Tag Archives: Haiti

2015-07-17_Haiti_Artibonite_St Michel d'Attalye_ACF (52)

Tackling cholera in Haiti

A child fetches water from a local waterpoint.

A child fetches water from a local waterpoint. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

After recently spending 24 hours in Gonaives, Artibonite department, the link between water and health is once again engraved in my mind. The day – spent on the ground with UNICEF partner Action Against Hunger (ACF) in and around the commune of St Michel d’Attalye – illustrated the direct connection between safe water and cholera, between life and death like no infographic or report could.

Gonaives was the first place I visited after arriving in Haiti in September 2014. At the time, it was among the hotspots of the still ongoing cholera epidemic, with over 470 cases that month. Today the situation has calmed down all over the country with a 90 percent reduction in reported cases between 2014 (27,388) and 2011 (350,000). However, with an ambitious target of reaching less than 1,000 suspected cases a year (an incidence of <0.01%) to reach elimination by 2022, each confirmed cholera case is of concern.

This is particularly true in the capital Port-au-Prince and in the departments of North and Center which account for over half of all cases and where over 2,000 cases have already been observed for 2015 (nearly 6,000 in Port-au-Prince alone). In contrast, Artibonite has entered a quiet period, meaning that although cases continue to occur (an average of 55 cases a week), NGO partners can dedicate more attention to prevention and strengthening community-based response mechanisms to cholera alerts.

A group of children walk to collect water.

A group of children walk to collect water. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

The Haitian government and its partners, including UNICEF, implement a four-pronged approach to eliminate cholera in the country.

  • One: rapid response and investigation of all cholera alerts led by Ministry of Health emergency response teams (EMIRA) and supported by UN and NGO partners.
  • Two: complementary investments in the underlying structural causes of the epidemic, in particular access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation.
  • Three: strengthening of epidemiological surveillance (to control an epidemic it is crucial to have timely information about the number and location of cases) and the enhancement of health services at national and local levels.
  • Four: sensitization of individuals on good hygiene practices via mass media campaigns and face-to-face community outreach activities. Whenever possible community-based interventions are prioritized

When I visited Gonaives in September 2014 cholera agents of the ACF-team were working hand-in-hand with the EMIRA and other local government agents to ensure a professional response within 48 hours after each cholera alert. Once a patient was registered at a cholera treatment center (CTC) the agents’ task was to disinfect his/her home and to establish a ‘sanitary cordon’ (‘cordon sanitaire’) around the neighboring houses of the cholera patient – usually around ten houses. The latter involves disinfection of neighboring houses if required, sensitization activities, and provision all of cholera kits that contain a month’s supply of soap, water, chlorine tablets (to disinfect drinking water) and oral rehydration salts (to compensate lost minerals in case of diarrhea) to families.

An ACF agent conduct a refresher training for community volunteers.

An ACF agent conducts a refresher training for community volunteers. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

To ensure quick local response capacities, ACF is now benefitting from the relative calm to conduct prevention activities and to refine a mechanism of community-based agents, which may eventually replace the need for external assistance. In high-risk areas, ACF has trained community volunteers called ‘brigadiers’, who know how to prevent cholera and what to do when a case is registered. Besides, they are in charge of keeping their communities attentive to the risk of cholera and encouraging good hygiene practices and other preventative behaviors. This approach has a triple advantage. Being themselves from the communities the brigadiers know the area by heart, they have more credibility than outsiders, and they are on site when an outbreak occurs.

Currently, the cholera epidemic in Haiti remains an emergency with the acute risk of major outbreaks. In particular the current rainy season (which will last until November) makes experts itchy. The spike in cases last November illustrates the need for ongoing vigilance and rapid response. Despite continued progress against the disease, for a large part of the population the risk of cholera remains the same as in 2010. The localized epicenters of cholera outbreaks continue to be characterized by a lack of water and sanitation infrastructure, insufficient social services, and the high mobility of populations.

To break the chain of transmission and get rid of cholera in Haiti, clean water and sanitation together with improved hygiene behaviour are the key. Today’s challenge is to break the chain of transmission and to eliminate the remaining risk, once and for all.

Cornelia Walther is the Chief of Communication at UNICEF Haiti

2015-06-20_Haiti_Jacmel_Eldil (26)

Las vidas de los niños haitianos en el foco de atención

Djolanda, de 11 años, sentada en la puerta de su casa.

Djolanda, de 11 años, sentada en la puerta de su casa. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Al sudeste de Haití, Yaquimel y sus alrededores reflejan la belleza del Caribe: playas de arena blanca, el océano azul celeste y un sol resplandeciente. Sin embargo, en medio de este tesoro tropical, muchos niños y sus familias luchan a diario ante las dificultades para llegar a fin de mes.

