Haiti | ActionAid UK

Haiti

ActionAid has been working in Haiti since 1996, supporting local partners to empower women and girls, and responding to natural disasters such as Hurricane Matthew, which hit in 2016.

Why we work in Haiti

The Republic of Haiti is located on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, which also contains the Dominican Republic. In 1804, following a slave revolt, Haiti became the first country in the Caribean and Latin America to end colonial rule.

Chronic instability, dictatorships and natural disasters in recent decades have left Haiti the poorest country in the Americas. One in two people is undernourished and over half the population live on less than $1 a day – the international poverty line.

HT
  • 50
    Hurricane Matthew (2016) left over half a million in need of assistance.1
  • 100
    300,000 orphans in Haiti — many of their parents were killed in the 2010 earthquake.2
  • 33
    One in three girls goes to secondary school3

An earthquake in 2010 killed more than 300,000 people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and the economy. Widespread deforestation in Haiti has exacerbated the risk of floods and droughts, which have become more frequent and violent as a result of climate change.

Domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women are common in Haiti. Women in Haiti face higher rates of unemployment, are more likely to have poor health, and are less likely to own land or hold political of office than men. However, in 2015 Haiti’s parliament passed an amendment to ensure that at least 30% of all political representatives are women.

Distribution of emergency kits in Jeremie Commune with ActionAid local partner KPGA

Women leaders from an ActionAid partner organisation in Haiti distribute emergency kits after Hurricane Matthew.

Photo: ActionAid

What we do in Haiti

Responding to and building resilience to natural disasters

Our local staff provided immediate humanitarian relief during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the earthquakes of 2010, and the Gustav, Hanna and Ike hurricanes back in 2008. We provide long-term support to help rebuild communities and strengthen their resilience to future disasters.

Local women were and remain in the driving seat, advising on what their communities need and overseeing the distribution of aid to ensure fairness and transparency.

We provided immediate support such as food, water, sanitation and shelter as well as long-term psychosocial support for communities to help them recover.

Fighting for women’s rights

Women and girls are at the heart of everything we do. We believe that supporting women and girls to lead their communities out of poverty is the most effective way of changing lives for good.

That’s why we run women’s groups in Haiti to train women in skills such as women’s rights, conflict resolution, negotiation and running a business.

By empowering groups of women to start their own businesses, they can become less financially dependent on their husbands and afford to send their children to school.

ActionAid’s legal assistance service provides advice and support to survivors of abuse.

Ending hunger

In Haiti, many families don’t have enough to eat. We train women to grow and sell food, own land and withstand the devastating effects of climate change.

In Roseaux region, we teach women fruit and nut processing and conserving skills so they can sell their product for a greater price. ActionAid also supports communities to set up local grinding mills to make it easier and cheaper for local people to make their own our and porridge, rather than relying on overpriced imported foods.

Our savings and loans schemes are also helping struggling farmers to make ends meet. As well as training farmers to diversify and irrigate their crops, communities also receive goats and veterinary training to support healthy herds of livestock.

The El Niño weather phenomenon has made farmers especially vulnerable to food shortages. We’re helping communities to combat drought by providing materials for a rainwater distribution system. This rainwater can also be filtered – in Roseaux region one such system is providing clean drinking water for over 1,200 people.

How we’re changing lives for good in Haiti

As at April 2017, ActionAid has supported over 58,000 people who were affected by Hurricane Matthew (October 2016) in some of Haiti’s remotest regions.

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