IFAD Response to the Crisis in Haiti

This was my first trip to Latin America. The first impression I had during my breakfast is the number of UN staff, NGOs, rescue and humanitarian teams in Santo Domingo.

After the breakfast, we made arrangement with the hotel for the workshop. Our colleagues from Haiti have arrived. I am anxious to meet them. I missed the opportunity in November 2009 as they participated in the project implementation workshop organized by the Division of Western and Central Africa.

The workshop is a unique opportunity to listen to IFAD-funded project staff and share their concerns. They provided us with testimonies and useful and painful information on the situation. Despite the pain, they are strong and speak with calm and dignity. They are eager to share information so that we can collectively assess initial findings related to rehabilitation needs and opportunities, share plans and proposals for future rehabilitation work, and develop mechanisms for collaboration and joint activities. You can read the testimonies I collected in the next blog.

The tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti is beyond what many of us can even fully imagine. We have see shots of the seism, and humanitarian efforts to get food, water and shelter to people. But listening to people stories is shaken.

Fortunately, the situation in Haiti is improving. This was good news and for which we are grateful. As Haiti begins to rebuild, the development process must be driven by values and processes that ensure real sustainability. According to our colleagues, the work of empowering communities must start and this includes building lasting food security, rehabilitating agricultural infrastructure and development of income generating activities, micro-credit schemes and community empowerment with a focus on agricultural livelihood activities.