Hace poco estuve en Yaquimel visitando el Ciné Institute, una organización con base en Haití que forma a jóvenes haitianos que aspiran a ser cineastas. Es la única academia de cine de Haití y en ella rebosa el talento. La nueva alianza que une a UNICEF con el Ciné Institute constituye un acercamiento muy emocionante, ya que su objetivo consiste en poner las voces de los niños en el centro de atención. Compartimos el deseo de dar voz a aquellos que viven marginados, pero que aun así consiguen salir adelante con imaginación y coraje.

Las semanas que varios cineastas pasaron explorando distintos sitios dieron como resultado una lista llena de posibles historias sobre los niños haitianos y las dificultades a las que se enfrentan. Edile (13) y Djolanda (11) fueron los elegidos para el proyecto de un vídeo que será el comienzo de una nueva filosofía de la narración. Sus condiciones de vida están muy lejos de los principios establecidos por la Convención Internacional sobre los Derechos del Niño, ratificada en Haití hace 20 años y según la cual todos los niños y niñas deben tener acceso a todo lo que necesiten para sobrevivir y desarrollarse.

Edile, de 13 años, se dirige hacia su casa.

Edile, de 13 años, se dirige hacia su casa. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Todos los niños tienen el derecho a ir a la escuela, a jugar, a no tener que trabajar. Aunque no se pueda consentir que los niños trabajen, hemos de ser conscientes de que hoy en día miles de niños viven esa realidad. La concienciación es el primer paso para el cambio, y UNICEF trabaja mano a mano con el Gobierno para lograr un país en el que las palabras de la Convención se hagan tangibles. Las historias de Edile y Djolanda revelan que debemos esforzarnos más.

¿Quiénes son?

Edile vive con su padre y su hermana, que es discapacitada. Su madre los dejó hace dos años y se volvió a casar. Su padre sufre hipertensión desde que tuvo un infarto en 2013 y desde entonces no puede trabajar. Con la intención de contribuir a los escasos ingresos de la familia, Edile decidió trabajar tres días a media jornada en la panadería del barrio para ganar algo de dinero.

Edile y su padre sentados delante de su casa.

Edile y su padre sentados delante de su casa. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Sus pequeñas ganancias le ayudan a cuidar de su padre y a ahorrar para pagar la escuela. Es duro, perdió el último año de escuela por no tener dinero suficiente para pagarla, pero él sigue intentándolo, ya que es consciente de que la educación es crucial para su futuro. Sueña con ser ingeniero agrónomo. “Aquí hay mucha gente que pasa hambre. Quiero poder alimentar a mi país”, dice. “Espero que los adultos que vean este vídeo se esfuercen más para conseguir que todos los niños podamos ir a la escuela”.

Sus pequeñas ganancias le ayudan a cuidar de su padre y a ahorrar para pagar la escuela. Es duro, perdió el último año de escuela por no tener dinero suficiente para pagarla, pero él sigue intentándolo, ya que es consciente de que la educación es crucial para su futuro. Sueña con ser ingeniero agrónomo. “Aquí hay mucha gente que pasa hambre. Quiero poder alimentar a mi país”, dice. “Espero que los adultos que vean este vídeo se esfuercen más para conseguir que todos los niños podamos ir a la escuela”.

TInterior de la casa de Djolanda.

Interior de la casa de Djolanda. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Todos los días, después de la escuela, Djolanda aprende a hacer vestidos con otras mujeres de entre 40 y 50 años. Ya lleva unos meses apuntada al curso y sabe hacer distintos tipos de vestidos, incluido su uniforme escolar. Djolanda tiene dos sueños: quiere ser enfermera para poder ayudar a los enfermos, y también aspira a ahorrar el dinero suficiente para construir una casa para su madre. “Mi madre es la única que nos cuida. Me preocupa su salud: hay muchas enfermedades por aquí”.

Edile y Djolanda representan solo dos de muchos casos similares, y sus historias son un ejemplo de valentía y esperanza que impulsa a los haitianos de todas las edades a seguir adelante. Ellos no esperan a que les ayuden, aunque tienen el derecho a recibir toda la ayuda posible. Debemos poner todo nuestro empeño para conseguir brindar educación, salud y felicidad a muchos niños como Edile y Djolanda. Todos los niños y niñas tienen los mismos derechos, independientemente de donde nazcan o donde vivan. La historia de la pobreza y la desigualdad suena distinta desde su punto de vista, ya que la narración cambia: de la miseria a la esperanza e inspirando acción, no compasión.

Manténgase en contacto para recibir actualizaciones y los vídeos terminados.

Cornelia Walther es la Jefa de Comunicación en UNICEF Haití.

2015-06-23_Haiti_Jacmel_Dieulande (75)_edited

Putting the spotlight on children’s lives in Haiti

11-year-old Djolanda sits outside her home.

