WASH in HaitiPost-colonial social, political and economic insecurity, coupled with Haiti’s susceptibility to extreme weather events, has led to inadequate access to potable water and proper sanitation in the country. Consequently, 80% of rural Haitians lack direct access to sanitation facilities. In addition, only 40% have access to an improved water source. This has left many people living in Haiti vulnerable to a variety of waterborne illnesses such as typhoid, cholera and chronic diarrhea. It is estimated that one in six Haitian children under the age of 5 die from diarrhea. While access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), is still a substantial issue, the good news is that many efforts are being made in recent years to improve WASH in Haiti.

5 Organizations That Are Working to Improve WASH in Haiti:

  1. Promises for Haiti aims to “demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ” by empowering Haitian governmental leaders to effect change for vulnerable populations. Founded in 1981, the organization works to improve WASH in Haiti specifically through their agronomy program to eliminate Haitian citizens’ susceptibility to waterborne illnesses. Accomplishing this action involves allowing people further access to WASH facilities. The organization partnered with Comite Bienfaisance de Pignon (CBP) to maintain over 2,000 wells in and around the Pignon area. Additionally, they have built wells in each of the nine Christian schools founded in the region. The organization sustains its agronomy program through online donations by visitors to the website that are passionate about the cause.
  2. Founders, Dick and Barb, established Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH) after taking a medical mission trip to Haiti. The organization, founded in the 1970s, completed its first clinic in Cyadier, Haiti, in 2000. Through their program, FOTCOH WASH, it aims to teach the importance of maintaining hygiene and the proper methods of storing water. This program enacts an array of activities dedicated to the betterment of WASH in Haiti. This includes building latrines, testing household water quality and distributing hygiene and personal care kits. Through their education clinics, FOTCOH demonstrates that the key to creating change in WASH is education coupled with actionable initiatives. The clinic treats over 15,000 patients a year
  3. Haiti National Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy (HANWASH) is a national initiative in Haiti. It is a collaboration between multiple organizations: The Haiti National WASH, DINEPA and other non-governmental organizations. The organization’s main objective is to obtain sustainable WASH for all Haitian citizens by 2030 through a systemic approach. This means establishing efficient infrastructure and ensuring that community leaders have the means to sustain these facilities in the long-term. Fulfilling the objective requires promoting accountability and establishing clear lines of authority. Although the program is still in the pilot stages, they aim to establish their second $300,000 grant through rotary and pledge donations.
  4. Hope for Haiti projects that, in the face of adversity, there is hope for improvement through resilience, empowerment, accountability and collaboration. Since its founding in 1990, the organization has implemented WASH programs in 24 communities. These programs work to provide clean water to Haitian citizens and conduct public health sessions to educate on the merits of basic hygiene practices and methods to avoid waterborne illnesses. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has been working ceaselessly to respond to Haiti’s needs. To date, they have distributed $10 million in medical supplies and 5,450 Sawyer Water Filtration Systems. These actions allow for safe drinking water. Their goal in the coming months is to distribute 7,300 more hygiene kits and 550 Sawyer Water Filtration Systems.
  5. Following the example of Mother Teresa, Health Equity International founded St. Boniface Hospital in 1983. St. Boniface Hospital is now the largest and only tertiary care center in southern Haiti. Their main efforts are to maintain the hospital’s access to clean drinking water while working in the surrounding Fond des Blancs community and to provide water tablets and hygiene education to prevent waterborne illnesses. The organization also recognizes the importance of tackling future issues as evidenced by their coronavirus response. Over the last three months of COVID-19, they have provided the Triage and Treatment Center and handwashing stations.

 There is still much work to be done in order to ensure that everyone in Haiti has access to adequate water and sanitation facilities. However, these organizations demonstrate that there is hope for WASH in Haiti through passionate humanitarian efforts.

– Kira Lucas
Photo: Flickr

Haitian Water CrisisHaiti is currently managing an outbreak of the pandemic virus, COVID-19. Amid a highly contagious virus, Haiti’s water and sanitation facilities are of the utmost importance in containing mass contagion. However, millions of the Haitian population do not have access to clean water and sanitation facilities essential in combating viruses. The Haitian water crisis is complicating the response to Covid-19.

