The 2010 Haiti Donors’ Conference concluded yesterday. The last such conference was held almost a year ago under very different circumstances. This was very much an international event with Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain actively engaged. Over 130 nations, NGOs, and other organizations participated. Fifty nine pledged 9 billion, of which 5 billion will be for 2010 and 2011 – provided that these pledges actually become contributions which is not always the case. As Phillipe Matieu of Oxfam puts it, “…pledges need to turn into concrete progress on the ground. This cannot be a VIP Pageant of half promises.” Below is a summary of what we know about the way ahead as of April 1st.
Coca Cola, the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), and Technoserve announced this morning a $7.5 million, five-year initiative, part of which will be focused on creating livelihood opportuntiies for 25,000 Haitian mango farmers. A new flavor of Odwalla Juice called "Hope Haiti Mango Lime-Aid" has been launched. Each time a bottle is purchased, 100% of the proceeds will go to the Haiti Hope Project. More info on the new Odwalla flavor is available here and a photo from the launch with Bill Clinton and the CEO of Coca is available here. The official press release follows below.
As of last week, Paul Farmer was no longer under consideration for the position of USAID Director. Today, it was announced that he has instead been appointed Deputy U.N Special Envoy to Haiti. Clinton said that Farmer's "credibility both among the people of Haiti and in the international community will be a tremendous asset" to their work in Haiti. While many looked forward to seeing him to reforming and leading USAID, this new position allows him to once again work full time on Haiti, a country for which he cares deeply.
Trenton Daniel of the Miami Herald describes below the speech given by Bill Clinton at the second annual Haiti Diaspora Unity Congress. During the speech, he encouraged the Diaspora to stay engaged and announced a number of new initiatives. For example, he noted that the Soros Economic Development Fund has created a Haiti Invest project, through which an initial 25 million dollars will be spent on promoting investment in agricuture, energy, housing, and tourism. Clinton is an asset to Haiti, but as one participant emphasized, the Haitian Diaspora must now step up.
According to the Cable, former U.S. President Bill Clinton will be named a U.N. special envoy to Haiti this week. Clinton made his fourth trip to Haiti in March with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. He had told the Miami Herald, "I've been following this country for more than three decades...the message I want to send is Haitians work hard and they work smart. Haiti is a good place to invest."
The Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP) provides merit based scholarships to high performing students, no matter their socio-economic status. Many graduates have gone on to be health care providers, educators, and community organizers. Last week, former President Bill Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon visited the HELP Haiti Center. Both Clinton and Ki-Moon said they were impressed and inspired by what they saw at HELP and pledged to remain engaged. As Clinton put it, programs such as this one show success is possible in Haiti.