Friday, May 21, 2010

Church World Service announces 'Haiti Stage 2.'

Church World Services (CWS) is announcing a new phase of its relief effort following the earthquake, called "Haiti Stage 2." The effort marks transition of the international NGO's focus on emergency response to sustainable recovery and rebuilding, for example by helping expand rural food co-operatives and reuniting child domestic workers with their families.

Initial Haitian government plans to relocate large numbers of families to cities outside Port-au-Prince are being thwarted by land ownership issues and costs, a CWS release said. But CWS is dealing within those realities and expanding its work to help families recover where they are, and to support host communities stretched to accommodate migrating survivors. Those programs will range from repair of houses damaged by the quake and expansion of host homes where survivors are permanently relocating, to building food security for all by expanding already-successful farm cooperatives.

"We'll still be providing emergency aid as needed, but we're now working with partners in Haiti to respond to some very specific needs and for the longer-term development programs that are necessary to truly enable Haiti to build back better," said development and humanitarian assistance director Donna Derr.

The new specific rehabilitation focus will include permanent house repair for homes that can be made habitable and safe with minor repairs, expansion of host housing in locations outside quake-affected areas, increasing food security and food availability for the displaced and their host communities, basic services and transitional support for displaced people now living in spontaneous encampments, rebuilding and expanding local capacity to provide services and protection for vulnerable children and youth in Port-au-Prince, individual small grants for quick livelihood recovery, direct services for 1,200 people with disabilities and their families in metropolitan Port-au-Prince, ongoing provision of material support particularly to people still living in tent camps, and continued management and operation of a Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince humanitarian corridor between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

In Fonds Parisien and Ganthier, near the border with the DR, CWS and partners Servicio Social de Iglesias Dominicanas and Christian Aid are serving two spontaneous camps of displaced people-survivors who had no assistance until CWS's partner agencies arrived. "Here, we'll provide food, water, and temporary shelter materials and assist residents in leadership formation and community organizing," said Derr.

Child domestic workers, former gang members, teen mothers also will benefit. At the outset of its response, CWS determined to expand an existing program focusing on the ongoing needs of the country's most vulnerable children, including those who work as domestic servants. The agency's long-term assistance will continue that work in Port-au-Prince, along with support for former gang members and teenage mothers in Lasaline and Carrefour Feuilles. Part of that work will include a pilot family reintegration project to reunite "restavek" children and their families.

During the quake, local partner FOPJ (Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice) was left homeless like many of the children it serves. CWS plans to assist with the purchase a new building in which to house its community center for children.

The Church of the Brethren has contributed $150,000 to the work of CWS in Haiti through a grant from the church's Emergency Disaster Fund.

-- Lesley Crosson and Jan Dragin of Church World Service provided this release.

Source: 5/21/2010 Newsline Update

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