On March 19, Haiti’s government declared a state of emergency wafter confirming its first COVID-19 case. Haiti has confirmed over 6,000 cases of COVID-19 since then. Fortunately, Haiti has seen low death rates reported at less than one percent and, despite experiencing some case spikes, Haiti’s COVID-19 cases have been on a downward trend since the beginning of June. However, without proper precaution, COVID-19 death rates could easily be back on the rise in Haiti.

Covid-19 and Water

According to a public health announcement issued by the World Health (WHO) Organization, one of the most effective ways to avoid COVID-19 contagion is to wash your hands regularly. WHO also recommends frequently cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and everyday objects.

Any WHO-advised COVID-19 prevention measures that require increasing sanitation practices pose a problem for Haiti. Only about half of the Haitian population has access to clean water, and only one-third of the population has access to basic sanitation facilities. The Haitian water crisis is making it difficult for citizens to take precautions. Water resources and sanitation facilities are particularly inadequate in rural areas of Haiti. Lacking the resources to combat COVID-19 will only increase the probability of contracting the already highly contagious virus.

Along with the pressure of a worldwide pandemic, Haiti is still dealing with the effects of a devastating natural disaster. In 2010, an earthquake decimated Haiti destroying essential infrastructures in Port Au Prince, Haiti’s Capital city. The earthquake caused mass displacement and migration to rural areas of Haiti. These highly populated rural areas are now struggling to contain COVID-19 contagion without the necessary resources to prevent widespread contamination.

Another challenge rural Haitians face is the lack of communication with the government about COVID-19 prevention methods. Because rural areas host almost half of the population in Haiti, many Haitians are unaware of the need for proper sanitation. PureWaterfortheWorld.org is working along with the Centre of Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology to get radio and virtual COVID-19 prevention sanitation methods to rural areas of Haiti that experience government communication issues. The PWW proposes driving trucks through rural areas while blasting sanitation messages through loudspeakers.

The Way Forward

While the PWW focuses on the dissemination of information, many are working to provide better sanitation in rural communities. These organizations aim to provide clean water and hygienic sanitation facilities to curb the spread of COVID-19. An organization called Charity:water.org establishes long-term water solutions in rural Haiti. Charity:water.org uses hydrologists and engineers to design wells and pumps that extract water from natural resources in mountains and springs. Up to now, Charity:water.org has invested in 40 water projects in Haiti and over 50,000 all over the world.

The organizations working to provide better and more accessible water resources to rural Haiti will significantly impact the prevention of COVID-19 through sanitation practices. Along with the efforts to advertise the importance of sanitation, the western hemisphere’s poorest country can manage COVID-19 amid a water crisis.

– Kaitlyn Gilbert
Photo: Flickr

fight child povertyToday, about 385 million children worldwide live in extreme poverty according to UNICEF. These three organizations fight child poverty through child sponsorship programs. By pairing a child in poverty with a monthly financial donor, these programs work to ensure children receive necessary medical and educational resources to end the poverty cycle.

3 Organizations Fighting Child Poverty

  1. Restore Haiti: Restore Haiti is a non-profit that works to fight child poverty in Haiti. This organization was started in 2005 by Philip Peters and Gerald Lafleur after Peters visited Lafleur’s homeland of Haiti. Peters saw “the need and knew that the little [he] had and the resources [he] had were something that could be used, and a long-term commitment was born.” The organization focuses efforts on three main communities: Morne Oge, Matador and Carrefore.

    Morne Oge, the community where Restore Haiti began, partners with Restoration Ministries. Today, they serve over 700 elementary, secondary and university/trade school students and their families. Children in the sponsorship program receive meals, education and basic health needs through the help of a monthly donor.

    In Matador, Restore Haiti provides tuition assistance and one daily hot meal to students. They also plan to fund new, sanitary bathroom facilities and a satellite kitchen for the 240 children attending the elementary school.

    Carrefour began as a satellite program in 2014. Today, Restore Haiti assists with educational expenses and two meals a week to children. On their website, they note that “In the Carrefour community, many youths end up joining gangs and living troubled lives, so the food, education, and life skills being imparted to them are key to seeing change come to this community.” In addition to the school costs and meals, Restore Haiti’s community-based staff provides mentorship, training in life skills and character building to the children in Carrefour. 

