With a death toll looming at over 200,000, we feel blessed to know that some of our Haitian sisters have survived this disaster, the worst earthquake to have hit the country in 200 years.
The Americas team was jumping with joy when they heard from Nikette by email yesterday morning. But we also know this is not true for a lot of women’s groups. We express our condolences for our sister activists who perished in the earthquake, as shared by the Astraea Fund.
Our sister organizations have been wonderful in highlighting the GFW’s Crisis Fund as a way to support women’s groups that will rebuild Haiti. From WomenThrive, to Ms Foundation’s generous gift of $10,000 to the Crisis Fund, we look forward to working with our Haitian sisters on the ground once direct relief organizations leave the shores.
Under the leadership of our grantee partner in the Dominican Republic, Colectiva Mujer y Salud, and the Feminist Radio Endeavor, a "feminist camp" has been established on the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The purpose of the camp is to create a physical space from where all these feminist and women's organizations can coordinate efforts. FIRE is going to broadcast a radio program to share the stories of women, Colectiva Mujer y Salud will coordinate health services and the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the hands of women, and other organizations will coordinate activities from the camp. Our advisors in the region are offering their services and support: Yamilet Mejia from Nicaragua is helping with psychological support for the survivors and Patricia Guerrero from Colombia is helping with her expertise on preventing sexual violence.
We also support Astraea’s call that LGBTI communities are particularly vulnerable during conflicts and crises and the Haitian earthquake is a call for human rights advocates to prioritize supporting these communities with resources.
Madre’s op-ed over the weekend on how women’s groups will be the ultimate solution providers to the conflict rings truer than ever as we at the Global Fund plan to work closely with groups like Madre and their sister organizations like Zanmi Lasante, that are doing critical relief work. While there is a lot of aid and relief pouring into the capital city of Port au Prince, there is also a lot of negligence, and lack of distributed relief beyond the capital. Also find out the historical context of the reason for such a devastating toll that has affected nearly one-third of the Haitian population.
In the coming days, we will continue to track how groups and activists on the ground and are coping and organizing to ensure relief and resources reach their communities in time. We just heard from our Americas Program Officer that Global Fund will support an assessment team including our advisor Flavia Cherry, to travel to Haiti in the coming weeks to ensure humanitarian assistance is being delivered to vulnerable communities in time, particularly women and children.