Job Corps Created in Afghanistan and now Iraq - Why not Haiti?
There are a precedents for Governments creating job corps in varying forms. The pictures on the left is of men working for the United States Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 as a form of "work relief" for unemployed families suffering from the Great Depression.
Nobody got rich but it allowed families to make ends meet, improved infrastructure and preserved the environment. At that point in time, we had decimated most of our forests. The CCC was responsible for planting three billion trees from 1933 to 1942. When the economy (read: private sector) became stronger, the CCC was no longer necessary. For a time though it provided invaluable assistance to American families. It was not charity - people worked hard but were able to support their families and give something back to their country. That is key.
It worked for us and has worked elsewhere. The United States government financed the creation of a Job Corps in Afghanistan. According to this linked article in the Washington Post, we will also finance one in Iraq. The Iraq program is different in that it will be not be open to everyone - it will be targeted to tens of thousands of unemployed (and often armed) Sunnis. One wonders how unemployed Shiites will take this.
Haiti continues to go through its own Great Depression. Even if security becomes a non issue, it will be quite some time before foreign direct investment picks itself up in Haiti. Tourism on a larger scale is a ways off yet, if it does happen. Infrastructure will be necessary for either. Internally, I tend to think agriculture is the only solution though - the country must be able to feed itself.
Some people talk about the restoration of the Haitian military. That makes me cringe. The country woudl be better served by a nationwide network of highly visible volunteers that allows them to make a living and improve the country's infrastructure and preserve the environment. Considering the recurrence of natural disasters like flooding, I highly doubt you can do one without the other. Work in these two areas may open the door for other sectors later on - sectors which may not seem viable now.
Who finances the program? The U.S. government may be reluctant to take on this undertaken by itself. I would suggest the U.S co-finance a pilot initiative, perhaps with France - after all, our two countries are responsable for much of what has happened to the country. The Haitian government should co-manage the program (with intense oversight). As time goes on, the government can take more and more of the management and financial responsibilities for the program.
Sometimes I feel like we might sound like a broken record, but advocacy requires that sometimes. If you feel that a program like this is worth exploring, at least on a pilot school, let's discuss it further. We could suggest this idea to government officials, both American and Haitian. It would take some time to set into place, but with the proper management, it could work - and it would allow Haitians to support their families, communities, and country at the same time. The U.S needed it then, and Haiti needs it now.
Welcome your thoughts.
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