Our Haiti advocacy delegation hit the streets this morning…fully armed with unified messages on the reconstruction, a folder full of helpful materials and a renewed sense of energy, community and hope. Our own representatives have done a great job today, with key meetings at the World Bank, IDB and Senate this morning and upcoming meetings with several members of Congress this afternoon. They’ve been working hard! Louisiane Nazaire, in our meeting with Sen. Menendez’s office, the Chaired of the Senate Foreign Relation’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, made the following strong statement. ” women and peasants movements need to stand at the forefront of the US government’s planning processes in Haiti, especially on land and housing, which constitutes some of the biggest investments in your foreign aid for Haiti.” Not only did Sen. Menendez’s staffer agree, but she enthusiasticly suggested that we help them identify key grassroots presenters at the next Senate Foreign Relations Hearing on Haiti, later this summer. This was music to our ears!
ActionAid, COZPAM, KONAFAP and MUHDA team, advocating for stronger prioritization on the needs, voices and protection of women and girls in the US plan towards Haiti. They met a warm and receptive office, very thankful to have these important recommendations.
The following comments are from Day 1 of activists from the Haiti Advoacy Working Group’s visit to the nation’s capitol, from the view point of Elise Young of ActionAid USA:
We had a very successful meeting with both Ambassador Veveer and then Tom Adams. GBV, safe housing and grassroots consultation were the big themes. We were very happy to hear Mr. Adams emphasize the US’s commitment to helping to improve protection systems for women. He agreed with Madame Nazaire’s and other participants’ assessment that the justice system needs significant reform in order to process criminals of violence. In Mr. Adams’ words, ” because people who don’t have money in Haiti, don’t have access to the justice system. We must change this.”
Although Mr. Adams had to leave the meeting at the 1 hour mark, our team was delighted to stay for an additional 2 hours, to discuss solid ideas on how to improve the process of direct consultations and partnerships between the US government, Haitian government and Haitian grassroots and civil society groups, in order to improve access to land, housing and security for the most vulnerable.
” I was incredibly surprised and delighted that the State Dept spent so much time with our team and took our recommendations seriously,” said ActionAid’s Haiti’s National Campaign Coordinator, Ghemps Desauguste. “I feel positive that we took the first important step in opening the lines of communication.”