Archive for the HAITI CRISIS Category

A Path to a Better Life in Haiti

Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2013 at 1:55 pm

By Niall Murphy, Concern Worldwide

Juna Dely, one of the first participants in Concern's Path to a Better Life program, with her one-year-old son.

Juna Dely lives on the island of La Gonave, Haiti, with her partner Jean Wodline, his mother, and five of her six children. Between 2007 and 2009, Juna participated in Concern Worldwide‘s Chemen Lavi Miyo program, which translates to “Path to a Better Life.” The program sought to do exactly that—give Haiti’s poorest people a path to a better life through income-generating activities as well as access to health, education, and credit services based on their needs.

I met Juna because I am currently researching to see how effective the program was in breaking the cycle of poverty over the long-term. She is one of 500 female-headed households that have participated in Path to a Better Life across four of Haiti’s districts. As to be expected, I am finding that the program had many successes, but it was not without challenges. Read the rest of this entry »

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Where Hope Can Grow

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 at 2:08 am

Tabarre - Tabarre Issa. January 10, 2012

By Ed Kenney, Communications Officer

Ed was in Haiti on the two-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the country’s capital and surrounding areas on January 12, 2010. A member of Concern Worldwide’s Emergency Response Team to Haiti, Ed reflects on what is different on the ground two years later.

Kethlyne St. Previl, 40, is beaming.  She is talking about her Concern-supported business selling food in a kiosk on the main access road into Tabarre Issa.  Her table is piled high with a bounty of Haitian street food – small fried pastries, plantains, meat patties, chicken, hot dogs.  “Business is very, very good,” she announces, smiling broadly.  Then she looks at some of the Concern team gathered around and adds, “And these are some of my best customers!”  Laughter all around. Read the rest of this entry »

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Haiti: Now is Not the Time to Scale Back

Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2012 at 9:33 am

by Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern Worldwide US

In the past 24 months, Concern Worldwide has provided clean water and sanitation to 75,000 earthquake survivors in Haiti, and has provided emergency shelter to 98,877 people. IN the past year, we built longer-term housing for 7,420 people and relocated displaced families out of camps.

On the two-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, I feel it is important to reflect on the very significant progress that has been achieved in helping people recover from one of the world’s worst natural disasters on record, and to address some of the criticism about the efforts of international aid agencies.

To understand the scale of the catastrophe two years ago, it is important to remember the unique nature of the Haitian context. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake was a massive blow to a deeply impoverished country: 75 percent of Haitians earned less than $2 a day, only half of the country’s children were in primary school, and the majority of the population had no access to electricity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Responding to the Urban Challenge – World Water Day

Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2011 at 1:44 pm

By Thomas Fergusson, Water Engineer for Concern in Haiti

Boy is bathed at a Concern-supported stabilization center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, just before leaving for home. Photo: Megan Christensen, Concern Worldwide

The observance of World Water Day this year (March 22), with its spotlight on urban emergencies, comes at a time when many humanitarian aid and relief organizations are contemplating—in some cases, studying in-depth—the growing trend of large emergencies shifting from rural to urban settings.

Increasingly erratic weather patterns, which some link to man-made climate change, are causing droughts and floods that are driving millions to leave the countryside for cities.

In Haiti, in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, Concern Worldwide had to tackle most of these issues in highly challenging circumstances, with Port-au-Prince qualifying as a highly impoverished urban setting experiencing a major emergency albeit in extraordinary circumstances. The city was one of the most challenging environments for water and sanitation before the earthquake; the massive disaster only made the situation exponentially more complicated. Read the rest of this entry »

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Haiti: Resettlement Continues Despite the Challenges

Posted on Thursday, February 24th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Guest blogger Kevin Fortuna visits a Child Friendly Spaces Center managed by Concern in Haiti. Photo: Haiti, Concern Worldwide

By Guest Blogger, Kevin Fortuna, Concern US Board Member

We met at JFK airport just after sunrise, the six of us: two staffers from Concern Worldwide (a large international charity), three supporters, and me. We were all a little anxious, having digested both the recommended dosage of anti-malaria drugs as well as the federal security warnings that basically told us not to do what we were about to do.

The flight took less than three hours, about the length of time it takes to get from New York City to Miami. But instead of a first-world American city on the other side of that flight, we stepped off into a place the world has forgotten, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Read the rest of this entry »

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Haiti One Year On: What is Needed Now

Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 at 8:41 am

Concern was on the ground distributing water to Haitians just 48 hours after the earthquake of January 12, 2010. Photo: Haiti, Concern Worldwide

By Jennifer Jalovec, Haiti Emergency Program Coordinator, Concern Worldwide

My journey to Haiti really began with 9/11. I had been working in marketing and promotions for broadcast and print media in New York at the time, a job I had held for nine years. In the days following the attack, I started to question what I was doing with my life and if I were making any kind of positive impact in the lives of others.

