What has your charity done in Haiti?
In order to prevent disease in the aftermath of the earthquake, UNICEF led the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene cluster to ensure that as many people as possible were reached with safe drinking water. They also conducted two immunization weeks during the course of the year. To help protect children, UNICEF worked to identify, register and reunite these children with parents and caregivers, and has also begun creating child-friendly spaces for young children. To create a sense of normalcy in a child's uprooted life, UNICEF helped reopen schools as soon as possible, providing tents for temporary schools; and has begun to open semi-permanent schools. In addition, in October UNICEF launched a new nationwide “All to School” campaign targeting children in camps, slums, and neglected rural areas who had never before had access to education. UNICEF supports therapeutic feeding centers to ensure that there is no increase in levels of acute malnutrition in children under five. UNICEF also works to build capacity to ensure that norms and legal frameworks better promote children’s rights was also accelerated, from training and deploying more social workers through to upgrading legal frameworks to create a protective environment for children. Throughout the year, UNICEF also played a role in coordinating more than 430 partners.
What are the outcomes (immediate results) of your efforts in Haiti?
At the height of the emergency UNICEF and its partners were reaching 1.2 million people with safe water, and since January they have installed more than 11,300 latrines. UNICEF and its partners have immunized nearly two million Haitian children against the big six vaccine-preventable childhood diseases: Measles, DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough (Pertussis)), Rubella, and Polio. In addition, UNICEF supports therapeutic feeding centers which treated more than 11,250 children with severe acute malnutrition. Through schools and centers, some 720,000 children are receiving support in a nationwide “All to School” campaign in 2,000 schools, while 94,800 children are benefiting from daily opportunities for sports and recreational activities in a network of 369 UNICEF-supported child-friendly spaces. UNICEF’s cholera response is expanding to support a network of 72 cholera treatment centers, and more than 865,000 bars of soap have been distributed, focusing notably on 1.5 million children in 5,000 schools and 30,000 vulnerable children living in residential care centers.
Based on your outcomes thus far, has your charity adjusted its course of action to improve the results?
To continuously improve its responses, UNICEF seeks to assess strengths, weaknesses and lessons on a real-time basis through ‘after-action review’ exercises involving key program, coordination, operations and planning and monitoring staff.
Is your charity planning to continue to provide assistance to Haiti in the coming months and years? If so, please explain your plans.
UNICEF has been in Haiti since 1949, and will remain a partner in Haiti for the long-run. UNICEF is committed to ensuring that all Haiti's children can enjoy their right to survival, health, education and protection. Building on its experience before, during and after the emergency, UNICEF will continue to focus on meeting the many humanitarian needs that remain in earthquake-affected areas, extending response efforts in 2011 to reach those who have not yet been reached, and tackling endemic poverty and disparities throughout the entire country—so the vision of a Haiti Fit for Children can progressively take shape. While much has been achieved under difficult conditions, UNICEF acknowledges that there is much more to be done to address long-standing inequities that have left many Haitian children impoverished and without access to basic services. Recovery and development need time and this should not be forgotten. It is very clear—the year 2010 was probably the worst year in living memory for most Haitian adults—but UNICEF is working hard to make sure that it is the hardest year that Haitian children will ever have to bear. As long as a single child still lives in a tent or goes to bed without enough food, or gets sick from a preventable disease, or is denied the chance to go to school - as long as any child in Haiti needlessly suffers - UNICEF will stand by the children of Haiti. In partnership, with sustained support and a collective vision, UNICEF will ensure that children born today not only survive, but thrive in a Haiti Fit for Children. To take action on behalf of the children of Haiti visit www.unicefhaiti365.org
What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenges facing the people of Haiti in the years to come? Do you have suggestions for how to address these challenges both via your own organization and through the efforts of others?
UNICEF knows that it is important to remember that it is the deep disparities in access to these basic social services that contribute to the vulnerability of children and communities in Haiti, leading to the persistent escalation of environmental, social and economic shocks into full-scale disasters. Therefore, extending UNICEF’s assistance to marginalized areas, where disparities are the starkest, will be critical to credibly supporting the Government’s decentralization plan and realizing the rights of every child. The past year is evidence of the recurrent humanitarian needs in Haiti, with the cholera outbreak and various floods since September undermining the response and setting back families' recovery from the earthquake. UNICEF remains committed to ensuring that the three priorities (Children’s Nutrition; Education and Protection) which were established in the aftermath of the earthquake, stay at the forefront of planning and programming in 2011, as they remain the key to transformation of the nation and of children’s lives. UNICEF is also committed to adapt its humanitarian and recovery response to any and all emerging needs but also to invest in the structural deficiencies in Haiti that make these emergencies more difficult to overcome and challenge sustainable recovery.
Have you been able to coordinate and pool your efforts with other organizations?