all this that I begin to recall and can share the stories of the many amazing people and encounters had along the road. And it is only after this that I have the mind to really appreciate the beauty of the experience. And equally be astonished by the absurd contrasts of unequivocal spirits against relentlessly hard living. The French poet and philosopher Andre Malraux after visiting Haiti for the first time decades ago said of it, “Surrealism finally has a country.”

IOM Releases Video on Child Trafficking and Abuse in Haiti

  • Posted on: 6 February 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is active in Haiti in a number of different areas. One if its priorities is the prevention of child abuse. In advance of a forum in Vienna next week organized by the UN Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking (UNGIFT), IOM releasd a video to raise awareness of the plight of an estimated 173,000 Haitian children internally trafficked for domestic servitude, known as Restaveks.

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