Fast forward to 2005: I joined the Peace Corps at age 35, and my humanitarian career was off and running. Today, I am the Emergency Coordinator for Concern Worldwide in Haiti, overseeing a recovery program for the poorest country in western hemisphere, which is still reeling from the devastating earthquake that struck it a year ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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Haitians Embark on Path to Settlement

Posted on Friday, August 27th, 2010 at 9:05 am

One of the first houses completed at Concern site, Tabarre Issa in Haiti. Photo: Ed Kenney, Concern Worldwide

Since I arrived in Haiti three days after the January 12th earthquake, I have spent nearly four months on the ground there.  Part of my time was spent working in my normal capacity as a Communications Officer, shooting video, writing reports and case studies, and liaising with journalists and photographers.

I also spent two months on the front lines of Concern’s emergency response as part of the distribution team, bringing tents, essential relief supplies and supplementary nutrition rations to communities throughout Port-au-Prince, as well as our rural operation areas, Saut d’Eau and La Gonave.

I recently returned to Haiti for a week to report on the progress of Concern’s work.  It was extremely satisfying to see Concern’s country program shifting much of its energy and resources from the initial emergency response phase to the next crucial stage of Haiti’s recovery – transitional shelter. Read the rest of this entry »

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WHAT IS HAITI’S MOST VALUABLE RESOURCE?

Posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010 at 5:48 pm

By Elke Leidel

Concern is building transitional shelter for 2,500 people at a new site it designed at Tabarre Issa.

Concern is building transitional shelter for 2,500 people at a new site it designed at Tabarre Issa.

(PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—July 12, 2010) It was a hot afternoon on Jan. 12, the day that marked the beginning of the toughest, most agonizing stretch of my professional career.

Fast forward to today, the six-month point after the quake. The UN and an army of aid agencies have provided emergency shelter—in the form of tents and tarpaulins—to 354,573 households, which actually accounts for more than 1.7 million people. Survivors are scattered across 1,100 camps, their shelter being precarious at best now that the hurricane season has begun. The work for the longer haul is now underway.

Along with other NGOs, Concern is entering the medium to long-term phase of the earthquake response: to provide displaced families with durable housing for the coming couple of years, pending the construction of permanent residences. This will absorb a significant portion of the billions of dollars raised and pledged worldwide. The real hard work has now begun—there are plans to construct a total of 125,308 transitional shelters, at least 1200 of which will be built by Concern. And yes, there are lots of obstacles. The government is still in the process of reorganizing itself and not much will change until after the fall elections. Read the rest of this entry »

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A visit to Haiti finds chaos and normalcy side by side

Posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Mothers enter one of Concern's newly set up baby tents. Photo: Ed Kenney, Concern Worldwide.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – I was scheduled to travel to Haiti early in the year to visit Concern’s USAID funded Child Survival Program, but the January 12 earthquake changed all that. I finally arrived in Port-au-Prince May 24 after my flight the day before had been cancelled. I began to wonder if I would never get there.

My first impression is that Haiti seems, on the surface at least, similar to West Africa. There is such vibrancy here and resilience among the people—but, just under the surface, there must also be a lot of pain and loss. That was evident as I visited the neighborhoods where the Child Survival Program is still functioning to some extent.

I visited the community center near the rubble in St Martin, hidden among many of the buildings still standing, where new mothers meet to discuss their health concerns, as well as encourage and support each other during this challenging time. Read the rest of this entry »

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Creating Safe Spaces for Children in Haiti

Posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2010 at 10:03 am

A soccer stadium just four months ago, this tent settlement at Place de la Paix in Port-au-Prince is now home to 8,000 people.

By Mark Jafar – Vice President of Corporate Communications at MTV Networks – for Concern Worldwide

Walk around the edges of the sunken tent settlement at Place de la Paix in Port-au-Prince, and it’s nearly impossible to tell that this was a soccer stadium just four months ago.

The grass is gone entirely, replaced by bare earth and debris.  There are no goal nets or benches, just shelters made of tarp, cardboard, and rusted scraps of sheet metal.

And where kids and adults once gathered to watch soccer matches or to kick a ball across the field, an estimated 8,000 displaced people are now living in shocking, unsanitary, overcrowded conditions, often with nothing but a few pieces of plastic sheeting to shelter them from the rains, which are heavy this time of year. Read the rest of this entry »

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