Author:Emmanuel Lacroix. Plan Haiti
This document from Plan International presents key findings from a consultation process initiated by Plan, in partnership with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), with close to 1,000 children and youth throughout Haiti, to hear their ideas related to priorities for the country’s reconstruction after the January 12 2010 earthquake. This process was timed to feed information to the government of Haiti's Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), which was requested from the international community.
Because they are among the most vulnerable groups affected by disaster and had already mobilised to take on strong leadership roles to support their communities, children and youth were interviewed by local facilitators experienced in working with them. The interviews were conducted in 54 focus group consultations in 9 departments of Haiti. The report provides the context that 2 months after the quake, the population was, for the most part, in provisional camps or on the street, enduring possible rain, landslides, diarrhoeal and vector-transmitted disease - including dengue and malaria, and, in some cases, living with physical disability, as well as the associated psychosocial impact.
According to the testimony of those interviewed, priorities include education, protection, and inclusion and gender equality:
- "The highest priority must be given to children´s and youth’s right to education through the development of a free, inclusive and high quality education system, that guarantees opportunities for learning and development from early childhood through primary school age,
adolescence and beyond (including technical/vocational training and university) where the State has the capacity to perform its normative and regulatory role for all education providers....Disaster risk reduction must become an integral part of education curricula and all
children and youth must be guaranteed a safe learning environment with building codes to be enforced in education system construction and ordinances to stipulate that disaster risk reduction is part of the governance plans of learning institutions. Furthermore, accessibility
for children with disability must be included in construction plans for educational facilities. School construction should provide an opportunity for 'green development' exploring opportunities for utilising solar energy and promoting school gardens and tree planting."
- "Prevention systems and policies to protect children from violence must also be given priority attention as well as the provision of quality psychosocial services for children affected by violence. Recognizing the particular risks and vulnerabilities to sexual violence facing girls and women post disaster, gender mainstreaming needs to be considered during all relevant planning and implementation processes." This includes: training of national police in child friendly approaches; creation of alternative court mechanisms for children; establishment of
correctional facilities for youth; creation of rehabilitation programmes for children; and creation of protections from hazardous forms of child labour.
- "In all reconstruction planning and implementation, priority must be given to Haiti’s most vulnerable children and youth and to those who have traditionally been excluded (working children, children in conditions of extreme poverty, street children, children with
disability)." Gender inclusion is cited as fundamental.
The document concludes with an annex of recommendations for the PDNA, including the following: include children and youth consultation and participation in planning and reconstruction; work with the
Dominican Republic on cross-border child protection and economic
security; advocate for social protection mechanisms and restructuring
education and health systems; and contribute to policy elaboration on
child rights and new legal frameworks, as well as a pro-child agenda for
Click here to access a video of Plan's report 6 months after the earthquake.
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