  2. Compassion International, Inc.: This organization advocates for children and is the world’s leading authority in holistic child development through sponsorship. They were founded in 1952 when Reverend Everett Swanson flew to South Korea. He was there to minister to American troops but felt compelled to help the orphans there reach their full potential. Together, Compassion and local churches provide whole life care – holistic, comprehensive care to help children “fully develop and become responsible, fulfilled adults.”

    Children enrolled in Compassion programs are 27-40% more likely to complete a secondary education, and 20% more likely to have a higher income as an adult. Compassion aims to fight child poverty through a direct partnership between a child and the sponsor. This is done by cultivating a meaningful relationship between the sponsored child and the sponsor through letter writing and emails. In 2019, more than 2.1 million children were sponsored. Today, in addition to child sponsorships, Compassion provides mother and baby care and health resources. They also work to meet critical needs such as providing clean/sanitized water, treatment for HIV infection, access to medical treatment and disaster relief in their efforts to fight child poverty.

  3. World Vision: Started in 1950 when Bob Pierce helped one little girl, this organization now helps more than 3.5 million children in nearly 100 countries. They fight against child poverty through sponsorship programs, health and economic empowerment, child protection, disaster relief, education and food security. World Vision uses a child sponsorship program where a sponsor’s commitment helps the sponsored child and community overcome poverty. According to World Vision’s reports, “over a five-year period, 89% of the children who were severely malnourished in severe relief areas were treated and made a full recovery.” Typically, sponsorship lasts 10-15 years.

    World Vision’s work extends to the next generation of children. The organization’s influence in Bangladesh improved reading comprehension. Students who used the literacy programs measured at 68% reading comprehension compared to those not using the literacy program, who measured at 4% reading comprehension. In Zambia, moms located where this organization runs health and nutrition programs were six times more likely to receive healthcare designed to boost newborn survival compared to mothers in areas where these resources are not available.

    In addition to funding education and health needs for the sponsored child, funds go to make necessary changes in the community. World Vision meets with local community leaders and, after developing a plan, addresses things like “improving water, sanitation, health and nutrition, education and child protection.” The organization’s effects are lasting. Eight out of ten World Vision wells are still functioning at high levels in Ghana after being drilled nearly twenty years ago. The improvements made through World Vision’s child and community sponsorship programs provide the necessary health and educational experiences to fight child poverty.

– Danielle Beatty
Photo: Flickr

music education in developing countries
Around the globe, music education represents an influential force in the fight against poverty. Studies show that learning a musical instrument entails numerous cognitive advantages for children and young adults, improving memory, attention and communication skills. Music also builds confidence and allows students to express their creativity. In addition, the music industry creates space for new economic developments and possibilities. Here are four examples of music education in developing countries and the ways in which it makes a difference in the lives of the world’s poor.

Haiti

Amid political upheaval and the domestic challenges of daily life, music offers impoverished Haitians a source of comfort and strength. Organizations such as BLUME Haiti aim to utilize music as an avenue for education and community building.

After a deadly earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, BLUME Haiti began delivering musical instruments and supplies to help the nation rebuild. Through summer music camps, professional development workshops for Haitian music teachers, music classes in schools and other programs, BLUME Haiti continues to reach talented youth as they learn new skills and imagine broader possibilities for their futures.

In partnership with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, BLUME Haiti unveiled the innovative Haitian Orchestra Institute (HOI) in 2017. The program invites top music students from around the country to develop their craft alongside professional musicians. Chosen through a selective audition process, participants join Utah Symphony’s Music Director Thierry Fischer for a full week of rehearsals, sectionals, lessons and a final concert. Each year, HOI affords hundreds of young artists a life-changing experience.

The Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, public schools are often unable to fund enrichment programs that allow students to express their creativity outside the classroom. Without a creative outlet, many students find themselves disengaged from the curriculum and choose to drop out of school.

