Americas: Rising from the Rubble

Woman and child in Haiti
© Erika Guevara Rosas
After the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, which killed 200,000 people and displaced millions of others, Global Fund grantee KOFAVIV quickly reestablished operations in the makeshift camps of Port-au-Prince. Violence against women and girls had skyrocketed in the wake of the disaster. KOFAVIV, which has long supported survivors of rape, gave whistles to women in camps and organized night guards to protect the vulnerable.

KOFAVIV is one of 22 Haitian groups we have supported for nearly 20 years. In July, a Global Fund delegation traveled to Port-au-Prince to learn how we could better help strengthen the capacity of the women’s rights movements to respond to the crisis. Our grantees reminded us that Haitians have long endured unresponsive governments, foreign intervention, and dependency on aid. The earthquake only compounded their already hard lives. Six months later, many were still living as if the earthquake had just struck.

“Men might have more resources, but women have the responsibility to nourish all life.”
— Nadine Louis, GFW grantee Fondation TOYA

Grantee partners and advisors testified to the challenges of working under such difficult conditions. Most groups operate from camps or in temporary facilities. Despite the risk to their personal safety, they are determined to protect and empower Haitian women. Fondation TOYA, for instance, helps young women access credit for economic independence, a critical task in post-earthquake Haiti.

Long before the earthquake, local women’s groups have helped empower individual women while also building a movement to transform the underlying conditions that oppress women and their families. Today, these organizations are building a new Haiti where all Haitians can enjoy full equality and freedom from violence.

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