It’s been another busy month for Haven here in Haiti with several ongoing projects around the country; things certainly don’t slow down here for the summer!
Haven is currently in discussion with Camara to provide 100 computers in 10 schools in various parts of the country including 2 schools in Cap Haitian that are run by Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) (also known as Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs (NPFS)), the organisation that Mayo-born Gena Heraty works for. Another school that the computers will be installed in a school located La Toutrelle, which is in a very socially challenged area in Les Cayes in the south of the country. It was Karine Conde, Director for Tourism for the Southern Region, who brought this school to Haven and Camara’s attention. After a visit to the school, Haven Country Director John Moore decided that Haven would support Camara with the instillation of a new computer lab in the school.
Some good news on the funding front for Haven: we have secured Irish Aid funding for an Income Generation Programme on Île à Vache. This vital finding is a huge boost for the programme that covers essential training in areas such as sewing, horticulture and fishing. This project is similar to the recently completed Income Generation Programme in Gonaïves in the north of the country.
Staying with Île à Vache, the Housing Upgrade Programme is going from strength to strength with just over 700 houses completed. The aim is to have 1,000 houses to be upgraded by the end of the year. The next batch of houses to be upgraded have been selected in Madame Bernard and La Hatte, with inspections continuing on houses in Troumilleau. As the inspections continue, it is expected that another 300 houses will be selected for upgrades. Before the House Upgrade Programme started on Île à Vache, 76% of houses on the island had leaking roofs. This figure is now down to almost 50%, and with the continued support of all of Haven’s supporters and donors, the aim is to reduce this figure to 0%.
As well as carrying out the housing upgrades, Haven carries out KAP surveys (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice surveys) with the residents on the island whose houses are being upgraded. KAP surveys are focused evaluations that measure changes in human knowledge, attitudes and practices in response to a specific intervention; this intervention focused on hygiene promotion, the use of latrines and the maintenance of houses. This feedback is essential for the continued success of the project.
In Port-au-Prince, the further upgrade of the CHREPROF vocational centre has just been completed with the support of Sarah Fitzpatrick and Haven US. CHERPROF – the Centre Haitian de Recherches et d’Actions pour la Promotion de la Femme – was established in 1975 by Marie Carmelle Lafontant, a former UN delegate who has devoted her life to educating Haitian women and improving their lives. Marie Carmelle firmly believes that education is the key factor for change, and channels this belief through CHERPROF, which provides an education for up to 300 women per year.
The women attend typing, sewing and farming classes and cover topic such as hygiene promotion, literacy skills and population control. During the 2010 earthquake, there was extensive damage to the structures of the vocational training centre. CHERPROF, aware of the importance of the centre in area, used existing resources to repair the damages on the first two floors in order to reopen their doors and continue classes. However, funds did not stretch to cover the costs of repairs to the third floor. The third floor was left in ruins and, with no resources available for repair works, classes on this floor simply had to stop.
Haven carried out the necessary repair works needed on the third floor of the building. This repair work allowed Marie Carmelle and CHERPROF to educate and train a further 200 women in various disciplines. As well as the repairs to the third floor, the height of the perimeter wall was extended to improve the security of the centre, and a new water tank has been installed to provide a constant supply of water to the centre.
As July moved into August here, the heat has intensified a huge amount. I just spent 3 weeks in the oven that is Île à Vache and even the locals remarked about how hot it was. The first proper rainfall on the island since the beginning of May brought a welcome change from the drought-like conditions caused by the soaring temperatures that gripped the island for a number of weeks. Most days the temperature hovers around the 38 degrees mark which is just a bit warmer than my native Cork (kidding). As a relatively pale Irish girl with a tendency to burn, I received worried looks from the locals around the island as I attempted to navigate my way through the shade like a ninja, trying to avoid the sun at all costs. Not to worry though, the burn turns to tan… or so I’m told anyway…