Haiti One Year Later: Our Progress and Plans

The child-friendly space at SINEAS IDP camp in Port-au-Prince.

It has been one year since the devastating 7.0 earthquake rocked the country of Haiti, killing some 230,000 people and displacing another 1 million. Today, Trees, Water & People (TWP) is reflecting on the past year in Haiti and looking forward to the future.

In the weeks and months following the earthquake, and continuing through the end of 2010, TWP received a tremendous outpouring of support for our efforts in Haiti. Now, we would like to share with you how these generous donations have made a real and lasting impact, as well as our plans for 2011.

2010 Accomplishments in Haiti

With our partners Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT), International Lifeline Fund (ILF) and StoveTec, we were able to get thousands of fuel-efficient Rocket cookstoves to internally displaced Haitians. The following summarizes our impact in the past year:

  • Donated 1,776 fuel-efficient cookstoves to Haitian families, directly affecting over 16,500 lives (with an average family size of 6 people). This cookstove distribution project, part of a UN project run by ILF, will greatly reduce fuel costs, deforestation, environmental impacts, and injuries due to open-fire cooking. In addition, with a great need for clean water, these cookstoves allow families to prepare food safely, and boil water to reduce deadly water borne diseases such as Cholera.

    Josanie LaFortune sits in front of her fuel-efficient cookstove at an IDP camp in Port-au-Prince.
  • Training programs funded by TWP soon after the quake led to the training of thousands of cookstove beneficiaries in IDP camps around Port au Prince.  Every training session included an overview of the stove parts, stove use and maintenance, and the environmental, economic and social benefits of a fuel-efficient cookstove. Trainees also participated in a cooking demonstration, where each woman cooked a meal on their new cookstove.
  • TWP helped develop a monitoring and evaluation program for the cookstoves distributed. These stoves have been very well received due to the fuel-savings and safer cooking conditions they offer. In fact, through the monitoring and evaluation program, we have found that beneficiaries save over 50% on their average daily fuel expenditures with their new cookstove.  As one woman commented:

“With my stove, I am able to purchase less charcoal and I help protect the environment….the stove program is helping us to rebuild our country so that Haiti can be more beautiful than before the earthquake.”

  • We funded our partner AMURT’s installation of the Integrated Healing and Wellness Center (IHEC) at the SINEAS Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Port-au-Prince. The IHEC consists of 11 pavilions and 22 classrooms, 10 composting toilets, 8 rainwater catchment systems, a reservoir, a composting site, a tree nursery, a permaculture demonstration site and organic garden. These child-friendly spaces gave 820 children the chance to attend preschool and after school programs, providing an important safe haven during a time of crisis. The vision for this center is that it can be replicated in other camps, with youth and women’s leadership as a main priority.
  • Working with the Haitian government, we participated in drafting the Haitian National Improved Stove Strategy with our partners from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Paradigm Project, and ILF. Working with the Haitian government’s Bureau of Mines and Energy (BME), we will continue to address the problems of deforestation caused mainly by charcoal production and fuel-wood consumption.
  • In 2010, TWP became a partner of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC).  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the GACC in New York City in September with a commitment to saving lives, improving livelihoods, empowering women, and combating climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean cookstoves. Since the launch, the Alliance has been working on activities that will help them achieve the goal of 100 million homes adopting clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020Our international staff will be participating in two working groups for the GACC: “Reaching Consumers” and “Monitoring and Evaluation.”

Moving Forward in Haiti: 2011 Plans

  • Working with AMURT, who runs multiple tree nurseries throughout Haiti, we will continue to address the critical deforestation issue in Haiti. According to the Haitian Bureau of Mines and Energy, 75% of the energy consumed in Haiti comes from biomass in the form of wood and charcoal; 80% of this amount is used for cooking meals at the household level. Halting the severe deforestation in the country is a critical task, as the current rate of reforestation is only 26% of the rate of forest removal.
  • In 2011, with our partner organizations, we will undertake extensive research and development to continue the process of designing a best-fit cookstove for Haiti that can be produced in country, by Haitians, using local materials with an end-product that is economically accessible to those most in need.

With your continued support, TWP and partners will also continue the distribution of fuel-efficient cookstoves, as well as the training, monitoring, and evaluation process that is critical to the success of this program.

Thank you so much for your support of and compassion for the Haitian people!

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Trees, Water & People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to developing sustainable community-based conservation solutions.

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