The DREAM Music Education Program is taking steps to combat this issue. DREAM introduces music programs in public schools to improve students’ educational experience and strengthen their cognitive abilities. Since undertaking these efforts, the organization has found that students who participate in a band or other musical ensemble are seven times more likely to graduate from high school.

In all DREAM programs, students receive training in basic musical skills, work together in a group setting and develop an appreciation for Dominican musical traditions. Performance opportunities and interactive classes throughout the year celebrate all students’ achievements. Meanwhile, hoping to instill in them a sense of identity and belonging, DREAM works particularly hard to reach at-risk youth.

Rwanda

Music education also plays a critical role in Rwanda, where people are still reeling from the trauma of genocide. Two programs have initiated a joint effort to use music as a means of therapy, aid and economic development for the Rwandan people.

Music Road Rwanda sponsors live music events throughout the country that feature both classical and traditional Rwandan music. The organization also raises money for students to train at the Kigali Music School. Generous scholarships, funded by Music Road Rwanda’s “adopt-a-student” model, allow under-resourced youth to prepare for careers as musicians and music therapists.

Musicians Without Borders Rwanda expresses a similar mission of hope and healing through music. Working in concert with its medical partner We-ACTx for Hope, the organization hires local artists to teach singing and songwriting in traumatized communities. In 2012, Musicians Without Borders introduced its Music Leadership Training campaign, encouraging students to embrace music as a vehicle for empathy and social change.

Bangladesh

The Mirpur district of Dhaka, Bangladesh is one of the poorest areas in the world: 32% of residents live on less than $2 a day, and 48% of children suffer from malnutrition. Illiteracy rates are also among the world’s highest. Two music teachers from the Playing for Change Foundation are working to make a difference here through music education.

Their free music classes take a unique, interdisciplinary approach to help students develop vocabulary, reading and pronunciation skills as they learn their instruments. The two teachers spend nearly 100 hours each month with their students, who range in age from 5 to 12 years old. All students come from the approximately 950 children receiving education from the poverty-relief organization SpaandanB.

Donors from around the world have contributed funds to purchase keyboards, acoustic guitars and ukuleles for Mirpur music students. Each instrument costs between $80 and $100 and affords students the invaluable gift of cherishing music for a lifetime.

Young musicians worldwide, especially those living in poverty, benefit from the rigor of music education. Music connects people through a language that transcends the bounds of time, space and nation. At the same time, it supports the development of critical life skills. It is imperative that we continue to provide music education in developing countries and foster the innumerable advantages it promises to bring in its train.

Katie Painter 
Photo: U.S. Air Force

Healthcare in HaitiHaiti has a population of 11 million people and shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with its neighbor, the Dominican Republic. Coverage of Haiti’s poverty was launched into world news after the 2010 earthquake. The country is still recovering from this natural disaster which has had detrimental effects on every sector of the economy including healthcare. Here are five facts about healthcare in Haiti.

5 Facts About Healthcare in Haiti

  1. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere ranking 169 /189 countries according to the Human Development Index. The life expectancy for males is 61 years of age compared to 66 years for females. Haiti has one of the world’s most unequal income distributions, and with 6 million Haitians living on less than $2 a day affording healthcare is a challenge. In 2012, only one-third of the population was financially stable enough to access healthcare in Haiti.
  2. Little government funding causes low public investment in healthcare in Haiti. The World Bank deems the government’s finances should invest in preventing diseases rather than creating more hospital buildings. Unfortunately, the Haitian government has largely decreased its investment in healthcare and in 2017 only 4.4% of Haiti’s budget was spent on public health.
  3. The Hospital of the State University of Haiti is still not constructed following the devastating 2010 earthquake. This planned 534-bed infirmary was set to become the newest general hospital, but the project has come to a halt as $27 million is still needed for completion. Issues about which type of healthcare system to use, political problems and a poor economy bring about questions when this building will be finished.
  4. Around 96% of the Haitian population is exposed to natural disasters that hinder advancement in society. For example, the 2010 earthquake destroyed the capital city of Port-au-Prince, where more than 25% of the country lives. This earthquake killed 150,000 people and destroyed 60% of the healthcare system in Haiti. The highest rates of cholera in the Western Hemisphere are in Haiti. The cholera epidemic entered Haiti’s rivers in 2010 which infected 800,000 people and killed 10,000. In 2014 drought caused millions of people to become food insecure which created the problem of malnourishment.
  5. The current political conflict is putting a strain on access to healthcare in Haiti. In an attempt to force the Haitian President to resign, the country participated in a lockdown known as “Peyi Lock.” Due to the lockdown, patients were unable to travel to hospitals and major shortages of medical supplies such as drugs and oxygen occurred. Inflation caused the price of medicines to increase by 35%. International medical assistance groups have begun to leave the island which will harm those in poverty who cannot afford healthcare.