11-year-old Djolanda sits outside her home. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Jacmel, in Haiti’s South East and its surroundings are a picture of Caribbean beauty, with white beaches, azure-blue ocean, and dazzling sunshine. On the other hand and in the midst of this tropical treasure, children and their families struggle every single day to make ends meet.

I was recently in Jacmel to visit the Cine Institute, a Haiti-based organization that trains young Haitians who aspire to become film-makers. It is the only film academy in Haiti and it is bursting with talent. The partnership that brings UNICEF and the Cine Institute together is new and exciting in its approach because it seeks to place children’s voices at the center of storytelling. Our shared ambition is to put the spotlight on those who usually live at the margins of society, and yet who master every single day with bravery and imagination.

Weeks of scouting by the film-makers resulted in a whole list of prospective stories illustrating the resilience of Haitian children when faced with challenges. Edile (13) and Djolanda (11) were chosen for the video project that will be the beginning of a new storytelling philosophy. Their living conditions are a far cry from the principles that are enshrined in the International Convention of the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by Haiti 20 years ago, declaring that children must have access to everything they need to survive and thrive.

13-year-old Edile makes his way home.

13-year-old Edile makes his way home. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Every child has the right to go to school and to play, they have the right to not be enrolled in labor. Yet while we can never condone that children are working, we must be aware that this remains the reality for thousands of children today. Awareness is the first step to change and UNICEF is working hand-in-hand with the Government towards a country where the words of the Convention become tangible. Edile’s and Djolanda’s stories illustrate that we must push further.

Who are they?

Edile stays with his father and his sister, who lives with disability. His mother left the family two years ago and has since re-married. Suffering from hypertension since having a stroke in 2013, his father is no longer able to work. To contribute to the meager family income, Edile decided to make some money by working three half-days in the neighborhood bakery.

Edile and his father sit outside their house.

Edile and his father. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

With his small earnings, he manages to take care of his father and to put some money aside for schooling. It is tough, and he missed the last school year due to insufficient funds, yet he keeps trying, every single day, aware that education is crucial for his future. His dream is to become an agronomist. “So many people go hungry here. I want to feed the country,” he says. “I hope that adults who see this video will do more to bring all children into school.”

Djolanda’s father abandoned the family when she was very young. Her mother raised the girl and her brother on her own, on a very tight budget. Djolanda matured quickly through witnessing her mother’s struggles for years. She is concerned for her mom and feels that she must learn to help provide for the family. Every day she goes to school, giving her best to be the best. But she does not stop there. Persisting in her quest, she found a local association which teaches sewing classes for adults and signed up.

The inside of Djolanda's home.

The inside of Djolanda’s home. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Every evening after school, Djolanda is learning dressmaking, surrounded by women in their 40s and 50s. She has been enrolled in the course for several months now and already made a number of dresses, including her school uniforms. Djolanda has two dreams: she want to become a nurse to help people who are sick, and she aspires to save enough money to build a house for her mother. “My mom is the only one who takes care of us. I am worried about her health. There is a lot of disease around here..”

Edile and Djolanda are just two of many, yet they exemplify the courage and hope that propel Haitians at all ages forward. They do not wait for help. And yet they have the right to get as much support as possible. To bring children like Edile and Djolanda further on the way towards education, health and happiness we must do whatever we can. Every girl and every boy has the same rights, no matter where s/he was born and lives. The story of poverty and inequality sounds different from their perspective; because the narrative changes – from misery to hope, inspiring action, not pity.

Please stay posted for updates and the finalized videos.

Cornelia Walther is the Chief of Communication at UNICEF Haiti

(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Haiti: Climbing towards education for all, step by step

(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

The Mont Sinai school nestled in the hills. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

I recently returned to the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, from a three-day trip to the South East of Haiti, which included six hours of hiking and 10 hours on the road. The reason for this trip to Port Salut was to inaugurate the last of 15 schools, concluding an endeavor that started in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

Step-by-step.

Fortunately, we had left Port-au-Prince on a Sunday, as the next day demonstrations (against the high gas prices) made it impossible to leave the capital. On Monday morning, after a breakfast of wonderful mangoes and strong coffee, my four colleagues and I started the ascent to Mont Sinai, crossing the river four times on our way.

We were following in the footsteps of those local construction workers who had carried the building materials to the top, from cement blocks to iron bars everything had to be brought up.

Temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius didn’t facilitate the task.

(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

The school is earthquake and cyclone certified, has six classrooms, an office for teachers and space for a school canteen. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

These 15 schools are a tangible illustration of equity in action. The location of the new buildings, chosen in collaboration with the Haitian Ministry of Education, manifests UNICEF’s ambition to make children’s right to education a reality for every single child in Haiti. For some of the children, it will be the first time that they will attend school, for others the new schools mean that they must no longer walk for hours to reach their classroom.

