A YEAR IN
HAITI SUMMARY REPORT
GOOD REASONS why Plan works in Haiti
A nutritional centre for children suffering from malnutrition.
• Up to 80% of the rural population live below the poverty line • Only 40% of people have access to healthcare, and many children die of diarrhoea, respiratory infections and malaria • There is a lack of knowledge and respect for children’s rights
Ouanaminthe Fort-Liberté Trou du Nord
C UB A
Croix-des-Bouquets Dolney Beudet
a Les Cayes
Jacmel Cayes Jacmel
• Supporting better health services, increasing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and working to reduce HIV/AIDS • Helping families to become more financially secure • Promoting children’s rights and supporting children at risk PUERTO RICO
Country Office Plan Programme ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
ST KITTS & NEVIS
Children draw attention to their rights at a march.
e Sa Rio oF Arag das ran uaia Mo rte Aracigsco s uai
Our priorities in Haiti • Enabling more children to go to school
HAITI FACTS Capital: Port-au-Prince Population: 8.5 million Language: French and Creole are the official languages 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.
Economy: About 66% of all Haitians work in the agricultural sector, which consists mainly of smallscale subsistence farming but this activity makes up only 30% 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.
“When children are assured of health and education, protected from conflict and violence, and participate in development, Haiti will achieve economic progress and prosperity. We believe young Haitians have the potential to take part in social, economic and political change.” MARTINIQUE
– Rezene Tesfamariam, Plan’s Country Director ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES
A YEAR IN
HAITI SUMMARY REPORT
FOCUS ON: PROMOTING CHILDREN’S RIGHTS Children’s rights are at the centre of Plan’s work in Haiti, because in the long term, building an awareness of children’s rights is the only way to make deep changes to the way society treats children. So we aim to raise awareness of these rights – especially the rights of the most vulnerable. We are also working to increase the number of children registered at birth (needed to access education and healthcare) and hold cross-cultural activities to build respect and understanding across national borders.
CHILDREN DEFENDING THEIR RIGHTS
T A mother learns to prepare nutrition serums for her children.
The Bigger Picture
Plan is working with children, families and whole communities to address the problems that Haiti faces. This report can only tell a small part of that story. As a further insight, last year we also: • Provided medical care to 600 people diagnosed with HIV, and supported 125 orphans with school fees and 175 with psychological support • Supplied food, medicine, drinking water, hygiene kits, and bedding to over 3,000 families during the cyclone season • Provided hundreds of young people with skills training, basic and vocational education, business training and financial services • Supported aid efforts to help families made homeless by 2008’s savage storms and widespread flooding. Your support as a sponsor is crucial to achieving these positive results. So on behalf of the communities, partner organisations, and most of all the children we work with – thank you!
“The long-term aim is to establish a link between children and young people from the different regions of Haiti and beyond.” To learn more about Plan’s work in Haiti visit www.plan.org.au/ourwork/southernamerica/haiti
Produced for Haiti by the Australian National Office.
he UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which enshrines children’s rights, including the right to education, safety from abuse, and the right to take part in the decisions which affect their lives, is almost 50 years old now.
But such rights remain an unfamiliar concept for many, especially in the poorest countries of the world. Haiti is the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere, and has a long history of ignoring the basic rights of adults, let alone children. What’s more, decision-making in Haiti has often happened in a very centralised, unaccountable way, far from the everyday reality of ordinary people’s lives. But Haiti’s government is now finally creating ways for citizens to take part in decision-making at a local level. But these, unfortunately, tend only to include adults. Children as decision-makers So Plan is working to bring children and young people into the decision-making process. Over seventy years’ experience of promoting children’s participation leads us to believe not only that children are entitled to take part in decisionmaking, but that they have the ability to take part effectively and achieve great things. And the best way for them to influence policy in a sustainable way and make their voices heard in the long term is for them to be organised. That’s why, since 2000, Plan has been supporting a network of children which spans the three areas of Haiti where we work. This network, known as REDD, which stands for Réseau des Enfants Défenseurs de leurs Droits (“the network of children defending their rights”) is made up of members of a variety of children’s organisations from across the country. All these organisations are supported by Plan. Our role has been to train their members, improve their organisational structure, and lobby for them to be
“Children have the ability to take part effectively and achieve great thing.”
formally recognised by the Haitian government as actively contributing to the development of the country. “Children defending their rights” summarises the concept of REDD well. The logo, which was designed by the children themselves, shows them holding the globe together. REDD’s long-term aim is to establish a link between children and young people from the different regions of Haiti and beyond. Coming together At meetings, they share their experiences with each other, pool ideas on raising awareness of child rights and try to influence local and national policy. Joseph, the president of REDD in the West Zone says: “Being part of the REDD network and participating in a range of training on public speaking, conflict resolution, group management and other things has enabled me to take part in the mobilisation of my community, communicate with adults and children and contribute to improving the lives of children like me.” The ultimate aim is to establish a similar network spanning the whole of Haiti, working in partnership with other children’s organisations. Plan is supporting this work, and progress has been steady. For example, the first Children’s National Forum to address violence took place recently. 150 children from all over the country took part, as well as youngsters from the neighbouring Dominican Republic. Our aim is for these children to develop into the active citizens of tomorrow, ensuring that children’s (and adults’) rights are respected by those in future authority. Some names have been changed for child protection and privacy purposes.