Political conflict and poverty create difficulties when accessing healthcare in Haiti. Though the current pandemic presents new challenges, the World Bank created a $20 million COVID-19 Response Project for Haiti to help address the most pressing concerns. Aside from emergency health funding, the World Bank is also addressing gaps in other sectors such as WASH and food security which all relate to ensuring resilience in the health of as many Haitians as possible.

– Hannah Nelson
Photo: Unsplash

Education in Haiti
Due to the history of French colonization in Haiti, the French language and its influence have permeated many aspects of life in the country. The French language is very present in education in Haiti as a language of prestige and affluence. As a result, French was the language of instruction in schools, despite only 5% of the population speaking it. The most widely spoken language in Haiti, however, is Haitian Creole.

Called Kreyòl by its speakers, the language formed in the late 17th and early 18th century. Enslaved people from different linguistic backgrounds that came from Africa to Haiti used the language to communicate with each other. The language is a mix of French and various languages from the Niger-Congo language family, and it uses features from each of these tongues. Since then, the majority of Haitians have spoken the language, currently 95% of the population. However, despite the Haitian population speaking Haitian Creole as opposed to French, schools in Haiti have historically taught in French. More recently, though, efforts at enhancing education in Haiti have led to the use of Haitian Creole in schools.

French in Classrooms

The use of French in education is a remnant from Haiti’s time as a French colony. Since the people in power, the French colonizers, spoke the French language, it became the language of prestige and civilization. Many people believed that Haitian Creole was inferior because it was the language of slaves.

Seeing as French colonizers historically viewed the language as broken French, the attitude around Haitian Creole became that it is the language of those with the least education. This stigma is not only false but damaging.

Haitian Creole is a legitimate language with its own phonological and grammatical characteristics and has an orthography system that emerged in 1979. However, due to the stigma, schools have used French as the language of instruction.

Educating in Haitian Creole

Haitian students often feel lost and discouraged when they have to learn school subjects in a language they barely know. This is why Haiti’s government announced a policy in 2015 to educate its students in Haitian Creole due to an agreement between Haiti’s Ministry of National Education and the Haitian Creole Academy. The Haitian government made this effort to help its children establish strong foundations in their native language through education, while also respecting their cultural identity. Once the children have these foundations, they may be able to more easily learn second languages, such as French.

Schools Teaching in Haitian Creole

While many schools still teach in French, the number of schools that are enhancing education in Haiti by teaching in Haitian Creole is on the rise. Liv Ouvè school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is one school that has implemented this change for the better. In the past, children at this school have struggled with learning in French, which caused their educational performance to decline. Now at Liv Ouvè, teachers instruct in Haitian Creole, but still teach the basics of French in the context of their native language. This allows students to learn and practice both Haitian Creole and French without risking their educational success.

Another school in Haiti that conducts lessons in Haitian Creole is the Matenwa Community School. This school uses Haitian Creole for all instruction up until the third grade where the curriculum introduces French as a second language once the students have a set foundation. Unfortunately, not all books are in both French and Haitian Creole, but the school raises money to buy books specifically in Haitian Creole. A Haitian linguist, Michel DeGraff, found that the Matenwa student’s reading skills are nearly three times greater than the average score of 84 mainland schools.

Another school that has implemented this change in Haiti is the Louverture Cleary School in Croix-des-Bouquets. This Catholic boarding school in Haiti caters to students from poor neighborhoods by offering a tuition-free education. This school’s approach seeks to counteract illiteracy among Haitian youth by instructing students in Haitian Creole. By incorporating Haitian Creole into difficult subjects such as science and math, the school counteracts the idea that the language is not sophisticated enough for such subjects. This school has achieved a 98% rate of students passing national high school exams as opposed to the countrywide average of 30%.