(Funnily the local communities see it as normal that children as small as five years old walk for hours uphill, but they have trouble imagining that someone from outside can do the same. My Haitian teammates told me afterwards with a big smile that the villagers who saw us leaving had bets running, convinced that I would never make it to the top…)

(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

It takes 3 hours to reach Mont Sinai from Port Salut. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

The schools are a step towards addressing the challenge of access to basic social services in rural Haiti, which includes building back better after the 2010 earthquake. But it goes far beyond. In terms of reconstruction, UNICEF worked in three waves to get children back into school. Thousands of tents distributed during the days and weeks that followed the disaster allowed us to restart an education system that had stopped. To make this sustainable 196 semi-permanent schools were eventually (re)built in the regions most affected by the disaster.

Finally, moving beyond access to setting standards for quality, the opening of 15 schools with permanent, anti-seismic and anti-cyclonic structure in remote areas in the North and South now allows over 5,000 children to learn in a safe environment. And the schools are more than safe. In the words of Paul, a 7-year -old student at Mont Sinai: “I am proud of my new school. Everything is clean, and solid. We now even have banks and tables.”

(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

New desks at the school. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Wherever I’ve been so far, the local communities are convinced of the necessity of education. And indeed, building these schools wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of the villagers who contributed their time, land and advice. As of today, the primary school of Mont Sinai has 325 students, who, before, were learning in a dispersed manner in the homes of individuals or under trees. “It’s a relief that all children are now together in one location,” one of the teachers told me on inauguration day. Previously he had to visit three different places during one day to teach all of his students.

The school in Mont Sinai is earthquake and cyclone certified, has six classrooms, an office for teachers and space for a school canteen. It has ramps to ensure easy access for students and teachers with disabilities; as well as a system for water harvesting, hand-washing stations and separate toilets for girls and boys. It is likely to become the new community center as if provides clean water and – thanks to a solar panel, has electricity at night.

(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Students at Mont Sinai are very proud of their new school. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Still, so much remains to be done, including the gap of health services. It takes 3 hours to reach Mont Sinai from Port Salut, and 3 hours from Mont Sinai to access the closest health center. Hardly a feasible journey for a sick child or a pregnant woman… “Every day we can hear the RaRa around here (RaRa are the traditional music bands that are playing at special occasions), usually this means that someone has died,” explained Jean, our young guide.

I am now back in the capital, once again reminded of the luxury of electricity and running water. And once again, I am amazed by the strength and smiles of those families who take the little they have to make sure their children have the best possible start in life.

Cornelia Walther is the Chief of Communication at UNICEF Haiti.

 

(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Haïti : Accéder à l’éducation pour tous, pas à pas

L'école Mont Sinaï est nichée dans les collines(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

L’école Mont Sinaï est nichée dans les collines. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Après une visite de trois jours dans le Sud-Est d’Haïti, dont six heures de marche et 10 heures sur la route, je suis de retour dans la capitale, Port-au-Prince. L’objet de ce voyage à Port Salut était d’inaugurer la dernière de 15 écoles, concluant ainsi un effort qui a commencé à la suite du tremblement de terre de 2010.

Heureusement, nous nous nous étions mis en route le dimanche, car le jour d’après, il était impossible de quitter Port-au-Prince à cause des manifestations qui ont eu lieu contre les prix élevés de l’essence. Le lundi matin, après un petit déjeuner composé de mangues fraiches et de café corsé, mes quatre collègues et moi-même avons commencé l’ascension du Mont Sinaï, en traversant la rivière quatre fois sur notre chemin.

Nous avons suivi les pas des ouvriers du bâtiment locaux qui avaient porté les matériaux de construction jusqu’en haut du Mont. Des blocs de ciment aux barres de fer, tout a dû être acheminé.

Les températures, tournant autour de 40 degrés, n’ont pas facilité la tâche.

L'école est construite pour faire face aux tremblements de terre et aux cyclones et dispose de six salles de classe, d’un bureau pour les enseignants et d’un espace pour une cantine scolaire.(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

L’école est construite pour faire face aux tremblements de terre et aux cyclones et dispose de six salles de classe, d’un bureau pour les enseignants et d’un espace pour une cantine scolaire. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

La création de ces écoles est l’exemple même d’une initiative équitable. L’emplacement des nouveaux bâtiments scolaires, choisis en collaboration avec le ministère haïtien de l’Éducation, manifeste l’ambition de l’UNICEF de faire du droit à l’éducation une réalité pour tous les enfants en Haïti.

(Anecdote amusante, alors les communautés locales considèrent qu’il est normal que des enfants âgés de cinq ans à peine montent la montagne pendant des heures, ils ont du mal à s’imaginer que quelqu’un de l’extérieur puisse arriver à accomplir la même chose. Mes coéquipiers haïtiens m’ont avoué par la suite avec un grand sourire que les villageois qui nous avaient vus partir avaient lancé un pari, convaincus que nous n’arriverions jamais en haut.)

