Haiti Two Years On
Posted January 12, 2012
Before the earthquake of 2010, Haiti faced major challenges including unemployment, food insecurity, inadequate access to education, and widespread environmental degradation.
Many excellent reflections and summaries have been published assessing the pace of the reconstruction. Reports from NGO’s naturally tout successes and progress. Many bloggers lament all that yet needs to be done.
A sampling of writings include:
“First and foremost, humanitarian assistance is short-term by design and cannot be expected to overcome structural problems of poverty and injustice.”
“In the wake of the earthquake, many have talked about the need to lay foundations for a better future. To do that, Haiti should look to the past, and the system of small farms and the decentralized economy that once provided Haitians with dignity, autonomy and wealth.”
“One of the biggest challenges following the earthquake has been to provide shelter to those who lost their houses. The more than 10 million cubic meters of debris created by the earthquake have hindered reconstruction efforts. Furthermore, unclear property rights and lack of land titles complicated shelter recovery efforts. The loss of critical records in the earthquake has made identifying the rightful owners of land extremely difficult, and this has exacerbated the problem of identifying land for housing.”
Haiti’s problems can seem intractable. Billions of dollars in aid have been spent, yet jobs, education, health care, and food security remain elusive.
Moving forward there is an opportunity to harness the talents and resilience of Haiti’s people. Major NGO’s and foreign governments must engage Haitians to lead future development priorities. The Haitian government has an enormous task. They must prioritize the education of the children of Haiti, particularly girls, as this is the best path out of poverty. It must revitalize agriculture and initiate forest management. The government must commit to accountability and earn a place at the development table. Working together as partners, Haiti and friends of Haiti must use innovation in producing a sustainable development blueprint that can break free of foreign aid. Haiti must develop pride in caring for the land, and there should be the opportunity to work the land and be able to make a decent living that way.
The JDT Foundation is committed to accompany Haiti’s people on their journey.
Our prayers are with Haiti today as they remember cherished lives that were lost.