Over 4,400 volunteers have served in the Dominican Republic. According to CNN's Mariano Castillo, three former Peace Corps/Dominican Republic Country Directors and 560 former volunteers have sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that the United States suspend military aid to the Dominican government over human rights abuses and a crackdown on Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent. This high level advocacy from former volunteers shows how connected they remain to the country in which they served, and their concern for the human rights of all people living within its borders. The full article follows.
Earthspark, a renewable energy NGO, has expanded Haiti's first pre-pay solar micro grid in the town of Les Anglais. It has a 90 kW solar PV array which is enough to provide clean, reliable power to 430 households and businesses. Earthspark will hold two launch events – one on June 1st in Les Anglais and a fundraiser on June 11th in Washington DC. More information is attached and below.
Below is an excellent Foreign Policy article by Jacob Kushner explaining how Haiti's unclear land tenure policies undermine investment and cause displacement on Ile a Vache. While the article focuses on one small island, these issues are playing out throughout the entire country. Improving the climate for investment and human rights requires high-level committment for addressing one of the most politically sensitive issues in Haiti. The full article follows.
Haiti is more than the sum of its problems. In reality, much of the country - art, scenery, people - is beautiful. Below is an interesting Beta Fusion Article by Tim Rogers about young Haitians using Instagram to show others the beauty of their country. Instagram gives people a chance to post the aspects of Haiti that they know, appreciate, and would like to share with others. Please feel free to share links to other sites with Haiti-related photography.
The World Bank recently pledged $50 million for water and sanitation programs in Haiti. The funding will cover all clinics and schools in rural areas that are considered hot-spots for cholera. Haiti is one of a small number of countries in which sanitation deteriorated over the last twenty-five years. Investing in water and sanitation is essential for promoting public health. More information follows:
Below is an article by David McFadden (Associated Press) concerning the planned development of a port on the Ile de la Tortue north of Port de Paix. The island, poorer than most other parts of Haiti, would certainly benefit from the jobs that could potentially come with the port. The main livelihood opportunities at present involve drug smuggling and construction of boats for fishing and/or smuggling. This, along with international flights, opens up new possibilities for tourism in northern Haiti.
American Airlines will become the first major carrier to offer daily, direct flights to Cap Haitian. The combination of historic sites and beaches might prove a draw for both the Haitian Diaspora and those interested in visiting Haiti without having to transfer through Port-au-Prince. Growing the tourism industry in Haiti will take time - but having the option of flighting in through the north certainly helps.
Last month, the U.S. State Department released the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report. As in previous years, the report noted serious shortcomings in the Haitian government's efforts to prevent and respond to human trafficking. There is some good news, though - in 2014 the Haitian government enacted a law to criminalize human trafficking which is a welcome and much-needed step. The country narrative for Haiti follows below.