Il faut trois heures de marche pour aller de Mont Sinai à Port Salut(c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Il faut trois heures de marche pour aller de Mont Sinai à Port Salut. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Les écoles constituent un premier pas dans le défi pour améliorer l’accès aux services sociaux de base en Haïti rural. Non seulement il faut reconstruire « en mieux » après le séisme de 2010, mais beaucoup d’autres tâches restent aussi à accomplir.

En termes de reconstruction, l’UNICEF a travaillé en trois vagues pour permettre aux enfants de retourner à l’école. En premier lieu, des milliers de tentes ont été distribuées pendant les semaines qui ont suivi le séisme. Celles-ci ont permis de redémarrer le système éducatif. Puis, 196 écoles semi-permanentes ont été reconstruites dans les régions les plus touchées.

Enfin, au-delà de l’accès à un établissement aux normes de qualité, 15 écoles dotées de structures permanentes, antisismiques et anticycloniques dans les régions éloignées du Nord et du Sud permettent maintenant à plus de 5000 enfants d’apprendre dans un environnement sûr. De plus, les écoles sont bien sécurisées. Comme l’explique Paul, un écolier du Mont Sinaï âgé de 7 ans : « Je suis fier de ma nouvelle école. Tout est propre et solide. Maintenant, nous avons même des bancs et des tables. »

L’école a des nouveaux bancs. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

L’école a des nouveaux bancs. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Partout où je suis allée jusqu’à présent, les communautés locales sont convaincues de la nécessité de l’éducation. La construction de ces écoles n’aurait pas été possible sans l’engagement des villageois qui ont contribué de leur temps, leur terre et leurs conseils. L’école primaire de Mont Sinaï compte maintenant 325 élèves, qui apprenaient auparavant de manière dispersée dans des classes improvisées dans des maisons ou sous des arbres. « C’est un soulagement que tous les enfants soient maintenant dans un seul endroit », nous a dit en souriant un des enseignants le jour de l’inauguration. Auparavant, cet enseignant devait se rendre dans trois endroits différents par jour pour enseigner à tous ses élèves.

L’école est construite pour faire face aux tremblements de terre et aux cyclones et dispose de six salles de classe, d’un bureau pour les enseignants et d’un espace pour une cantine scolaire. Il a des rampes pour faciliter l’accès des étudiants et des enseignants vivant avec un handicap; ainsi qu’un système de récupération de l’eau, des stations de lavage des mains et des toilettes séparées pour les filles et les garçons.

Comme l’école dispose également d’eau propre et, grâce à un panneau solaire, d’électricité la nuit, elle est susceptible de devenir un centre communautaire sur le long terme.

Les écoliers de Mont Sinaï sont très fiers de leur nouvelle école (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Les écoliers de Mont Sinaï sont très fiers de leur nouvelle école. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

Pourtant, il reste beaucoup à faire, y compris en ce qui concerne l’inégalité d’accès aux services de santé. Il faut 3 heures pour atteindre le Mont Sinaï depuis Port Salut, et 3 heures du Mont Sinaï pour accéder au centre de santé le plus proche. Un voyage qui n’est guère possible pour un enfant malade ou une femme enceinte. « Chaque jour, nous pouvons entendre un RaRa près d’ici (RaRa sont les groupes de musique traditionnels qui jouent lors d’occasions spéciales), cela signifie habituellement que quelqu’un est mort,» m’explique Jean, notre jeune guide.

De retour dans la capitale, une fois de plus je me rends compte du luxe que représentent l’électricité et l’eau courante. Une fois encore, je suis admirative de la force et des sourires de ces familles qui maximisent le peu qu’ils ont pour s’assurer que leurs enfants aient le meilleur départ possible dans la vie.

Cornelia Walther est Directrice de la Communication pour UNICEF Haïti.

 

PFPG20141420

Haïti, cinq ans après le séisme

Le 12 janvier 2015 –  Il y a 5 ans que le séisme a frappé Haïti. À présent, la situation des enfants s’est nettement améliorée. Les signes de progrès sont évidents. Cependant, il reste beaucoup à faire.

Aujourd’hui, nous pouvons observer l’impact du partenariat solide qui lie l’UNICEF, le gouvernement Haïtien et ses partenaires. Les sourires des enfants illustrent ce que nous avons accompli ensemble. Trois enfants sur quatre âgés de 6 à 11 ans vont désormais à l’école, contre seulement 50 pour cent en 2005-2006.

Les taux de mortalité infantile et celui des enfants de moins de 5 ans ont tous les deux diminués au cours des quinze dernières années. Le séisme de 2010 a ralenti cette tendance, mais ne l’a pas stoppée. En 2005, un enfant sur dix âgé de moins de 5 ans souffrait de malnutrition, aujourd’hui il s’agit d’un enfant sur vingt. À l’échelle nationale, deux ménages sur trois ont accès à de l’eau potable, un aspect clé pour prévenir les maladies.