Enhancing education in Haiti through the use of Haitian Creole both validates the linguistic identity of Haitians while ensuring that language is not a barrier in youth education. By using this language in schools, students have a better chance of succeeding academically, instead of struggling due to this linguistic barrier. Haitian Creole shows Haitian youth that their language is intelligent and important, and it gives them the opportunity to pursue the education they desire.

Natascha Holenstein
Photo: Flickr

hunger in Haiti
Haiti, a Caribbean country with a population of more than 11 million, is one of the most food-insecure countries in the world. Political and economic crises, combined with natural disasters and extreme weather events, have contributed to the rise of poverty and hunger in Haiti. About 1 million Haitians are severely food insecure, and more than one-fifth of Haitian children are chronically malnourished. Here are five facts about hunger in Haiti.

5 Facts About Hunger in Haiti

  1. Haiti is one of the most impoverished countries in the Americas. According to the World Food Program U.S.A., almost 60% of the Haitian population lives below the poverty line and 25% of it experiences extreme poverty. Furthermore, more than 5 million Haitians earn less than $1 per day. This means that about half of the population cannot afford to buy food and other necessities. The hunger crisis is most prevalent in regions with the highest levels of poverty, particularly in the northwest.
  2. One-third of Haiti’s population is in urgent need of food assistance. Around 3.7 million Haitians did not have reliable access to adequate food in 2019. According to the United Nations, this number increased from 2.6 million in 2018. In 2019, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that, without immediate food assistance for Haitian people living in poverty, “1.2 million people will only be able to eat one meal every other day and about 2.8 million people might eat just one meal a day” in 2020.
  3. Frequent natural disasters and droughts contribute to widespread hunger. Haiti is one of the most weather-affected countries worldwideIn 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake had a huge negative impact on food security in the region. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew was devastating for Haiti’s agricultural production and its citizens. It caused more than 800,000 people to require immediate food assistance. Severe droughts have also decreased agricultural production and left more people hungry and malnourished in recent years.
  4. Political instability and poor economic conditions have decreased the accessibility of food aid and caused food prices to rise. In the last year, political gridlock and corruption have created obstacles to the distribution of food aid, according to Global Citizen. Protests in major cities, violence and the economic recession have caused businesses and schools to close, blocking many citizens from access to affordable meals and food assistance. Also, in 2019, the cost of staple foods like rice, wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oil and beans rose by about 34%.
  5. Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to exacerbate the hunger crisis in Haiti. As a small island state, Haiti is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Rising sea levels can bring about devastating floods. More frequent extreme weather events can devastate significant parts of the country’s agriculture and infrastructure. Therefore, climate change poses a significant threat to food security and agricultural production in Haiti. Unfortunately, this threat will only increase in future years. The COVID-19 pandemic also threatens to raise inflation further, increasing the prices of staple foods. Haiti imports about 80% of its rice, so the pandemic’s impact on global supply chains could further restrict access to staple foods.

Solutions

As the hunger crisis in Haiti continues to grow, multiple organizations have implemented programs to provide food and financial assistance. For example, the World Food Program U.S.A. delivers meals to 1,400 Haitian schools every day. This program benefits students in 1,400 schools, and the Haitian government plans to take over the initiative by 2030. Feed the Children also provides school meals, including three hot meals each week, in an effort to reduce hunger and motivate students to prioritize their education. While these student-focused food assistance programs help reduce malnourishment and hunger, they also motivate children to continue pursuing an education.

Furthermore, the United States has provided more than $5.1 billion to Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. In the last 10 years, U.S. assistance has helped fund food security programs, increase crop yields and improve child nutrition in Haiti. OCHA hopes to receive $253 million in humanitarian aid for Haiti in 2020. With the financial assistance they urgently need, impoverished Haitians can better prepare for natural disasters. They can also gain reliable access to sufficient food. Both of these necessities will be more necessary than ever in 2020 and beyond.

