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Mercy Corps in Haiti

Transitioning from emergency relief to long-term economic development


Mercy Corps deployed our emergency response teams to Port-au-Prince just two days after Haitis devastating January 2010 earthquake. Our first imperative was to address the immediate needs of survivors in a country that was already vulnerable: 55 percent of the population lived below a poverty line of $1 a day. To date, Mercy Corps has provided more than 1 million people with emergency food, clean water and shelter materials, as well as post-disaster assistance including trauma support, educational opportunities and short-term employment. Two years after the earthquake, Mercy Corps is focusing on long-term development. We help communities develop their own ideas to solve Haitis most daunting problems. Were using innovative approaches to bring Haitians new social and economic opportunities and to make their country more secure, productive and just. Our Approach Mercy Corps works with vulnerable communities in Port-au-Prince and in the rural Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite Valley. Our programs take innovative approaches and apply the benefits of technology to support under-served communities. Where appropriate, we leverage the power of markets to further stimulate economic development. We partner with local organizations to build the capacity of local people at all levels of government, business and civil society. Boosting Economic Development Our programs are accelerating economic growth by promoting entrepreneurship and increasing financial security. Mercy Corps launched an innovative microinsurance entity called MiCRO that provides coverage against earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to clients who take out microloans from our local MFI partner Fonkoze (microcatrisk.org). Coupling insurance with microloans allows lowincome people to inexpensively reduce their vulnerability and protect their assets against severe weather events. In partnership with the mobile phone operator Voil and financial institution Unibank, we helped introduce Haiti's first mobile wallet, a cell phone account that works like a debit card and also stores savings. Mercy Corps drove the technologys development and adoption, using it to safely and efficiently deliver cash assistance to nearly 9,000 earthquake-affected families. Because mobile money offers tremendous security and privacy benefits, we are promoting the establishment of a mobile money ecosystem by providing financial literacy training to potential users and vendors. And our MicroMentor program a business mentoring platform that leverages technology and a network of partnerships to provide high-quality, lowcost business mentoring services has assisted 220 Haitian entrepreneurs to build stronger businesses (micromentor.org/mentor/haiti).

Agricultural development helps build long-term security in Haiti. Photo: Fabiola Coupet/Mercy Corps

Agriculture for Long-Term Security Mercy Corps agriculture program will boost the long-term economic security of farm families by increasing their incomes and improving their access to markets. Were focusing on building the capacity of farmers associations to provide their members with services, such as access to training, market price information and credit, and to run established and newly constructed post-harvest centers. Farmer training will focus on teaching farmers how to better harvest and transport their products to reduce post-harvest losses. Successfully run post-harvest centers will provide

higher-quality produce to exporters and local markets while giving farmers greater market opportunities. The centers will also serve as a farmers meeting place for training and market information. Were also training farmers in international food safety standards to help them access higher-value export markets. Alternative Energy and Renewable Resources Little more than 2% of Haitis natural forest remains and yet 80% of the population relies on wood for cooking fuel. This results in a vicious cycle of poverty and environmental degradation. Mercy Corps is breaking this reinforcing cycle through innovative livelihoods programs focused on alternative energies and renewable resources. Our Life, Land and Energy project takes a holistic approach to watershed rehabilitation and community development, a model that can be replicated elsewhere in Haiti. Based in the upper mountains of Arcahaie Commune, it will teach sustainable land use practices, establish alternative fuel sources, provide access to credit and business training and create jobs that will lift families out of poverty. Ultimately, the program aims to rehabilitate 28 watersheds and reach 100,000 people. Focusing on Youth In January 2010, Mercy Corps launched our Comfort for Kids program to help prevent long-term trauma among earthquake-affected children and families. This 12-month program directly trained 8,000 youth workers and caregivers and helped 90,000 children recover from the loss and upheaval caused by the disaster. Building on this foundation, we have developed a portfolio of programs designed to support young people by ensuring that they are informed, empowered and productive agents of positive social change in their local communities and nationally. In Cit Soleil, one of the poorest and most violenceprone districts in Port-au-Prince, Mercy Corps established youth centers to provide after-school digital literacy, leadership, arts and sports programs for underserved youth. Our centers provide a space where young people can come together and learn in a safe environment while acquiring the skills they need to build a productive future. Our art therapy program is teaching 1,000 Haitian youth to use creative expression to transform their communities. We launched the Youth Leadership

Council and Civil Society Development projects in 2011 to increase meaningful opportunities for young leaders and community organizations to effectively engage in community development. Our Soccer for Life program working with Partners In Health and Grassroot Soccer teams up with coaches and youth to impart life skills such as leadership, gender awareness, conflict resolution and HIV/AIDS prevention education. Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Mercy Corps is improving environmental health and reducing incidences of waterborne diseases through hygiene education and better sanitation. Cholera continues to afflict vulnerable families in camps and in rural communities with poor sanitation. We have reached 500,000 people in high-risk areas with lifesaving cholera prevention and treatment information. While our water and sanitation program in Port-auPrince camps is winding down as people return to their communities or are relocated to more viable sites, Mercy Corps is working on an integrated water and sanitation program for urban neighborhoods. And in rural areas, our teams continue to travel to remote villages to deliver hygiene education, water treatment tablets, oral rehydration salts and soap. CONTACT Program Inquiries Amy Hause Senior Program Officer ahause@mercycorps.org Media Inquiries Lindsay Murphy Communications Associate lmurphy@mercycorps.org Mercy Corps U.S. Headquarters 45 S.W. Ankeny Street Portland, OR 97204 503.896.5000 800.292.3355 mercycorps.org
Last year, Mercy Corps helped 19 million people turn crisis into opportunity.
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