1. Ensure accountability and transparency.
All international actors in Haiti including the United States, the United Nations, financial institutions and non-governmental organizations must ensure that all projects and programs are accountable and transparent to the Haitian people. Billions of dollars have already been spent in Haiti, but Haitians are disillusioned about where and how the money has been spent. The country continues to face enormous challenges. Donor funds in Haiti must be used for programs that are Haitian-led, with transparency to ensure that every dollar is used for the relief, reconstruction and long-term sustainable development of Haiti.
2. Support local production.
Haiti’s food security challenges are vast and acute. Haiti was once self-sufficient in its food production, with most of its farmers able to earn a living and the Haitian population purchasing locally-grown food. Today a majority of Haiti’s food is imported and Haiti’s agriculture remains in shambles due to economic policies that have debilitated local food production and rural development. Development efforts in Haiti should work to rebuild Haiti’s capacity for local food production, which includes efforts to focus on holistic rural development.
3. Protect the most vulnerable.
In the aftermath of the earthquake families who lost their homes (1.5 million people) ended up living in tent camps scattered around Port-au-Prince. These camps lacked basic measures of protection and sanitation. Almost 400,000 people are still languishing in these tents, while tens of thousands of others have been forcibly evicted. The government of Haiti and the international community must take immediate measures to provide a permanent and affordable housing solution for the displaced population.
4. Re-examine MINUSTAH’s presence.
The United Nations peacekeeping force in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has played a role in exacerbating poor living conditions for the Haitian population, which includes the introduction of a deadly cholera virus to Haiti and human rights abuses by UN troops. The United Nations should take full responsibility for the cholera epidemic and support efforts for its eradication. Additionally, the UN must fully investigate and prosecute all UN personnel responsible for human rights violations. Finally, previously-slated funding for military activity should be reallocated to the development of water and sanitation infrastructure, and managed by other UN agencies rather than an armed force.
Resources for learning more from Mennonite Central Committee
“Disaster to decentralization” (DVD)
Through the voices of Haitians, the video explores the struggles in Haiti that led to the massive devastation following the January 12, 2010, earthquake and speaks of hopes for the future. A study guide offers opportunity for further discussion. Available at mcc.org/stories/videos/disaster-decentralization or by calling 1-888-563-4676.