The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched an emergency appeal to assist one million Haitians affected by prolonged drought made worse by El Niño. According to WFP, 3.6 million people face food insecurity. Haiti struggles to feed itself even in the best of times due to deforestation, erosion, vulnerability to natural disasters, land tenure issues, lack of modern equipment and techniques and questionable aid and trade practices. WFP will rely not only on food distributions but also cash assistance so beneficiaries can buy the food they need locally. WFP’s efforts are needed, welcomed, and worth supporting - as is the long-term development of domestic agriculture.
The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) is mandated to release annual country-specific human rights reports that address individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 2015 report for Haiti is linked and copied below. There have been some modest improvements from last year - for example in improving oversight of the police. However, there is a long way to go in reforming the justice system, corrections, and protecting the rights of women, children, and the disabled. Post your thoughts about human rights in Haiti below.
Three years ago, Partners in Health (Zanmi Lasante) and the Haitian Ministry of Health opened a major research, training, and practice hospital in Mirebalais. As part of this complex, Zanmi Lasante is opening a new reference laboratory. What this means for patients is a quicker diagnosis, better treatment, and more positive health outcomes. Learn more about Partners in Health's work in Haiti here.
Hesperian has released a wide variety of free health guides including "Where There is No Doctor" or what Peace Corps volunteers with too much time on their hands to analyze their maladies call "Where There is a Hypochondriac." Their latest guide on understanding and preventing Zika is available in English, Portugese, French, and Haitian Kreyol. The guide is will be updated on a regular basis. More information about Hesperian and ways to support them below.
Many countries throughout the world are stuggling with drought and food insecurity related to El Nino. According to FEWS-NET agricultural production in Haiti is fifty percent below normal and coping mechanisms are being exhausted. Associated Press reporter David McFadden's describes the impact that food insecurity is having on parts of the Haitian countryside. The full article follows.
Over 4,400 volunteers have served in the Dominican Republic. According to CNN's Mariano Castillo, three former Peace Corps/Dominican Republic Country Directors and 560 former volunteers have sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that the United States suspend military aid to the Dominican government over human rights abuses and a crackdown on Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent. This high level advocacy from former volunteers shows how connected they remain to the country in which they served, and their concern for the human rights of all people living within its borders. The full article follows.
Earthspark, a renewable energy NGO, has expanded Haiti's first pre-pay solar micro grid in the town of Les Anglais. It has a 90 kW solar PV array which is enough to provide clean, reliable power to 430 households and businesses. Earthspark will hold two launch events – one on June 1st in Les Anglais and a fundraiser on June 11th in Washington DC. More information is attached and below.
Below is an excellent Foreign Policy article by Jacob Kushner explaining how Haiti's unclear land tenure policies undermine investment and cause displacement on Ile a Vache. While the article focuses on one small island, these issues are playing out throughout the entire country. Improving the climate for investment and human rights requires high-level committment for addressing one of the most politically sensitive issues in Haiti. The full article follows.