Today is World Health Day, a time to step back and ask if the world is becoming healthier. On some areas such as HIV/AIDS and malaria we are making progress. Yet we are falling behind in other areas such as maternal and child health. We are also ill prepared to deal with the negative health consequences of climate change - the theme for this year's World Health Day. Though it will be an issue for all of us, it will most severely affect the poorest of the poor. When it comes to public health, however, we are all in it together.
The Second International Haitian Jazz Festival provided an opportunity for many of Haiti's best musicians to showcase their talents. Below, long time Haitian Culture Vulture Tequila Minsky writes about the St. Trinity Music School in Port au Prince, which is educating the next generation of Haitian musicians.
We've spent a lot of time talking about the potential of biofuels to revitalize Haiti's economy, protect the environment, and promote energy independence. From time to time, we'll provide you with updates of what is actually being done on the ground. This is the April 2008 update.
I mentioned to a colleague of mine that Haiti has an International Jazz Festival. He looked puzzled and asked why anyone would listen to Haitian Jazz instead of Kompa, Racine, or Twoubadou? Haiti is uniquely situated to draw on African, European, North American and Latin American musical traditions. Jazz has played a role in each of these traditions. It will never be Haiti's best known genre of music, but it is a part of the wide spectrum of Haitian music. Tequila Minksy provides below an update, through the Heritage Kompa website, on the second annual International Haitian Jazz Festival. All concert photos taken from the website.
We get quite a few emails from young people with a week or two off of school who would like to volunteer in Haiti. Without knowing Kreyol or having special skills, opportunities are somewhat limited but they are out there. Through volunteering you can learn about the country, its culture, and develop an awareness of the developmental challenges, and just as important, how to addresss them. When you come back, that's when the hard work starts. You may well find that you can do more for Haiti stateside.
I expected to hear of food riots in Haiti. Life has never been easy for Haitians but escalating food costs have made just getting by more and more difficult. If you and I went a day without eating and did not know if the next day let alone the next week would bring more of the same, I would not be writing this and you would not be reading this - we would be out in the streets protesting!
It should be no surprise that funding tops the list of needs among most non-profit organizations. If your organization's interested in implementing a sustainable project focusing on health, hunger, literacy, at-risk youth, or the environment then consider partnering with your local Rotary Club. Rotary Clubs are great avenues for networking in order to further develop or expand projects as well as for financial support. Rotary International currently has over $2 million of grant funds invested in Haiti. Just recently, I partnered with Project Medishare and South Florida Rotary Clubs on a water and nutrition project, totaling to $150,000. Haiti Innovation has provided the essential tips on how to be eligible and apply for Rotary funding in Haiti.
Haitians are no strangers to hunger. Yet, the past six months of rising food and fuel costs has hit the country hard. But Haiti is not alone. Citizens of other countries are being squeezed as well. Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Senegal, Argentina, Peru, and Indonesia have all seen protests over rising food costs. Those who were struggling but making ends meet have found themselves spending more and more of their household income on food (and by extension less in other areas such as education.) Will our children and grandchildren inherit a hungrier world? If so, their world will be less democatic, more instable, and more dangerous.
Easily the greatest benefit of living, working and studying in Washington, D.C. is the opportunity to meet incredibly passionate people who are making a real difference in the world. If you stay here long enough, you learn that circumstance is as much a contributor to institutional change as innovation and intellect.
Haitiwebs recently ran an announcement by Maxime Roumer, Senator of the Grande Anse Region, thanking Cuba for its cooperation in promoting the use of renewable energy in Haiti. The Cuban Society for the Promotion of Renewable Energy Sources and Envrionmental Respect, CubaSolar, and the Grande Anse Assocation have formed a partnership to bring renewable energy options to the Grande Anse region.