On April 14, over 100 of you joined our “Organizing in Haiti in a Time of Crisis” zoom conference. Thanks to your support, we have raised $10,000 that OPONE has used to lead a public education and public health campaign in Mont Organise, Grand Bassin and 13 other towns in Northeast Haiti. These are communities where OPODNE has built a strong base of leaders over the past five years. In just a few weeks, our leaders and volunteers have helped get reliable information and supplies to 7,000 families, around 35,000 people total. The campaign includes education efforts to provide information regarding proper prevention techniques. As part of the campaign, leadership teams are distributing masks, gloves, disinfectant, and washing station to promote health practices. Read OPODNE’s report and watch their video.
OPODNE ‘s Executive Director Florcie Tyrell is acting as a leader and a first responder in the middle of the crisis. She is working closely with Dr. Louis Clonel one of OPODNE’s leaders. Currently in Haiti due to the fact that both local and national governments are dysfunctional, doctors are not being paid, but Dr. Clonel and Florcie are visiting communities and speaking regularly on local radio shows to provide updates and accurate COVID -19 information and resources. They are distributing fliers, using megaphones to make announcement at public markets, and providing healthcare education and training to communities. The region, that was in second place of new cases in the country have dropped to a fifth place since the campaign, with only one new infection reported last week.
Haiti faces the COVID-19 with a fragile economy. The coronavirus crisis is causing economic damage across the globe, not only in our local communities in the U.S. but even more so in developing countries. With remittances, exports, and tourism all collapsing, Haiti will be less able to import the basic goods the country has come to rely upon. Inflation, which is already higher than it has been in years, is likely to increase further, putting basic goods out of reach of more families. There is real danger of a large scale outbreak followed further by a humanitarian crisis in Haiti,” Dr. Carissa Etienne, the director of the Pan American Health Organization, said Tuesday. “There is the real risk that growing food insecurity will result in famine.” In addition, the lack of food could give rise to social unrest, she added.
By organizing the population on how to protect themselves from catching the virus OPODNE is working to prevent a major catastrophe from taking place in the northeast and the country, and it is continuing to lay the ground work for social and political change led by the people of Haiti.
OPODNE trains local residents in leadership skills and helps them build volunteer teams that survey neighbors about their needs, develop community improvement and economic development projects, and press local officials to be accountable to the community. OPODNE has created cooperatives that are generated much needed income in towns across Northeast Haiti. It has established itself as a reliable and trusted community organization, working in close partnership with the Catholic Church and local municipalities. This is why OPODNE was positioned uniquely to educate and serve in response to the pandemic in their northeast communities. The next months will be critical to control the spread of COVID-19 in Haiti and save many lives ; Together we can support the mission of OPODNE, help the organization continue work in the North Department and other regions of the country, and make a difference in Haiti. We invite you to join our efforts to expand the campaign against COVID-19 in Haiti and please make a donation now.
Charles, Jaqueline, “COVID could lead to social unrest and even famine in Haiti, global experts warn “Miami Herald, May 5, 2020