A BLOG POST BY STEPHENIE FOSTER I’m here in Port-au-Prince on a trip organized by my fellow member of the Women Donors Network, Maria Bello. Maria has a deep commitment to Haiti and to working with Haitians to develop sustainable and long-term solutions to real problems. There are seven of us here, to really learn about the situation and think about the most effective way to make investments that lead to change.
We saw the earthquake devastation – which is still prominent – as well as the very difficult conditions in which people live, particularly in places like Cite Soleil. It was jarring and a stark reminder of how privileged we all are in our daily lives. I saw grim problems, but also met dedicated people - men and women, Haitian and non-Haitian, young and old – looking for creative ways to solve those problems. We met Bill Farrer, the Founding Director of Fountains of Hope, an American who designs incredible solar powered water purification systems. At the WeAdvance clinic in Wharf Jeremy, we met a great group of advocates, including Barbara Guillaume, Alison Thompson, Aleda Frishman and her husband Captain Barry, who are working tirelessly for health care services for women, for the eradication of the culture of gender-based violence and the power of people to make a difference.
I firmly believe in the role of government, and hope that Haiti will soon have the framework of a government structure that helps provide confidence that there is a way forward. But, I also believe that work on the ground matters. I really liked the NGOs we met with, which are nimble, can take advantage of opportunities and get things done.
More later. Tomorrow we meet with the women running for Parliament and the two candidates for President.