When a deadly earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, Development and Peace — Caritas Canada acted quickly to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs by providing affected populations with emergency food, hygiene and health care assistance and psychosocial support. Thanks to the great generosity of our donors, we could implement a reconstruction program that not only met the Haitian people’s humanitarian needs, but also incorporated a long-term vision that takes into account their vulnerability to ensure sustainable results.
The importance of involving communities in development
The Development and Peace approach, based on trust, dignity of the person and mutual respect with its local partners, differs from that of many large organizations. We rely on local partners and work with affected communities to implement community development projects that are now bearing fruit.
“We work with the grassroots, supporting local people in the design and execution of their projects. We do not come to tell people what to do, that’s why it is a long-term job: the communities must be consulted, involved, and their capacities built up so that they can regain their dignity and their autonomy.”
Mary Durran, Programs Officer for Haiti
This truly interdependent collaborative approach brings about convincing results. This was observed by several of our partners who contributed to a letter entitled, “Haiti earthquake: 10 years later? What lessons? What new proposals?” (available online in French only). This letter emerged from an exercise conducted to learn from the past 10 years and to brainstorm for new perspectives for the future.
“Ten years later, the rare successful projects identified in the post-earthquake period have almost all been supported by international cooperation carried out in a spirit of solidarity. All these projects were based on partnership imbued with trust and mutual respect, built up over many years between northern and local stakeholders.
“Ten years on, the path laid out by this international cooperation of solidarity must be deepened and strengthened. This is an important task that will contribute to the renewal of the social and popular movements that are being called upon to bring about a new regime of historicity crystallizing new values (democratization of the social fabric, accountability, climate justice and risk response, social and solidarity economy, etc.). The renewal of social and popular movements will bring new dreams and hopes which will transform social links and make it possible to write a page of New History for our country.”
– Excerpt from the letter
Solidarity partnerships that strengthen cooperation in Haiti
To respond to the Haitian people’s many challenges and to enable the most vulnerable communities to rebuild their lives and their future, we are continuing our collaboration with our partners in Haiti. Our most recent report, Haiti, 10 years after the earthquake, highlights five salient features of our programming in the country:
- The implementation of a social and solidarity economy program to support the communities
- Mobilization against corruption
- The implementation of a project to help rural communities adapt their agricultural production systems to climate change
- The protection and support of the most marginalized children
- Support for women and girls who have been victims of violence
Development and Peace has been standing with Haitian women and men since 1972. To find out more about our programs, visit devp.org/en/emergencies/haiti.