Mitchialine a perdu ses parents suite au séisme mais a été réunie avec des membres de sa famille. Aujourd’hui, elle se porte bien. © UNICEF/PFPG20141421/Lively

Mitchialine a perdu ses parents suite au séisme mais a été réunie avec des membres de sa famille. Aujourd’hui, elle se porte bien. © UNICEF/PFPG20141421/Lively

Le système national de Protection de l’Enfant a été renforcé, pas à pas, avec la ratification par Haïti de deux protocoles additionnels à la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant et à la Convention de la Haye sur l’adoption. Un Code pour la Protection de l’Enfant est prêt à être ratifié par le Parlement. Sept enfants sur dix ont maintenant un certificat de naissance, une identité.

Le pays est passé de la misère à l’espoir, de l’assistance à l’action. L’UNICEF continue de construire et d’améliorer les capacités des acteurs locaux. Familles, communautés, enseignants, docteurs, infirmiers, journalistes et artistes sont à l’origine du progrès que nous observons aujourd’hui. Nous avançons dans la bonne direction, mais nous devons en faire plus – parce que chaque enfant compte.

Cependant l’écart entre les riches et les pauvres se creuse. A Haïti, aujourd’hui un enfant sur cinq meurt, souvent d’une cause évitable. Plus d’un enfant sur dix âgé de 6 à 11 ans ne va pas à l’école. Dans les zones rurales, seul un ménage sur deux a accès à l’eau potable. Huit enfants sur dix âgés de 2 à 14 ans sont soumis à des abus physiques ou psychologiques. Un enfant sur deux âgé de 5 à 14 ans doit travailler pour vivre. Tous les jours, de nombreux enfants continuent à se réveiller dans l’un des 105 camps de personnes déplacées. L’épidémie de choléra, qui a causé plus de 8 000 morts depuis 2010 continue d’entrainer la souffrance et la mort.

Mais être né à Haïti ne signifie pas que le droit d’une fille ou d’un garçon à l’éducation, à la Vie, la protection et la participation est moins important qu’ailleurs. Bien au contraire. NOUS, en tant qu’individus et en tant que collectivités, devons redoubler d’efforts pour que les droits des enfants les plus vulnérables soient respectés. Le 20 novembre 2014, le monde a célébré le 25ème anniversaire de la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant, confirmant une obligation partagée. Aujourd’hui nous avons l’opportunité de réaffirmer notre engagement auprès des enfants d’Haïti, pour s’assurer qu’ils puissent tous réaliser leurs droits et leur potentiel.

Aujourd’hui, nous avons l’occasion de faire le deuil de ce qui a été perdu, de nous réjouir de tout ce qui a été accompli et d’accélérer nos efforts pour accomplir ce qu’il reste à faire. A l’UNICEF nous continuerons d’avancer avec nos nombreux partenaires et le gouvernement Haïtien pour assurer que tous les enfants Haïtiens prospèrent.

Marc Vincent est représentant de l’UNICEF en Haïti.

Nearly three years after being reunited with surviving family, Mitchialine is doing well. FPG20141421/Lively
© UNICEF/PFPG20141421/Lively

Reflecting on Haiti five years after the earthquake

12th January 2015 [4.53 PM Haiti Time] – we are five years after an earthquake struck Haiti. Today there is no doubt that the situation facing children is improving. There is clear evidence of meaningful progress; yet more remains to be done.

Today we see the impact of a strong partnership built between UNICEF, the Haitian government and its partners. Children’s smiles illustrate what has been accomplished together. As we speak three in four children at primary school age (6-11 years) are at school, as compared to just under 50 per cent in 2005-2006.

Under-five and Infant mortality rates have shown a steady decline during the last 15 years, a dynamic that has been slowed, but not disrupted by the earthquake. In 2005 one in ten children under five suffered from malnutrition, today it is one in 20. Countrywide two in three households have access to safe drinking water, a key aspect of disease prevention.

Nearly three years after being reunited with surviving family - post the earthquake -Mitchialine is doing well. FPG20141421/Lively © UNICEF/PFPG20141421/Lively

Nearly three years after being reunited with surviving family – post the earthquake -Mitchialine is doing well. © UNICEF/PFPG20141421/Lively

The national Child Protection system was strengthened, step-by-step, with the ratification by Haiti of the two additional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention on Adoption. The Haitian Code on child protection is ready for adoption by the Parliament. Seven out of ten children now have a birth certificate – an identity.

The country has turned the page from misery to hope, from assistance to action. At UNICEF we seek to build and boost the capacities of local players. Families, communities, teachers, doctors, nurses, journalists and artists are the roots of the progress that we feel today. We are moving in the right direction, yet we need to do more – because every child counts.