Overall, these facts about hunger in Haiti show that it is a growing issue that affects millions of people. Now, the current COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying this problem. However, with humanitarian aid and food assistance from NGOs and members of the international community, including the United States, food insecurity in Haiti can reduce.

– Rachel Powell
Photo: Flickr

Sanitation in Haiti
Haiti has struggled with access to clean water over the past few decades. While strides have been made to improve the sanitation situation, the earthquake in 2010 augmented the problem. Access to clean water became almost impossible after the earthquake, culminating in the subsequent cholera outbreak. Here are 10 facts about sanitation in Haiti.

10 Facts About Sanitation in Haiti

  1. Prior to the 2010 Earthquake, only 69% of Haitians had access to an improved water source and only 17% had access to an improved sanitation facility. After the earthquake, however, these numbers plummeted, leading to the spread of cholera and typhoid. Organizations like Health Equity International have begun to combat this issue by providing water treatment tablets and water safety education.
  2. Only 24% of Haiti’s population has access to a toilet. With limited access to toilets, a nationwide sewage system has been hard to implement and maintain. This deficiency facilitates the spread of water-borne illnesses like cholera.
  3. Haiti’s WASH sector (Wash, Sanitation and Hygiene) is mostly financed by donors such as the World Bank, UNICEF, CDC and Swiss Development Cooperation. While these are major donors, anyone can donate.
  4. In 2012, the CDC helped the National Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation (DINEPA) train communal water and sanitation technicians (TEPACs) to help improve water infrastructure in rural areas. TEPACs are extremely helpful because they routinely assess water systems, monitor free chlorine in the water, work with humanitarian aid and support the WASH sector.
  5. Before the 2010 earthquake, no waste management facility existed in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. After the earthquake and following cholera outbreak, the Morne a Cabri wastewater treatment was opened. This was extremely beneficial, as waste could be properly managed as opposed to remaining in a fecal sludge.
  6. The World Bank, in conjunction with DINEPA, supported a project to improve water and sanitation in Haiti. This project resulted in the construction of 25 sets of latrines, 25 urinals and 28 hand-washing stations. It also built sanitation works in public schools and a health center.
  7. In 2015, the Ministry of Health, DINEPA and the Ministry of Trade outlined a program to improve and monitor water quality. This agreement (The Promotion of Sanitation, Hygiene, and Life) was signed into law in 2016.
  8. Shortly after the cholera outbreak, the Haitian government implemented the National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti 2013-2022. This plan includes a framework for improving water, sanitation, health care, education, transportation and more. By increasing access to potable water and sanitation facilities, the government hopes to limit the spread of water-borne diseases.
  9. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) worked with the Haitian Solid Waste Collection Agency to remove health care waste (needles, bandages, gloves, etc.). As a result, hospitals received more training and information regarding how to manage medical waste.
  10. After U.S. government assistance, 392,000 people in Haiti gained access to improved sanitation and 2.1 million people gained access to improved drinking water.

These facts about Haiti and the country’s lack of clean water highlight the importance of consumable water and sanitary environments. While Haiti’s water accessibility and sanitary facilities are behind other nations in the Western Hemisphere, it is improving its infrastructure and hygiene-educational efforts to improve the lives of Haitian citizens.

– Ehina Srivastava
Photo: Flickr

disasters and homelessness in Haiti
In January 2010, Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, was in the epicenter of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Concrete buildings were reduced to rubble, homes were destroyed and more than five million people were displaced. As one of the poorest countries, the fight against disasters and homelessness in Haiti is a continuous uphill battle. Here are six facts about the link between natural disasters and homelessness in Haiti.

