Remote mountain villages and dense urban slums in Haiti will usually have multiple churches but finding a library is a rarity indeed. AFP journalist Amelia Baron documents below an effort by residents the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port au Prince to develop a free library where youth can learn. Many of us living in developed countries may take libraries for granted. In a country like Haiti where half the population cannot read and write, they are especially important. More information about the library's creation follows.
Below is a USAID/Department of Education announcement of new funding to support the Room to Learn program in Haiti. Haiti is one of six Room to Learn focus countries, which focuses on improving access to primary education. An estimated 600,000 out of school Haitian children are functionally illiterate. Education is critical for their growth as well for the growth of Haiti's economy, civil society, and institutions.
Lee Rainboth, editor of the always insightful and often humorous Green Mango Blog, has completed a book about living in rural Haiti after the earthquake. While the quake is the defining event of the book, it is more about how a community come together after a loss and moves forward together. You can purchase it directly at either Create Space or Amazon. A portion of all proceeds will be devoted to community projects in Mizak. Please consider purchasing the book at either site and then post your thoughts about it in the comments section below.
Imagine you are working in a setting affected by a natural disaster, conflict, or both. How would you determine the number of liters of water per day beneficiaries need? How many calories of food per day? How many latrines for how many people? What level of malnutrition signals an emergency? Look no further than the Sphere Handbook, a set of minimum standards and indicators that represents the strong consensus of the international humanitarian community on these and other issues. The handbook is a useful tool for planning, carrying out, and evaluating humanitarian assistance programs. As of today, it is available in Kreyol. Please share with your Haitian counterparts.
In the weeks to come, I’ll provide updates on recovery efforts in Haiti sector by sector. Why start with education? After an emergency or a natural disaster, schools provide an opportunity to protect children physically and psychologically. It re-establishes a sense of routine, stability, and above all, hope for a better future. Technical and vocational education will be critical for developing a new generation of skilled workers and leaders. Without educational reform, Haiti’s recovery and long term development will be held back.
Lens, the New York Times photography blog, recently covered a Zanmi Lakay photography project in Jacmel. Through Zanmi Lakay, 28 Haitian children were given cameras and asked to document different aspects of daily life in a city trying to recover and rebuild. A description of the project is below. The photos are well worth a look and you can view them by clicking here. Who knows? Perhaps one day, some of these children will become photojournalists themselves.
Rough roads, sporadic electricity, out-dated ports, and rural areas in need of irrigation. Haiti needs Haitian engineers badly. The prerequisite is students who understand and have a passion for math and science. In January 2007, a group of Cap Haitian students (Team Citadel), with the support of Mark Moorman, a Haitian Businessman, and Rotary International, participated in the First Lego League Robotics Challenge in Florida. In April 2009, they again competed in Atlanta. Some of these students may one day become leaders in addressing their country's considerable infrastructure needs.
The Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP), which provides merit and need based scholarships for Haiti’s top high school graduates, will hold its second annual fundraising event in Washington, DC on Friday, July 10th. The event will feature music, cocktails, Haitian food, and speeches from HELP alumni. If you’d like to be a part of this event, please register here by July 1st. Copied below is a recent IPS article on HELP's efforts to recruit talented students in rural areas and attached is an invite and fact sheet.
If you are (very) interested in Haiti, consider joining Corbett's List, easily the most active Haiti listserv. The listserv carried an email today about Poto Mitan, an impressive online repository of educational resources in Kreyol - everything from poetry to proverbs to computer terminology. It could be a good resource for Haitian educators or for people who want to learn Kreyol. Links to several of the items featured on Poto Mitan are listed below.