There is a widening gap between the rich and the poor, the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. In today’s Haiti, one in ten children under five die, often from preventable causes. More than one in ten children at primary school age does not go to school. In rural areas only one in two households has access to clean water. Eight in ten children aged 2-14 years are subjected to physical or psychological abuse. One in two children aged 5-14 years has to work to make a living. Every day many children continue to wake up in one of the 105 displaced camps. The cholera epidemic, which has claimed over 8,000 death since 2010, still causes suffering and death.

But being born in Haiti does not imply that a girl’s or boy’s right to education, life, protection and participation has less weight than elsewhere. Rather the opposite is true – we, individually and collectively, must strive harder to transform the rights of those children who are most vulnerable. On 20th November 2014 the World celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, confirming a shared obligation. Today we have the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the children of Haiti, to ensure that all children’s rights are realized and that they achieve their true potential.

Today is an occasion to mourn what has been lost, rejoice in what has been accomplished, and accelerate our efforts to do what remains to be done. At UNICEF, we will pursue the road ahead with many partners and the Haitian government to ensure that every Haitian child will not only recover, but thrive.

Marc Vincent is the UNICEF Representative in Haiti.

Nearly three years after being reunited with surviving family, Mitchialine is doing well. FPG20141421/Lively
© UNICEF/PFPG20141421/Lively

Reflexiones sobre Haití cinco años después del terremoto

12 de enero de 2015 [16:53 hora de Haití] – Han pasado ya cinco años desde que un terremoto sacudiera Haití. Hoy en día no hay duda de que la situación de los niños está mejorando. Existen pruebas claras de un progreso importante; sin embargo, todavía queda mucho más por hacer.

Hoy vemos las consecuencias de una sólida alianza establecida entre UNICEF, el gobierno haitiano y sus asociados. Las sonrisas infantiles ilustran lo que hemos logrado juntos. En la actualidad, tres de cada cuatro niños en edad escolar primaria (de 6 a 11 años) van a la escuela, en comparación con poco menos del 50% en el período 2005-2006.

Las tasas de mortalidad de menores de cinco años y las tasas de mortalidad infantil han disminuido de manera constante durante los últimos 15 años, una dinámica que el terremoto ralentizó, pero que no interrumpió. En 2005, uno de cada 10 niños menores de cinco años sufría desnutrición, pero hoy en día es uno de cada 20. En todo el país, dos de cada tres hogares tienen acceso a agua potable, un aspecto clave de la prevención de enfermedades.

Casi tres años después de reunirse con los supervivientes de su familia –después del terremoto– a Mitchialine le van bien las cosas.  FPG20141421/Lively © UNICEF/PFPG20141421/Lively

Casi tres años después de reunirse con los supervivientes de su familia –después del terremoto– a Mitchialine le van bien las cosas. © UNICEF/PFPG20141421/Lively

El sistema nacional de protección de la infancia se fortaleció, paso a paso, con la ratificación por Haití de los dos nuevos protocolos de la Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño y la Convención de La Haya sobre Adopción. El Código de Haití sobre la Protección de la Infancia está listo para su aprobación por el Parlamento. Siete de cada 10 niños tienen ahora un certificado de nacimiento, es decir, una identidad.

El país ha pasado la página de la miseria a la esperanza, de la asistencia a la acción. En UNICEF buscamos construir y potenciar las capacidades de los agentes locales. Las familias, las comunidades, los maestros, los médicos, las enfermeras, los periodistas y los artistas son los cimientos de los avances que hoy día percibimos. Nos estamos moviendo en la dirección adecuada, pero tenemos que hacer más, porque todos y cada uno de los niños y niñas cuentan.

Hay una creciente brecha entre los ricos y los pobres, los que tienen y los que no tienen. En el Haití de hoy, uno de cada 10 niños menores de cinco años muere a menudo por causas prevenibles. Más de uno de cada 10 niños en edad escolar primaria no acude a la escuela. En las zonas rurales, sólo uno de cada dos hogares tiene acceso a agua potable. Ocho de cada 10 niños de 2 a 14 años son víctimas de abusos físicos o psicológicos. Uno de cada dos niños de 5 a 14 años tiene que trabajar para ganarse la vida. Todos los días, muchos niños siguen despertándose en uno de los 105 campamentos para desplazados. La epidemia de cólera, que se ha cobrado más de 8.000 vidas desde 2010, sigue causando sufrimiento y muerte.

Pero haber nacido en Haití no implica que el derecho del niño o la niña a la educación, la vida, la protección y la participación tenga menos peso que en otros lugares. Más bien es todo lo contrario: nosotros, individual y colectivamente, debemos esforzarnos más para transformar los derechos de los niños más vulnerables. El 20 de noviembre de 2014, el mundo celebró el 25° aniversario de la Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño, que confirma una obligación compartida. Hoy tenemos la oportunidad de reafirmar nuestro compromiso con los niños de Haití, para garantizar la realización de los derechos de todos ellos y la posibilidad de que alcancen su verdadero potencial.

