Haiti – Earthquake Response 2010-2011
Focus on children
AMURT in partnership with Kinder Not Hilfe and Catholic Relief Services from March to October 2010 AMURT ran 10 Child-Friendly Spaces in Port-au-Prince. The purpose of the centers was to help children affected by the earthquake restore normalcy and improve overall well-being in their lives with psycho-social and educational support. Besides motivational and creative activities, children in the Child-Friendly Spaces program received a hot meal and nutritional support. In all 4,000 children and child minders have benefitted.
Since October 2010, AMURT have been implementing an integrated education and protection program focusing on 5 areas: kindergarten (3-6 year olds), psychosocial enrichment courses (6-13 year olds), youth leadership training (13-18 year olds), women’s literacy and psychosocial support, and urban ecology education. All programs are facilitated by community organizers and trainers who build the capacity of our partner sites to ensure a participative process of implementation, monitoring and assessment. In total, 5,500 beneficiaries are served for the period of October 2010 to June 2011.
Cash for Work and a Green Future
AMURT helps 10,000 villagers in rural Haiti carry out empowering cash-for-work and beat aid addiction. Initiated by AMURT and joint-funded by the UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it is primarily a response to economic desperation exacerbated by the influx of displaced persons into two of Haiti’s most impoverished communes. But watershed regeneration work also targets contour earthworks and tree planting to enhance soil, improve local food security and save homes and lives from devastating flash flooding.
Long-Term Commitment to Grassroots Empowerment
AMURT will continue to align both its immediate and long-term response with the human rights-based framework of community empowerment, self-determination, and leadership capacity building. AMURT & AMURTEL have more than two decades of experience with relief work in Haiti, and have facilitated many ongoing development projects there. AMURTEL particularly focuses on meeting the special needs of women and children in disasters.
Emergency Disaster Relief 2008
When four storms struck Haiti in a period of two weeks in August/September 2008, the Artibonite (the Department in which the City of Gonaïves is located) was severely affected. Serious and widespread erosion and floods resulted in the collapse of basic infrastructure and prevented access to the North West of Haiti. With destroyed bridges and roads, the City of Gonaives and much of Haiti’s North West were unable to access food and experienced a massive lost of income generating assets. AMURT-Haiti immediately began operations to assist residents of Gonaives and surrounding Commune in developing and reinforcing community structures in order to help residents meet their basic needs.
Gonaives Emergency Food Distribution
AMURT’s intervention in Gonaives in 2008, immediately after Hurricane Hannah, utilized a community-based approach in the distribution of emergency food to 75,000 city residents. The multiple purposes of AMURT’s emergency food distribution activities in Gonaives were to: ensure equal and fair access to food for 1,700 families in Gonaives per day; enable grassroots networks to assess and meet the needs of local communities; identify fragile populations within AMURT’s distribution zone; identify community leaders and community associations with whom short and long term partnerships could be formed. Due to the success of its community-based approach, AMURT’s operations quickly grew to encompass more than a third of the City after the first month of emergency food distribution.
Gonaives School Cleaning
At the outset of the emergency in September 2008, AMURT utilized existing grassroots networks in Gonaives to execute Food For Work programs, organizing the cleaning of 100 schools that were severely damaged by the cyclones. As a result, more than 50 of these schools were ready to receive students at the beginning of the school year and the remaining schools were opened only one month behind the traditional school schedule. AMURT is currently preparing to transition its activities to Canteen Scolaire activities, partnering with community groups to oversee school feeding programs throughout the City of Gonaives.
AMURT started operations in Haiti in 1988, when it first opened a school under a tree in Port-au-Prince. Those years still mark the philosophy of the NGO, which heavily relies on volunteers from all over the world, and on a very close relationship with the local communities it seeks to serve. Since then AMURT has grown to include approximately 80 full-time employees forming five teams and working in areas as diverse as community health, environmental restoration, infrastructure, education, and more. Between ’04 and ’07 alone the NGO managed more than $2 million of International Aid, becoming one of the dynamic forces of change in northwest Haiti.
AMURT-Haiti is not an implementing agency, it is a facilitator of a dynamic process developing the full potentialities of each person through participative leadership and empowerment. The NGO emphasizes an approach of community development that supports partnerships with local committees, reinforcing their capacity to plan, realize, and manage in the long run their own projects. This approach reveals the organization’s philosophy of implicating the community in all phases, and empowering them to become equal participating partners and leaders rather than mere beneficiaries of the development process. Similarly, AMURT pays special attention to working closely with women and children, and structures its programs so that they become actively involved in the facilitation process.
Areas of Intervention
AMURT-Haiti takes an integrated approach to development. All of our projects and programs touch several intervention areas. The intervention areas on which AMURT-Haiti and its partners focus are: Education, Community Health, Environment, Infrastructure, Appropriate Tech, Economic Rights, Social Rights and Cultural Rights.