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Unique Voice from the Frontline in Post Earthquake Haiti: Grassroots Woman Leader to Share Unheard Perspectives on Gender Violence Epidemic
September 12, 2010:
New York, NY — Eramithe Delva, a courageous advocate and founder ofone of the leading Haitian grassroots women’s networks, traveled from Haiti today for the firsttime to speak at a full day program on Haitian Women and Girls to be held Monday, September13
at New York’s Cosmopolitan Club, cosponsored by the Women Donors Network and theUnited Nations Foundation. During the week, she is scheduled to speak at U.S. Congress, theState Department, Universities and Law Schools, and with NGO partners, offering uniqueperspective on the silent, yet staggering plight of women in post-disaster Haiti.“The empowerment of grassroots Haitian women is essential to rebuilding efforts in Haiti,” saidAbby Goldberg, Director for Latin America, Caribbean, and Gender at Digital Democracy (Dd).“Eramithe’s historic trip is an example of how the tragedy of the earthquake has created anopportunity to shift the power structures that have kept women from full political participation andreinforced the structural inequalities that have led to extreme levels of poverty and violence thatdisproportionately affects women and girls.”Since the January earthquake, rape and gender-based violence (GBV) has grown exponentially, just as Haitian women’s voices have continued to be excluded from international discussions ofthe rebuilding efforts and the allocation of more than $6 billion dollars in aid. Delva’s organization,KOFAVIV (Commission of Women Victims for Victims), is committed to reversing this trend.KOFAVIV has documented the severe escalation of GBV in Port-Au-Prince over the last 8 monthsin order both to combat and raise international awareness of this human rights tragedy.
(For more information and documentation, see “Our Bodies are Still Trembling: Women’s Fight Against Rape in Haiti (July 2010) Institute for Justice in Haiti. Available at: http://ijdh.org/archives/13361)
Goldberg and Emily Jacobi, Co-Founder of Dd, met Delva when they traveled to Haiti in April toconduct on-the-ground photo and technology trainings with women’s groups. Since then, Dd hasbeen using technology to empower and protect Haitian women. Dd is working to leverage thesame technology that helped individuals use mobile phones to locate rescuers to provide rapidresponse for rape victims and gather data necessary to lobby for changes in the camps wherewomen and girls are most vulnerable to attacks.“Contrary to a recent UN report that claims security has been provided in problem areas, peopleliving in many camps are forced to provide their own security through banding together, forminginformal security patrols or “brigades” and providing whistles as a deterrent for rape,” said Delva.“Camps that have electricity for lighting at night and informal security patrols do not haveproblems of violence against women and rapes, and we hope that more camps can receive thissupport now. The role of technology in this process is paramount.”