Minister Oda assesses progress in Haiti

October 13, 2011

Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, concluded a three-day visit in Haiti. Minister Oda travelled to Haiti to observe the results achieved through Canada's ongoing commitment to the Haitian people. Minister Oda met with the president and the new prime minister of Haiti, as well as with representatives of the Haitian government and Canadian organizations working on the ground in Haiti.

"I am able to report that progress is being made in the recovery and reconstruction of Haiti after the earthquake," said Minister Oda. "The rebuilding of Haiti will take many years. We must all remember the challenges that Haiti was facing prior to the earthquake. Our efforts must improve the living conditions for the people of Haiti and benefit future generations. These efforts must be led by the Haitian people, and Canada remains committed to this long-term process."

Minister Oda highlighted a project that helped another 35,000 children to return to classes. Canada, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank, will cover the children's school fees and provide them with needed school supplies. This project forms part of Canada's work to support Haitian youth, especially through education initiatives.

In Port-au-Prince, Minister Oda also visited the Isaïe Jeanty Hospital where Canada, with the Pan American Health Organization, supports free health services for low-income pregnant women. More than 70,000 women and their newborns have received free access to skilled health care. This project is part of CIDA's commitment to mothers, newborns and children.

In Léogane, where the earthquake destroyed an estimated 80 percent of the buildings, Minister Oda met with displaced people who are living in semi-permanent houses and temporary shelters constructed by the Canadian Red Cross.

Minister Oda stressed Canada's current efforts in Haiti, which include initiatives addressing immediate needs and long-term development. Canada's support contributed to achieving the following results:

  • Emergency food aid to 4.3 million Haitians
  • Water and sanitation services to 1.3 million Haitians
  • Emergency and temporary housing for 370,000 families
  • A cash-for-work program, which employed one million Haitians
  • Assistance to increase agricultural production and income for more than 80,000 families
  • Microcredit and financial services for 369,000 Haitians
  • Daily nutritious meals for 400,000 Haitian schoolchildren
  • Access to education for more than 40,000 Haitian schoolchildren
  • Medical care for 330,000 pregnant women and new mothers

Canada, through the Haiti Reconstruction Fund, also supports debris removal and shelter construction. All these initiatives fit with the priorities of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission and fall under Haiti's Action Plan for National Recovery and Development.

In 2010, Canada committed $400 million over two years to the reconstruction of Haiti. To date, the Government of Canada disbursed more than two thirds of that commitment to Haiti. In addition, Canada is committed to the construction of the Gonaïves Hospital and the National Police Academy and to the provision of a police training program.

While great needs remain, Canadian initiatives make a real difference in the lives of Haitians. In total, the Government of Canada's current commitment to Haiti is more than $1 billion, making Haiti the largest recipient of Canadian assistance in the Americas. Canada is working with the Government of Haiti, Canadian partners and international counterparts to assist the most vulnerable and to rebuild Haiti.

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For more information:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Backgrounder

Minister Oda reiterates Canadian support for Haiti

Development efforts in Haiti underwent a setback in January 2010 when a powerful earthquake struck the capital of Port-au-Prince and neighbouring regions. Prior to the earthquake Haiti was the poorest country in the Americas. The magnitude of the 2010 earthquake was unprecedented. Moreover, 17 percent of civil servants perished and 40 percent of government buildings were destroyed during the earthquake, thus increasing the complexity of managing the country.

Canada's response in the months following the earthquake led the world on a per capita basis and provided $150.15 million in urgent humanitarian response. Canada committed another $400 million over two years for post-earthquake reconstruction and recovery. The Government of Canada also announced that Haiti is one of CIDA's target countries for improving maternal, newborn and child health under the G8 Muskoka Initiative because Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Americas.

To date, the Government of Canada disbursed two thirds of the $400-million post-earthquake commitment to Haiti. Furthermore, in response to the 2010 earthquake, individual Canadians generously donated a total of $220 million to Canadian registered charities. The Government of Canada committed to match their donations. To date, the government allocated 98 percent of this matching fund.

Canada's projects in Haiti include:

  • On-going humanitarian assistance to earthquake-affected Haitians
  • Strengthening Haitian institutional capacity to restore essential services to the population
  • Supporting short-term recovery and reconstruction projects
  • Supporting the operations of the multidonor Haiti Reconstruction Fund and the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission
  • Four maternal, newborn and child health initiatives to improve access to and the quality of primary health care, particularly of low-cost, high-impact programs targeting maternal and child health
  • Initiatives in the education sector to build schools, provide essential equipment and waive school tuition fees
  • Food security initiatives to support school feeding programs and agricultural assistance
  • Debt relief and additional resources to Haiti
  • Ongoing bilateral projects for children and youth, economic growth and food security

In 2010-2011, CIDA's programming focused on:

Children and youth

  • Providing improved and equitable access to basic education for girls and boys through contributions for the return to school, the distribution of school kits and the construction and rehabilitation of school infrastructure
  • Providing training, coaching and technical support to key stakeholders in the education system
  • Improving equitable community access to health, water and sanitation services
  • Upgrading the knowledge and skills of health professionals
  • Strengthening the capacity of Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population in terms of coordination, planning, and management

Food security

  • Distributing agricultural inputs and production systems to help improve food production , consumption, and marketing
  • Supporting the Haitian government in its efforts to improve the agricultural sector

Economic growth

  • Providing secured funding for families and micro-entrepreneurs to help improve their access to credit and financial services
  • Creating jobs through labour-intensive projects, such as road and school infrastructure and agricultural production
  • Implementing programs that improve access to technical and vocational training, leading to better employment opportunities and better pay

CIDA's programming in Haiti contributed to achieving the following results:

  • Emergency food aid to 4.3 million Haitians
  • Water and sanitation services to 1.3 million Haitians
  • Emergency and temporary housing for 370,000 families
  • A cash-for-work program which employed one million Haitians
  • Assistance to increase agricultural production and income for more than 80,000 families
  • Microcredit and financial services for 369,000 Haitians
  • Daily nutritious meals for 400,000 Haitian schoolchildren
  • Access to education for more than 40,000 Haitian schoolchildren
  • Medical care for 330,000 pregnant women and new mothers

CIDA also works to strengthen public institutions, participation in democracy and consolidation of security and stability in Haiti. Canada helped to conduct presidential and legislative elections to ensure the transition from one democratically elected president to another and the election of deputies and senators. Canada also helped ensure that more than a million Haitian women and men were able to exercise their right to vote.

While great needs remain, Canadian initiatives are making a difference in the lives of Haitians. Canada is working with the Government of Haiti, Canadian partners and international counterparts to assist the most vulnerable and to rebuild Haiti.

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