USA Today’s Kindness blog: What Haiti needs most, one year post-quake

by Christie Garton Jan 12, 2011
220,000 dead. Millions without water, food and shelter. Shocking images of children and parents struggling to be reunited. Do you remember where you were one year ago today when a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti? Despite the utter devastation, Haitians -- along with an incredible amount of support from people around the world, including Americans who donated more than $1.4 billion to the rebuilding effort (from Charity Navigator) -- have strived to rebuild their country with hopes making it a place of prosperity, even better than it was before the earthquake. As the country continues to face speed bumps and hurdles along the long road to recovery, here are ways that folks are helping meet the country's greatest needs (along with idea on how you can still get involved!): - Education: In an effort to help the grief stricken region one year after the devastating earthquake and as part of its commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, University of the People (UoPeople), a non-profit organization, is currently seeking funds to expand its presence in Haiti and fulfill its commitment to reach 250 students. With financial support, UoPeople will establish additional computer and resource centers in the coming months and years. To learn more about donating to University of the People's Haiti project, please visit - Medical supplies and support: One year after the devastating earthquake struck Haiti, Medical Teams International still has volunteers on the field. For a complete update of what the global health organization has accomplished during the last year, please visit: - Jobs and job training: Beginning this week, consuming one of the popular Odwalla Mango Tango Smoothies won't just be nutritious for your body, it also will help support Haiti's recovery from the devastating earthquake in January 2010. As part of its continued support for the island nation, Odwalla will donate 10 cents from every Mango Tango purchase, up to $500,000 per year of the initiative, to the Haiti Hope Project to help provide training and better market access to 25,000 mango farmers in Haiti. The Haiti Hope Project is a large-scale, five-year initiative from TechnoServe to aid Haiti's recovery from the devastating earthquake, and to support its long-term reconstruction. - Sustainable progress: The InterAction alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) remains steadfast in its commitment to support Haiti's ongoing recovery from last year's earthquake. About half of our almost 200 members are still actively working in the country and many will remain there for many years to come, working alongside the country and local governments, the UN, local Haitian NGOs and other international partners to rebuild Haiti and put it on the path to a more stable future for all of its citizens. Thanks to the very generous financial assistance of the American people, members of our alliance have raised more than $1.2 billion in private funds to support our work in Haiti for the long haul. Visit InterAction's website, for more information. - Hunger and malnutrition: Partners in Health, led by Paul Farmer (a leader in sustainable development and the UN Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti), is teaming up with the global health care company Abbott for an ambitious $6.5 million partnership that aims to (1) Build a new PIH nutritional production facility in Haiti to produce Nourimanba, PIH's highly nutritious, peanut-based therapeutic food used to treat severe malnutrition; (2) Help combat poverty by empowering communities – Local workers will build the facility, and Haitian peanut farmers and local workers will handle most of the production of Nourimanba, from start to finish. Abbott scientists and engineers and PIH staff will share expertise and conduct training to develop the skills of local workers; and (3) Shift long-term focus of initiative from traditional aid to local trade for sustainability. By combining their unique expertise and organizational strengths, the PIH-Abbott partnership is empowering local communities to find long-term answers to some of the toughest problems in Haiti.

- Shelter and security: Wyclef Jean recently teamed up with designer Donna Karan and fashion photographer Marc Baptiste in New York City for "The Truth Exhibition"-- an event that auctioned off several of Baptiste's photos of Haiti, raising thousands for the country in partnership with Karan's Urban Zen Foundation, which provides shelter and survival kits to Haiti. Marc Baptiste's photos from "The Truth Exhibition" are still available for purchase via an online auction at - Electricity: When it comes to deploying technology in Haiti, power is the number one barrier. Most of the country is "off grid," and many schools rely on generators, with costs that are extremely high. Non-profits including Inveneo, the EKTA Foundation and NetHope, are working with Microsoft over the next two years to equip 40 schools in Haiti with computers and reach more than 24,000 students (this is a $1.5 million Clinton Global Initiative commitment). To help save power and help more children learn, they are using Windows MultiPoint Server, a Windows product used in classrooms, labs and libraries that allows multiple students to simultaneously share one computer. Students have their own independent computing experience, using their own monitor, keyboard and mouse directly connected to the host computer. Beyond the substantial power savings (80% compared to standard desktop PCs), Windows MultiPoint Server increases the number of students who can access computers, reduces maintenance since you only need to service one computer and fosters learning in a collaborative way. To learn more, check out this video. - Schools: Students Rebuild is a joint initiative of Architecture for Humanity, the Bezos Family Foundation and Global Nomads Group. Students are invited to start a team and raise funds to build schools in Haiti. In turn, students in Haiti are participating in designing schools and connecting with students around the world. Their funds are matched dollar for dollar (up to $2,500 per team) by the Bezos Family Foundation. With the help of the Clinton Global Initiative, Global Philanthropy Group, Barefoot Foundation and The Stiller Foundation, they're also committed to help build at least ten schools with the goal of raising $500,000 through Students Rebuild. Visit the Students Rebuild website for more details. - Nutritious meals for children: Since the earthquake last year Convoy of Hope has expanded its feeding initiatives in Haiti to more than 25,000 children each school day. The organization will soon begin construction of a 35,000-square-foot warehouse just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Once completed, the warehouse will have the capacity to hold up to six million meals. Their goal is to provide a nutritious daily meal to 40,000 school children this year. To donate to the ongoing work of Convoy of Hope, visit their website. - Finally, Charity Navigator has created a special section on our site to commemorate the significant outpouring of generosity from donors across America. In our exclusive report, you will find: (1) Updates from more than two dozen individual charities, including Episcopal Relief & Development, Free Wheelchair Mission and Medical Teams International, on their work in the region; (2) Results of a donor survey which examined how Charity Navigator's users gave to Haiti-related causes; and (3) A roundtable discussion with various nonprofit leaders. For the full report, visit Charity Navigator's website.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful