Haiti: what’s done, what we’ve learned, what’s next
Briefing by Canadian aid agencies
TORONTO, March 30, 2010 - One day prior to the International Donors’ Conference in New York, senior leaders from Canada’s top aid agencies (CARE, Free The Children, Oxfam, Plan, Canadian Red Cross, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision) came together to speak about what’s been accomplished in Haiti so far and the reconstruction work ahead.
The aid agencies thanked Canadians for their unprecedented generosity: $13.5 million to the “Canada for Haiti” telethon in January and millions more to individual agencies—money that is being used effectively and efficiently to help Haiti recover and rebuild.
The NGOs also said they are looking to the Government of Haiti as well as partners and stakeholders in the reconstruction effort to support a big-picture approach to implementing Haiti’s action plan, not one that focuses too much on projects and infrastructure at the expense of system-wide planning and reforms in education, health, shelter, sanitation and other critical areas.
As the three-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake approaches, much remains to be done in Haiti. The UN estimates the cost of reconstruction will be $11.5 billion. Even before the quake, Haiti was struggling to recover from years of violence, insecurity, economic instability and natural disasters. Canadian aid agencies understand these challenges and continue to apply lessons learned from the 2004 Asian Tsunami response as they partner with Haitians, government, the international community and civil society to rebuild Haiti.
“Over the past few months it has been truly amazing to witness Canada coming together in solidarity providing overwhelming support for Haiti. I’m so proud to be a part of the coalition and could not be more pleased with our collective achievements thus far. But our work is not yet done. Working together with the people of Haiti, we will collectively be able to rebuild the nation providing a bright future to those who’ve lost so much.” — Craig Kielburger, Founder, Free The Children
“The situation in Haiti, as dire as it may seem, has spawned a process of not just rebuilding Haiti as it was, but of engaging Haitians in ‘re-imagining’ Haiti as it could be. Thanks to the generosity of Canadians and people all over the world, we have a chance to turn disaster into opportunity for the families and children of one of the poorest nations on earth.” — Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO, Plan Canada
“The challenges in Haiti are as big as the challenges in Afghanistan. We need to be transparent with Canadians not only about our finances but our actions—the road ahead is going to be filled with difficulties. We need to be realistic about this, but we are also hopeful.” — Dave Toycen, President and CEO, World Vision
“We are calling on the world leaders who are gathering in New York tomorrow to make sure that, as we transition from emergency response to long-term reconstruction, the immediate needs of Haitians are not forgotten as they discuss and plan for tomorrow’s needs.” — Kevin McCort, President and CEO, CARE Canada
“Canada for Haiti showed an unprecedented spirit of collaboration and we want to see that collaboration continue with the Haitian and international communities coming together and working together to rebuild.” — Robert Fox, Executive Director, Oxfam Canada
“Haiti is a unique challenge for us – not just because of the devastating natural disaster but because of pre-existing barriers to essential services. Our reconstruction efforts give us the opportunity to partner with the government of Haiti to build a country as strong and resilient as the people. With the continued support of Canadians, we can transform society for all Haitians, starting with children.”
— Kimberly Moran, President and CEO (Acting), UNICEF Canada