Hoy en día es una ocasión para lamentarse por lo perdido, regocijarse por lo que se ha logrado, y acelerar nuestros esfuerzos para hacer lo que queda por hacer. En UNICEF seguiremos el camino que queda por delante con muchos aliados y con el gobierno de Haití para asegurar que todos los niños y niñas haitianos no solamente se recuperen, sino que también prosperen.

Marc Vincent es el Representante de UNICEF en Haití.

NYHQ2010-0225

Photo of the Week: Five years after the earthquake in Haiti

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-0225/Noorani

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-0225/Noorani

Five years ago, just weeks after the 12 January earthquake destroyed her home, in a 2010 photo taken by Shehzad Noorani, this baby girl lay in a basin while her mother, a single parent with two other children, washed laundry nearby, in Cité Soleil, one of Port-au-Prince’s poorest neighbourhoods.

The earthquake – the single largest catastrophe Haiti has endured in centuries – claimed more than 220,000 lives and wreaked havoc on already fragile infrastructure, deepening inequities for the most vulnerable children.

To see more images from UNICEF visit UNICEF Photography.

You can also see the latest photos on the UNICEF Photo app

An outreach worker from Action Against Hunger explains the use of Aquatabs to residents of d'Artibonite during a sensitization session. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2014/Walther

A trek to eliminate cholera deep in the heart of Haiti

An outreach worker from Action Against Hunger explains the use of Aquatabs to residents of d'Artibonite during a sensitization session. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2014/Walther

An outreach worker from Action Against Hunger explains the use of Aquatabs to residents of d’Artibonite during a sensitization session. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2014/Walther

In 2013, the Government of Haiti committed to eliminate cholera in 10 years. But the task is not a simple one: at present, 250 new cases are registered per week, which means one person gets sick every hour. The areas in which cholera hides can be nearly inaccessible, so UNICEF and its partners are working all over the country to help Haiti achieve the goal of eliminating this disease.

One area in Haiti that remains problematic is Artibonite. So I recently went there to support one of our partners, Action Against Hunger (ACF).

 

On the hunt for information

Our first stop is at the Cholera Treatment Centre of Verrettes. At the centre, we interview patients to find out about their area of origin and the potential chain of contamination. In short, we are looking for the details that will help us track down enclaves of the disease.

Armed with the information one of the patients provides, we set off toward a small village.

Our car stops where the road ends. We are facing a mountain. Homes are few, and only a couple of cows graze peacefully, eyeing us, this group equipped with all the necessary tools to decontaminate homes, deal with infected persons and, of course, treat water. From this point, only people and other animals can pass.

We follow a path up the mountain, under the tropical sun. We pass a few local residents, who reassure us that we are headed in the right direction, yet the summit seems unreachable.

The long trek to the village. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2014/Walther

The long trek to the village. (c) UNICEF Haiti/2014/Walther

With every kilometre, it becomes more and more difficult to forge ahead, yet our solidarity is palpable. We are here to end a disease. We are walking slowly, yet there are smiles and some laughter.

We come across an old man sitting under a tree. He tells us that we are close to the village and that, yes, there are problems of cholera. He and his family were all affected by cholera a few weeks earlier. We turn a curve, and I see the little village, clinging to the side of the mountain. Only a few hundred metres to go – finally, we have arrived.

It has taken us three hours to reach the village on foot. The village is more than five hours from the health centre.

Jerome Kouachi tests the chlorination of handwashing facilities . (c) UNICEF Haiti/2014/Walther

Jerome Kouachi tests the chlorination of handwashing facilities at the Cholera Treatment Centre.
(c) UNICEF Haiti/2014/Walther

Taking action at community level
The team splits up. Some move into the village to find the home of the patient with whom we spoke in Verrettes. To create a cordon sanitaire, the home will have to be decontaminated, as will the adjoining houses.

Meanwhile, the villagers have gathered. Another member of the team carries out sensitization activities to teach the villagers about cholera, and distributes Aquatabs (to disinfect water so it is safe for consumption), oral rehydration salts (to administer to people who are suffering from severe diarrhoea, in particular, children) and soap (for hand washing, an important preventive measure).

After about an hour, our work is finished. We leave a stock of supplies with the villagers to ensure that the community can face a potential resurgence of the disease quickly.

And then we begin the long journey back.

Jerome Kouachi is a cholera expert with UNICEF Haiti.

On 9 October, the World Bank is hosting Haiti: Clean water, improved sanitation, better health, in collaboration with the Government of Haiti, the United Nations and development partners. This event brings together the international community to combat waterborne diseases like cholera in Haiti and invest in water, sanitation and health in the areas of the country most vulnerable to waterborne diseases and most in need of water and sanitation improvements.