USAID Launches Three Year Project to Support Clean Cooking Solutions

  • Posted on: 24 February 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced this week that it is providing seven million dollars to Chemonics for a three year project to promote the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and improve access to improved cook-stoves.  Haiti's dependence on wood-based fuels for cooking has negatively affected the environment, agriculture, and health.  If combined with economic development and national reforestation efforts, projects like this could help slow environmental degradation in Haiti.

State-Of-The-Art Hospital Offers Hope For Haiti

  • Posted on: 27 January 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is a National Public Radio piece by Jason Beaubien on the status of the  Mirebalais National Teaching Hospital, which will be Haiti’s largest health care facility.  The hospital is a priority for the Ministry of Health, which will be running the facility jointly with Partners in Health.  Eventually, the Ministry of Health will manage the facility itself.  When operational, the hospital will be mainly powered by solar energy.  Internet connectivity opens the door to new training opportunities.  In a recovery where much has gone wrong, the hospital is a symbol of what has gone right, and could be a model for replication in Haiti and elsewhere.   

2012 Haitian Jazz Festival Underway

  • Posted on: 21 January 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

JazzWhen thinking of Haitian music, Konpa, Racine, Twoubadou are probably the first styles that come to mind.  Like many other Caribbean countries though, Haiti has a small and vibrant jazz community.  As with its neighbors, Haiti has been hosting its own jazz festival since 2007 - with the exception of 2010 due to the earthquake.  Jazz is often described as uniquely American - yet Haitians living in New Orleans contributed to its development before it even had a name.  An article on the festival by Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald follows.  Could art, music, and film festivals breathe live into Haiti's tourism sector?  Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below.  

Are We There Yet?

  • Posted on: 13 January 2012
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Two years after the earthquake, I find myself asking are we there yet?  We knew recovery would be difficult.  The earthquake was one of the worst natural disasters the western hemisphere has ever experienced and arguably the worst urban disaster ever.  Haiti’s institutions were/are weak.  For decades, NGOs have been providing the services that a strong, capable, and accountable government should.  One indication of recovery is the extent to which Haiti’s half million internally displaced persons (IDPs) are able to access new homes and livelihoods.

Pap Padap Dirèk Dirèk- Mobile Communication

  • Posted on: 20 December 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Thanks to Digicel and Voila Comcel, obtaining a cell phone is the least of your worries when traveling to Haiti.  Almost immediately after arriving at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port au Prince, one spots red and neon green beach umbrellas, under which man holding a string of calling cards and other mobile phone related products.  Need a cell phone? No problem. 

Human Rights Advocate Sonia Pierre Dead at 48

  • Posted on: 5 December 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Sonia Pierre, Dominican human rights activist of Haitian descent, has died of heart failure at the age of 48.  She was a passionate advocate for Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic – many of whom are stateless, not being recognized by the Dominican Republic or Haiti.  She will be missed.  The organization which she founded, El Movimiento de Mujeres Dominico-Haitiana or MUDHA, continues her work.  An article on her passing follows below.

World Bank's 2012 Priorities for Haiti: Education, Agriculture, Disaster Management

  • Posted on: 2 December 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

While the World Bank has a mixed record in Haiti, it and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) remain two of the most important multilateral funders of its post earthquake reconstruction.  Yesterday, the World Bank announced $255 million in grants for Haiti which will be focused on strengthening education, agriculture, and disaster risk management – all of which are critical for Haiti’s long term development.  The World Bank press release follows.  More information about its activities in Haiti are available on the World Bank website.

Two Day Haiti Forum on Investment Concluded

  • Posted on: 30 November 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Haiti requires foreign assistance for many years to come.  However, trade is more important than aid over the long term.  Digicel and others have shown that, while a difficult place to do business, investment can be both beneficial to Haiti and profitable to investors.  A two day event to court new investors, financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, was recently concluded.  Announcements included planned improvements to route national one, an industrial park in the north, and a large, new hotel in Port au Prince.  A Miami Herald article by Jacqueline Charles on the forum follows.  

Violent Crime in Haiti: Reality vs. Perception

  • Posted on: 18 November 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

While fragile politically, Haiti is much safer than media coverage suggests.  Any violent crime mainly takes place in Port au Prince.  Even there, homicide rates are decreasing (now at 3 per 100,000 people in three selected areas) vs. 52 per 100,000 people in Jamaica, generally viewed as a favorable tourism destination.  Even Costa Rica has a higher rate than Haiti at 11 homicides per 100,000 people.  Below is an article by Trenton Daniel on the decreasing homicide rate in Haiti's largest city.  To court investment and tourism, Haiti needs to rebrand itself as historically, culturally, and artisticly rich as well as safe.

In a Hut in Haiti, Waiting for Spirits

  • Posted on: 17 November 2011
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is a New York Times article, a reminiscence really, by Madison Smartt Bell on a simple house he once owned in rural Haiti.  He recalls that one can do nothing alone in Haiti, which can make it very difficult and very special at the same time.  His description of the lakou and the importance of community will resonate with anyone who has lived in rural Haiti before.

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