In 2012, the situation for Haiti’s poorest remained dire as the public attention that accompanied the 2010 earthquake continued to recede and international donors turned their focus elsewhere. Once again, natural disasters struck in the form of August’s Tropical Storm Isaac, which destroyed crops on a large scale, and Hurricane Sandy in October, which caused extensive flooding and destruction. Relative political stability prevailed, but going forward, this will hinge on development gains, the prices of food and fuel, management of disaster risk, and a reversal in the recent rise in violence and gang-related activities.
Concern has been working in Haiti since 1994, with current programs in Port-au-Prince, Saut d’Eau, and the island of La Gonâve in the areas of health, water, education, livelihoods, and emergency response.
EMERGENCY - Providing lifesaving assistance to earthquake survivors and those affected by Hurricane Sandy
In 2012, Concern oversaw the relocation of 2,700 earthquake-affected families from two camps in Port-au Prince’s St. Martin slum as part of the Return to Neighborhoods program. Through this initiative, Concern provided rent subsidies for permanent homes and rehabilitated houses. We also provided water, sanitation, food and nutrition support, essential survival items, cash-for-work projects, protection of women and children, and vital health services.
To mitigate the threat of an outbreak of cholera in rural Saut d'Eau, Concern ensured there was increased awareness of the disease through community education and campaigns during a local religious festival and also provided access to safe water and sanitation for 85,000 people.
When Hurricane Sandy struck La Gonâve in October, it damaged roads, crops, homes, and water sources. In the aftermath of the storm, Concern repaired water systems and shelters in addition to providing cash-for-work opportunities and farming supplies to offset losses incurred by damaged crops.
HEALTH - Improving access to health care services and safe water
As part of Concern’s goal to secure health care access and nutrition for poor women, children, and the vulnerable, we treated over 4,500 malnourished children and held educational sessions on child nutrition for 12,900 mothers. Concern also cared for more than 4,400 children suffering from early childhood illnesses, including pneumonia and diarrhea. With the help of canvassing efforts by 190 youth health volunteers, 7,500 people received information on identifying and treating diseases in children and pregnant women. Additionally, trained community volunteers and women’s group members disseminated information on hygiene, with messages focusing on hand-washing with soap, drinking treated water, and using latrines. Through Concern’s water and environmental health program, we completed the construction of 14 boreholes on La Gonâve, creating access to clean water for 8,500 people. Water tariff systems were also established for 14 hand pumps on the island to provide funds for their maintenance. All construction projects incorporated earthquake and hurricane safety measures.
EDUCATION - Providing better educational opportunities for the poorest children of Saut d’Eau
In the Riviere Canot area of Saut d’Eau, Concern focused on the quality of literacy education in both French and Haiti's native language of Creole in 12 primary schools by training and providing support to 94 teachers and school directors. Working with the Haitian government, Concern held training workshops for teachers to improve classroom instruction methods, lesson planning, and in-class materials. To ensure that teachers with limited fluency in French could access and benefit from these materials and modules, they were translated into Creole. Concern also provided important classroom supplies such as books and blackboards to help teachers improve the literacy of their students. Additionally, we facilitated workshops for school staff on the principles of human and child rights and worked with teachers and parents to develop a code of conduct.
LIVELIHOODS - Creating better opportunities for the poorest people in Saut d’Eau
To help increase food security in Saut d’Eau, 269 mango and avocado orchards and nurseries were established and local producers were trained in horticultural techniques and essential principles to maintain the plants for the long term. Concern also held training workshops in soil conservation to teach farmers how to mitigate natural risks that threaten their crops. Four mango and avocado associations and 46 small-scale groups of local producers were organized to ensure that the poorest people were included in these activities. Helping local producers develop business and entrepreneurial skills through workshops and providing them with access to markets were also key goals of these agricultural efforts, and in 2012, farmers exported more than 22,400 dozen mangoes and 600 dozen avocadoes at fair-trade prices.
HAITI AT A GLANCE
Area: 28,000 sq km
Population: 10.3 million
GDP per capita: $1,034
Infant mortality (per thousand births): 70
Life expectancy: 62.4
Living with HIV and AIDS: 1.8 percent
Literacy rate: 48.7 percent
Without access to safe water: 31 percent
Human development rank: 161 (out of 187)
Global hunger rank/index: 77/30.8