The Women Of Haiti–Beyond The Immediate
The following provides more information ( see also Providing Gender Responsive Aid in Haiti) about addressing the needs of Haitian women in the aftermath of the earthquake:
Donations to the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Profamil program will help them get their clinics and mobile health units in Haiti back to being fully operational.
Since 1984 PROFAMIL has provided low-cost, quality sexual and reproductive healthcare. As a leader in the field, PROFAMIL meets regularly with the Minister of Health to develop strategies for increasing access to sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Programs that Profamil offers include:
Sexual & Reproductive Health Services: PROFAMIL clinics provide family planning, early detection of breast and cervical cancers, high-quality sexual and reproductive health clinical services for men and women, and pre-and-post natal services.
Mobile Health Clinics: PROFAMIL brings health providers directly to the rural communities where the people are totally isolated. Approximately 200 men, women and children are provided with basic health care services at each visit.
HIV/AIDS Prevention: PROFAMIL conducts voluntary testing and counseling for HIV/AIDS, educates the public about prevention and ensures widespread access to condoms.
PROFAMIL Youth Program: PROFAMIL provides youth-friendly clinical and educational services to young people aged 10-25.
Health Education: PROFAMIL covers issues such as promoting family planning and presenting various methods; cervical cancer and the need for routine pap smears; relationships; gender issues; domestic violence; HIV/AIDS prevention with regular condom demonstrations. In 2006, PROFAMIL educated over 225,000 people.
Peacewomen has a list of numerous organizations that are working with women in Haiti here.
The UNFPA has launched a flash appeal to fund programs that will allow them to:
- Refurbish maternity wards to handle emergency obstetric care and other life-saving health services;
- Deploy skilled health professionals, such as midwives, obstetricians and nurses, to affected areas to provide maternal health and emergency obstetric care;
- Provide emergency safe delivery and reproductive health medicines and supplies to temporary clinics and health facilities being set up;
- Help safeguard the personal hygiene and dignity of women and girls by providing related sanitary supplies;
- Facilitate access of affected populations, especially young people, to psychosocial counselling and other services; and
- Carry out interventions to prevent gender based violence.
The Women’s Refugee Commission has a list of the ten most pressing needs that must be met to ensure the well-being and safety of those displaced in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Amnesty has issued a statement regarding the need to protect women against sexual violence and exploitation in the wake of the earthquake.
The Global Fund for Women is asking Haitian women to help them formulate long-range responses and to inform the fund of their perceptions of need. (Note–while this perhaps sounds non-specific, I particularly like that they are asking what is needed, rather than telling those whose lives have been impacted what they see as the needs. Given that women are hugely under-represented in the organizations that organize aid in response to disasters, this is a very important shift in formulating response policy.)
And WomenArts has this wonderful page about Haitian women in the arts including a poem entitled Mud Mothers by Lenelle Moise, here are just a few lines from the poem which I urge you to read in its entirety.
the children of haiti
are not mythological
we are starving
or eating salty cakes
made of clay
because in 1804 we felled
our former slave captors
the graceless losers sunk
teeth into our forests
what was green is now
dust & everyone knows
trees unleash oxygen
(another humble word
Please also see Providing Gender Responsive Aid in Haiti. H/t to Change.org for pointing to many of the links provided here and Sue Katz for pointing to the WomenArts link. Also, although not women-specific, h/t to Global Voices for providing updates from independent voices on the ground in Haiti.