Equitas’ engagement with Haiti began in 1994 when the first Haitians attended the International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP). Since then, 71 Haitians from some 40 organizations have participated in the IHRTP. Of these, approximately 25 have been involved with Equitas in follow-up activities in Haiti since 2006.
Human Rights Training for Grassroots Organizations
Equitas is working in Haiti to equip vulnerable and marginalized groups of citizens to participate democratically in the reconstruction of their country and their communities. With input from our Haitian partners, Equitas has developed a citizen engagement toolkit containing tools and activities adapted to the Haitian reality which encourage grassroots engagement in community development.
In the pilot phase of this project, local initiatives were undertaken using a prototype of the toolkit. A training for parents in displaced persons camps on children’s rights and parents’ responsibilities towards their children led to the creation of parent committees and the creation of a more secure environment for children in the camps. In another initiative in Port-au-Prince, 50 young people began taking action to improve the environment, particularly the sanitary facilities, of their camp after taking part in discussions on civic responsibility. Other initiatives led to the inclusion of women in the management of the camps and to the greater protection of women and children from violence.
In the coming months, community workers will be trained by Equitas and our local partner the Groupe d’Appui aux Rapatriés et Réfugiés (GARR) in the use of the toolkit and take part in local civic engagement activities. The results and lessons learned from these new initiatives will inform the final version of the toolkit which will be translated into Creole and produced in the summer of 2012.
In the fall of 2012, up to 25 national and grassroots organizations will be trained in the use of the citizen engagement toolkit. These community trainers will be equipped to integrate a participatory human rights approach into their work with people living in vulnerable conditions.
This project is made possible thanks to funding from the Canadian International Development Agency, the Ministère des relations internationales of Québec, the American Jewish World Service and l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie