Recovery Process Begins to Unfold in Haiti

May 27, 2010

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to work closely with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and other partners to support people most impacted by the devastating January 12 earthquake.

In the first few months, the priority for Episcopal Relief & Development and its partners was meeting immediate needs such as food, water, shelter and health care. Now, the focus has largely shifted to helping Haitians begin walking the road to recovery. The agency is collaborating with the diocese’s development office, Centre Diocesain de Développement et de Secours or CEDDISEC, to identify and meet longer-term needs while still providing immediate assistance to those made vulnerable by the quake.

“The most important element of the current work in Haiti is the cash-for-work program we are implementing with CEDDISEC,” said Tammi Mott, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Haiti Consultant. “By providing short-term employment opportunities for more than 1,800 individuals, we’re simultaneously giving people financial assistance they need to support their families right now and also rebuilding communities for the future.”

The cash-for-work program will include at least 40 parish-led community development projects throughout the country. These short-term projects will include rubble removal and repair for markets, schools, health centers and churches; building and/or repairing sanitation facilities; hurricane preparedness through the rehabilitation of roads and ditches; and assistance for vulnerable community members (e.g., the elderly, the ill and pregnant women).

“The great thing about the way this program has developed is that it is giving Haitians a voice. Local committees are working together to identify their communities’ most pressing needs and then implementing projects to meet those needs,” continued Mott. “By allowing communities to control the process and also complete the work, the diocese is creating a space for the people of Haiti to engage in and take ownership of their recovery.”

The Diocese of Haiti is continuing to assess needs and set priorities for recovery. Despite the challenges and complexities of developing rehabilitation projects in the wake of this disaster, there is a sense of hope in Haitian communities. This is reflected in Bishop Duracin’s words, which have become a slogan of sorts, “Ansan-m ann di: Ayti leve kanpe pouw mache” or “Together we say: rise up Haiti and move forward.”

The Haiti section of Episcopal Relief & Development’s website has been enhanced to provide the most up-to-date information about work in Haiti. As cash-for-work and other recovery projects continue to progress, new resources, such as stories and before-and-after photo galleries, will be added to the site. There is information available about both past and ongoing activities, such as cash-for-work (employment opportunities) and community recovery.

To assist those suffering in the wake of this disaster, please make a donation to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Haiti fund or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058. Please write “Haiti fund” in the memo of all checks.

For those interested in rebuilding Haiti’s churches and diocesan institutions, please consider making a contribution through The Episcopal Church.

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency takes its mandate from Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25. Its programs work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Together with the worldwide Church and ecumenical partners, Episcopal Relief & Development strengthens communities today to meet tomorrow’s challenges. We rebuild after disasters and empower people by offering lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.