What Haiti needs now - 'safety, schooling and jobs', says Plan Canada

TORONTO, Jan. 6 /CNW/ - The young people of Haiti need protection, education and job opportunities if the earthquake-ravaged country is to properly recover, says children's organization, Plan Canada.

One year after the disaster, the nation finds itself at a crossroads- but only strong and swift decisions by the government will take it down the road to a fair and sustainable future says Plan.

Based on priorities identified by children and youth in Plan and UNICEF nationwide consultations, the Haitian government is now being called upon to:

  • Adopt a national building code and approved designs for permanent, safe and disability-friendly schools
  • Create an effective birth registration system (including free registration for all people who lost birth certificates in the earthquake) - to ensure better access to education, social and health services; clarify land ownership & prevent child trafficking & other child rights abuses
  • Create formal mechanisms for children and youth to fully engage with the Government & the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (CIRH) in the rebuilding process.

"The challenge that lies ahead is enormous but we can't lose sight of the progress that is being made and the opportunity moving forward to do better for Haiti," said President and CEO of Plan Canada, Rosemary McCarney. "Patience, time, and significant resources are required to make sustainable steps toward recovery but equally important is the need for strong governance and good co-ordination to ensure those efforts are effective."

Lack of land and the absence of an approved building code for earthquake and hurricane-proof buildings are seriously hindering efforts. The lack of a proper system to replace or provide people's legal documents is also proving a major challenge.

"Children and young people's voices must also be heard in order for Haiti to build back strategically and preventatively. In our national survey of some 1,000 young people their key desire was clear - education, education, education. Plan's work has always prioritized learning and we know that it will be crucial for the future of the country," said McCarney.

Plan has operated in Haiti for more than 30 years in education, health and livelihood projects.

Plan's emergency response in the last 12 months has to date:

  • Helped 30,000 children back to school by rebuilding some 50 schools, providing school kits, training teachers & providing equipment.
  • Supported treatment of 27,000 patients in mobile clinics, backed with a $13 million drug donation
  • Vaccinated 31,000 children against diseases
  • Provided 39,000 people with tents and basic non-food supplies in the immediate earthquake aftermath
  • Provided work for 28,000 people through our cash-for-work schemes - clearing 13,000 metres of road, 50,000 of canals and drains, digging latrines, clearing sites for classrooms and planting over 400,000 seedlings on deforested land
  • Reached 100,000 people through our cholera response since October with hygiene kit distributions, prevention campaigns and water & sanitation and health interventions

To read our full 12 month on report, go to: plancanada.ca

SOURCE Plan Canada

For further information:

For interview requests or to arrange media field visits in Haiti, please contact: Kristy Payne, Media Manager, Plan Canada: kpayne@plancanada.ca or 416 920 1654 ext 211.

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Plan Canada

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