6 Facts About Disasters and Homelessness in Haiti

  1. Haiti needed around 300,000 houses before the 2010 earthquake, and over 500,000 afterwards. At the time of the 2010 earthquake, 70% of Haiti’s population was living below the poverty line. As a result of frequent natural disasters, political unrest and the high dependency on agriculture for livelihood, the country fell behind in development.
  2. Buildings in Haiti were not built to withstand powerful earthquakes. Before 2010, there were no proper building codes for houses in Haiti. Over half of the population lives in rural areas with their homes consisting of mud walls and palm leaves woven together for a roof. In the cities, most live in overpopulated slums with no enforced safety regulations. This leaves a majority of the population vulnerable to losing their homes if a natural disaster strikes.
  3. Those who lost their homes in the 2010 earthquake had to go to internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. There, they lived in makeshift tents of sheets and tin, had no direct access to running water, no electricity and no security. However, countries around the world banded together in an effort to help the displaced by sending supplies, along with doctors and relief workers. Donors of Direct Relief provided up to $7 million for rebuilding in Haiti.
  4. Continuous natural disasters delay the recovery process. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti as a category 4, damaging the south end of the country. Once again, countries and organizations like World Vision continued to supply relief well into 2018. The Red Cross also funded livestock replacement and vet clinics that brought benefits to 5,000 families. Collectively, it raised a total of $5.2 million to help those in Haiti who had been impacted by the hurricane.
  5. IDP camps are still in use today. Of the 1.5 million people who lived in IDP camps in the summer of 2010, there are 50,000 that remain. Those who were able to leave the camps had either raised enough money to rebuild their home or received rental subsidies from the government. There are also hundreds of non-profit organizations, such as Homes for Haiti, Build Change, Build Abroad and the Red Cross, providing volunteers to build shelters for the homeless in Haiti.
  6. A cholera outbreak took place in one of the camps after the earthquake. However, along with the foreign aid and continuous construction of houses, the country has been successful in containing the cholera outbreak that overtook the camp after the earthquake. Haiti’s last confirmed cholera case was in January 2019, and has not seen any since.

There is hope for homelessness in Haiti. Recovery from disasters in poor countries like Haiti take time, but with coordinated efforts between humanitarian organizations, Haiti can continue to rebuild.

– Molly Moline 
Photo: Flickr

How Developed Countries Can Help Reduce Inequality
Developed nations can contribute to a large percentage of world problems, such as pollution, and these issues tend to impact the developing world the most. Recently, issues that developing nations have been dealing with for a long time have begun to encroach on developed nations. The lack of poverty aid, climate policies and failure to protect the innocent have created a global hostile environment that has encouraged developed nations to divide from developing nations despite sharing the same world. However, developed countries can have an impact on inequality in the world. One way that developed countries can reduce inequality is by providing aid to impoverished nations. One of these areas is Haiti, which has experienced significant damage due to natural disasters in the past.

Demand to Raise Issues of Inequality

There has been an incredible demand to address issues that affect the world in an unequal way, such as climate change. One area that developed countries can reduce inequality is in the country of Haiti where there is a large percentage of the population living below the poverty line and the poorest of the population is the most vulnerable. Those in poverty often do not have a place to safely shelter during, or after, natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes. Launching a market to help and develop the developing world is a way to unify countries and respond to the issues of poverty and climate change.

Veerhouse Voda

One company dedicated to addressing the issue of shelter is Veerhouse Voda, which has developed a building method to efficiently strengthen inadequate infrastructures, like some of the ones in Haiti. Veerhouse Voda’s infrastructure development is just one of many ways that the expertise and experience of the developed world can go towards improving the infrastructure of the entire planet.

The existing infrastructure of Haiti is currently underdeveloped and is often a problem during natural disasters. For example, in 2016, Hurricane Matthew destroyed many shelters in Haiti and damaged others. Much of the population was not able to find shelter. Veerhouse Voda’s building method can create a much safer, more resistant infrastructure to withstand natural disasters. In addition, it can implement emergency buildings to mitigate the loss of life after disaster events.

Companies, such as Veerhouse Voda, have collaborated together to form the Unreasonable Group to invest in developing infrastructure. As a result, this can protect people and set a foundation for places like Haiti. Veerhouse Voda can create disaster-resilient shelters that are locally built. It uses local employment to construct its shelters and can later transition them to more permanent structures. The positive impact that Veerhouse Voda can have in Haiti and on the developing world is the motivation behind the Unreasonable Group and other companies.

Developed countries can reduce inequality globally in order to create more of a unified world. As the infrastructure of the world begins to equalize, there will be opportunities for each unique cultural perspective to contribute to the progress of civilization. The alternative to investing in developing countries now is to continue to combat the symptoms of inequality.

Brian King
Photo: Flickr