New Funding Allows Continued Provision of Employment Opportunities for Vulnerable in Haiti

News and Press Release
Originally published

New funding of US$820,000 will allow IOM Haiti to continue to assist persons affected or infected by HIV/AIDS through to the end of 2011.

The funding provided by the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR will provide vulnerable members of the Haitian population with employment opportunities.

The workforce employed for PEPFAR-funded projects includes a minimum of 65 per cent of workers either affected or infected by HIV/AIDS. IOM offices throughout the country work with their health counterparts to provide frequent informal HIV/AIDS workshops (at least every two weeks) to raise awareness, educate people about the risks and reality of transmission and challenge people's misconceptions of HIV/AIDS. The workshops serve as a forum to discuss other health related topics as well.

While contributing to durable development in their communities, workers also earn a small salary. The short-term jobs are an important source of income for families struggling to meet nutritional needs, care for orphans and vulnerable children, and those living with HIV/AIDS. A total of 1,858 jobs were created through PEPFAR funding generating 16,782 person days of employment since the January 2010 earthquake.

Participants in community building activities often develop professional skills and experience in masonry, carpentry, agriculture, and environmental protection that can be applied in future work. Field interviews have revealed that workers often set aside a portion of their wages to invest in small businesses, agricultural plots and education - investments that have long-term ramifications.

PEPFAR projects, and the HIV/AIDS workshops that accompany them, are effective catalysts in eroding the stigma that surrounds the virus. HIV positive members of society that have traditionally been stigmatized now find themselves at the forefront of development and growth through these projects.

PEPFAR-funded projects are carried out under the Programme de Revitalisation et de Promotion de l'Entente et de la Paix (PREPEP).

PREPEP works with community-based groups in marginalized, conflict-prone areas to identify small scale, high-impact projects designed to engage a wide cross-section of the community in its own stabilization and improvement. Projects include schools and health clinics; wells and latrines; irrigation and drainage canals; roads and bridges; family garden plots; soil conservation structures: tree planting, stone walls and gulley plugs; and other public infrastructure

IOM PREPEP works with Family Health International, Catholic Relief Services, Partners in Health and Fondation Ester Beaucicault Stalinasse in the three target areas of Les Cayes, Saint Marc and Cap Haitien. Ongoing work has strengthened these existing partnerships and developed new partnerships with local health associations, such as ASSON (National Association for Solidarity) and APVIH (Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS) in Les Cayes, and FOSREF (Fondation pour la santé reproductrice et l'éducation familiale) in Saint Marc.

Work will continue to develop the capacity of these local and international health groups to educate and support at-risk populations and combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. IOM has met with World Concern to expand PEPFAR programming to Petit-Goâve later this year.

To date PEPFAR has provided PREPEP with a total of US $4.2 million. Additional funding will expand the reach and deepen the impact of existing projects - employing more at-risk Haitians, meeting additional needs for infrastructure, creating more long term economic opportunities and promoting stronger community cohesion with government support.

For more information on PEPFAR and PREPEP in Haiti please contact: Hans Goertz, Tel: + 509-3701-7828, Email: hgoertz@iom.int or Leonard Doyle, ldoyle@iom.int, Tel: +509 3702 5066.