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Haitians are organizing to restore hope and democracy to Haiti. They need our solidarity.

How to help Haiti

Haitians are organizing to restore hope and democracy to Haiti. They need our solidarity.It is hard to read U.S. news about Haiti without wanting to help Haiti and Haitians. But when a country like Haiti faces complex crises, people who want to help can feel overwhelmed. Despite the daunting challenges facing Haiti, there are practical things that people in the U.S. can do to help Haiti. It is more important than ever to donate to Haitian grassroots organizations and speak out for better U.S. policies toward Haiti.
In this blog post we share concrete actions people can take now to help Haiti and Haitians. These suggestions are based on what civic leaders in Haiti have said they need at this difficult moment. And they draw on Faith in Action International’s experience supporting grassroots organizing in Haiti since 2014.

Donate to local community-based organizations in Haiti

Community organizations are holding Haitian society together. For the past decade, Haiti has been ruled by a U.S. backed political party that has cancelled election after election, and engaged in rampant corruption. In the absence of a functioning government, Haitians are working through civic organizations to survive and solve basic social problems.
While violent gangs which grew in power in collusion with Haiti’s ruling party now terrorize large parts of Port-au-Prince, the capital. It is also important to remember than nine of ten Haitians live outside the capital. People in large parts of Haiti face devastating hunger and a lack of functioning government institutions, but they are able to safely walk the streets and work together.
In North and Northeast Haiti, the People’s Organization for the Development of Haiti (OPODNE) works with teams of local residents in 62 communities, who rebuilt roads, clean streets, and plant crops together. They also meet with Haitian officials, foreign NGOs and the U.S. Agency for International Development to convince these institutions to follow community priorities and work through local organizations.
People who want to directly support grassroots organizing in Haiti can make tax-deductible donations to Faith in Action International, or other U.S. based non-profit organizations that partner with local Haitian organizations. Donations through Faith in Action and organizations like American Jewish World Service and Grassroots International go directly to local Haitian-led organizations. These U.S. non-profits don’t hire staff or run programs in other countries. Rather, they use your tax-deductible donation to support vetted organizations led by local people.

Help Haitians Restore their Capacity to Feed Themselves

Last year grassroots leaders from OPODNE spoke with 4,400 small-scale farmers to find out what they need to overcome a decade of drought. The farmers said they needed irrigation, better seeds, affordable tools, and help from agronomists in adapting to dry conditions.
In May 2023, OPODNE and the St. Barnabas Center for Agriculture took a small but important step by launching the Northeast Haiti Community Seed Bank. With $17,000 in donations from generous individuals in the U.S., the Seed Bank began a pilot effort to provide seeds to farmers in six communities. At the end of the harvest, farmers return additional seeds to the Seed Bank, making it a sustainable source of capital for farmers who now rely on loan sharks to obtain seeds.

Join organizing and advocacy efforts to change U.S. policy toward Haiti

Many organizations in the U.S. are working together to change U.S. government policy toward Haiti. For too long, the U.S. has backed corrupt politicians and wealthy families who would supposedly protect U.S. national interests in Haiti.
There is widespread support among Haitian-American leaders, U.S.-based advocacy organizations, and the Congressional Haiti Caucus that the U.S. should stop propping up the current Haitian regime. Instead, the Biden-Harris Administration should support a transition process developed and led by civil society organizations, often referred to as the Montana process.
The U.S. can also do more to stop the flow of heavy weapons that have enabled gangs to take over large parts of Port-au-Prince. And the U.S. has powerful tools to impose targeted financial sanctions on corrupt politicians and elites, who have homes and bank accounts in Florida.
A Way Forward in Haiti is one effort by Haitian faith communities and friends of Haiti to advocate for changes in U.S. policy toward Haiti. Through regular zoom calls, we’ve been able to meet with top officials form the U.S. State Department and Congress to press them to listen to the ideas of Haitian civic leaders. In 2021, we pressed the Biden-Harris Administration to send COVID vaccines to Haiti, the last country in the hemisphere to receive any doses.
You can join A Way Forward in Haiti calls by signing up for news and alerts from Faith in Action International.

Add your name to a petition calling on USAID to support Haitian farmers

With half of Haitians facing hunger, People’s Organization for the Development of Northeast Haiti (OPODNE) has asked USAID to redirect funds to help Haitian farmers with seeds, irrigation, and tools to adapt to drought and climate change. You can add your voice to this campaign by signing our petition asking USAID Administrator Samantha Power to follow the lead of Haitians, not foreign contractors. The response to hunger begins with restoring the capacity of Haitians to feed themselves.

Talk directly with grassroots leaders in Haiti

One blessing of our Way Forward in Haiti calls is that they give people in the U.S. who care about Haiti a chance to talk directly with grassroots leaders and organizers in Haiti. Our fates in Haiti and the U.S. are intertwined. So we need to see and feel each other’s humanity and build working relationships.
Please keep donating to support Haiti and Haitian and lifting you voice for the future of Haiti.
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