A YEAR IN
2010 A girl helps monitor water quality at her school as part of the ‘learning for life’ project
why Plan works in Haiti
• 82 per cent of Haitians in rural areas survive on less than US$2 a day
• Supporting community organisations to manage themselves and provide services for children
• The country is vulnerable to severe tropical storms
• Helping poor families to become economically secure and independent
• Only 50 per cent of children attend primary school
• Helping more people to get healthcare, preventing childhood illnesses, improving sanitation, and supporting those affected by HIV/AIDS • Improving educational quality and enabling more children to go to school
‘The loan came as a miracle from heaven at the right time’
Ouanaminthe Fort-Liberté Trou du Nord
A leadership workshop in Jacmal
Haiti Facts Population: 9 million Capital: Port-au-Prince Languages: French and Creole Climate: The climate of the
region is tropical but rainfall varies with elevation, size and water currents. Warm, moist trade winds blow consistently from the east creating rainforest/semi desert divisions. Occasional north-westerlies affect Haiti in the winter. Winters are warm, but drier.
Gonaïves Economy: About 66 per cent
of all Haitians work in the agricultural sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming. However, this activityHAITI makes up only 30 per cent of the GDP. The country has experienced little formal job creation over the past decade, although the informal economy is growing. Mangoes and coffee are two of Haiti’s most important exports.
Croix-des-Bouquets Dolney Beudet
Port-au-Prince Les Cayes
HAITI Country Office Program Units
Jacmel Cayes Jacmel
household economic security Many Haitian families struggle to meet their basic needs, and women and young people are the most vulnerable. Plan aims to improve families’ financial security, enabling them to have a regular income in a country with extremely high unemployment rates. Basic financial services, including credit and savings schemes, enable people to start
small businesses, generate income, and cope during times of financial stress. We provide literacy and business skills training, and vocational training for young people.
3,000 pre-school children attended 56 child care centres as part of ‘learning for life’
The Bigger Picture
after tropical storm Hanna ‘Hanna took everything I had: my house, my cattle and my gardens. I lost everything within a few days.’ Natalie, a mother from the remote community of Lavanneau, south-east Haiti, is one of many whose lives were devastated by four tropical storms that hit Haiti in August and September 2008. Over 400 people were killed and more than 25,000 families severely affected by tropical storms Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike. In south-east Haiti, where Plan works, infrastructure and agriculture were destroyed and development achievements severely set back. Plan’s response was to provide emergency assistance and set up a project to help small traders recover economically, enabling them to continue caring for their children. Struggling to cope Natural disasters devastate those who are already economically vulnerable, reducing their ability to cope still further. Many families, who depend for economic security on small businesses or subsistence agriculture, lost housing, livestock, goods and crops. Children often bear the brunt of disasters and their rights to food, education and healthcare are compromised. Natalie remembers her distress: ‘I could not imagine how I was going to send my children to school or even continue to take care of them.’ Plan needed to help families like Natalie’s to meet their children’s immediate needs, and recover their longer-term economic security. The first step was to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in the south-east, providing hot meals, drinking water and shelter to 1000 people. In the main town of Jacmel, 300 families received hygiene kits. In western Haiti, 10,000 school kits were given to children whose parents had lost their belongings in floods caused by the hurricanes.
Looking forward Longer-term economic recovery was vital to help affected families get back on their feet, and prevent them from slipping further into extreme poverty. After the hurricanes, families made many sacrifices to survive, either drastically reducing spending on food, selling their remaining assets or borrowing money to buy food or other essentials. Many were at the mercy of loan sharks, causing further impoverishment. In partnership with Fonkoze (which means ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ in Creole), Plan set up a project targeted at women traders, to promote economic recovery through small loans. The project focuses on women because they are particularly hard hit. Many raise children on their own, and those who do have a spouse or partner are often financially dependent and do not take part in household or community decision-making. However, women are the centre of household economy and when they’re able to make money, their children benefit from better food, education and health. The project gave interest-free loans for a period of six to twelve months, enabling women to get their small trade or business started again. Working hard During the project 1725 women received loans ranging from A$260 to A$330. The women worked hard to make the most of this opportunity, with impressive results. To date, 61 per cent of them have already been able to rebuild their small business. The project enabled women to provide a more solid foundation for their children’s future. Natalie explains how her loan helped: ‘I could carry out my obligations towards my children and even more. I was able to replace several heads of cattle and start repairing my house.’ And even at an extremely difficult and traumatic time, the project reignited hope. As Natalie says: ‘The loan came as a miracle from heaven at the right time’. Some names have been changed for child protection and privacy reasons.
Produced for Haiti by Plan International Australia.
Plan is working with children, families and communities to find sustainable solutions to the challenges in Haiti. We have only given you a small insight into Plan’s work in Haiti with this report but over the past year we also: • Vaccinated 12,315 children, provided 10,000 students from 24 schools with health services, and provided 3200 pregnant women with antenatal care • Supported 2600 people living with HIV and 1950 orphans with medical care, school fees, and nutritional monitoring • Trained 240 teachers in maths, French, Creole and science, and equipped 368 school libraries Your support as a sponsor is crucial to achieving these results. With the resources provided by sponsors, Plan expertise and the collaboration of communities and local partners we are making a big difference to the lives of people in Haiti. Thank you for your involvement! This country progress report was compiled before January’s devastating earthquake hit Haiti. Plan International responded immediately and is continuing to provide aid for affected people. For more information please go to www.plan.org.au
To learn more about Plan’s work in Haiti visit plan.org.au/ourwork/southernamerica/haiti
‘Women are the centre of household economy and when they’re able to make money, their children benefit from better food, education and health.’