Haiti: hope for the future

Thursday, January 12, 2012 • by Simon Chambers

FCA's school feeding program offers work for members of the community. The schools choose the least well off community members to work in the school kitchens. The cooks are also given the same meal as the children during the day. Cooks of Ecole Nationale de Trouin school.

ACT members, the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, Finn Church Aid and the Lutheran World Federation, have teamed up to provide hot lunch to thousands of Haitian schoolchildren. Here the cooks from the Ecole Nationale de Trouin school prepare the daily meal. Photo: PWRDF/Simon Chambers

David Korpela was Finn Church Aid’s country representative in Haiti from the week after the January 2010 earthquake until the end of November 2011. When asked how he has been able to keep going despite the many difficulties that have faced the nation since then – the earthquake, hurricane Tomas, the cholera epidemic to name a few – he replied, “It's about having hope.”

The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund will be working with Finn Church Aid and other members of ACT Alliance, along with the development arm of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti (CEDDISEC), to bring hope to thousands of Haitians in the coming years.

It will be looking to move beyond providing food aid toward food security: helping people have regular access through their own means to enough food for themselves and their families. School gardens are one means of food production that PWRDF is exploring through its school feeding programme.

PWRDF will also be working with the Lutheran World Federation on a model village programme. The LWF has secured land from the community of Gressier near Léogâne. This land will be used to construct a village for 200 families including a community centre, sports fields, space for agriculture, and a home for each family. The village will incorporate bio-gas production, solar power, a computer lab/teaching centre, and other amenities to create a full community for those who live there. It will be supported over time by the residents who will contribute towards the cost of their houses through a small mortgage, and will be involved in creating community norms and maintaining infrastructure.

PWRDF will join other ACT members to promote environmental sustainability and disaster risk reduction programmes including re-forestation – Haiti only has 3-5% of its original forest cover – multi-crop agriculture, bio-gas and other initiatives.

Finally, PWRDF will work with CEDDISEC to increase its capacity to engage in development and relief work. CEDDISEC had a staff of four people on January 12, 2010. It has now grown to over a dozen today – with coordinators on the ground in 23 communities. PWRDF is supporting CEDDISEC as it grows and is working to help them build ties with ACT, the Canadian International Development Agency, and other organisations.

The challenges facing Haiti are many but – as David Korpela reminds us – it is all about hope.

Simon Chambers is the communications coordinator for the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund.

Please click here for the original link to this story and more information on ACT Alliance member The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund – one of 12 member organisations working in Haiti under the ACT umbrella. ACT has distributed approximately $100 million toward relief and recovery efforts since the earthquake.

Haiti: after the earthquake