The partners commit to the following major activities:
1. Safety nets and transition to sustainable enterprise: Through a rigorous methodology based on a village-by-village approach, the partners will assess the economic situation of each household in the Central Plateau and offer services tailored to their financial status. Those who are too old, handicapped, or sick to engage in productive activity will receive social support services offered by Zanmi Lasante. Those who have no productive assets, are food insecure, and have school-age children who are not attending school will be enrolled in an 18-month program of carefully sequenced services, from small cash stipends and home repairs, to development of livelihood assets and household food production, to life skills education and savings services. Households with the short-term potential to emerge from extreme poverty will benefit from a six-month prepraratory program of small loans, counseling and accompaniment, and literacy training. Finally, those households that have a small enterprise or are already enrolled in microfinance will gain access to further solidarity loans and services.
2. Comprehensive health services: All households will have access to comprehensive health services offered through the Zanmi Lasante-strengthened network of 8 public sector hospitals and health centers, as well as its own full-service private hospital in Cange. These services include adult and pediatric care; women's health services, including family planning and maternal health; and the treatment and prevention of malnutrition.
3. Food security and agricultural training: The initiative will expand Zanmi Lasante's current programs that boost agricultural capacity and household food security in the Central Plateau through farmer training and employment, the provision of inputs and tools, and individualized agricultural assistance to the most destitute housholds.
4. Water and sanitation: Targeted households will benefit from the provision of water filters; entire villages in the Central Plateau will benefit from Zanmi Lasante's community-level water interventions such as spring caps.
5. Youth leadership development and training: 10,000 children whose families cannot afford the requisite fees and supplies will be given financial assistance to attend school; more primary schools will be supported with infrastructure improvements, teacher training, and a school lunch program; dozens of literacy centers targeting adults and adolescents will be strengthened. The initiative will also include several youth leadership development components such as agricultural or livestock enterprise training, training in business plan development, and access to scholarships for further education.
Haiti suffers from a combination of problems--the poorest health indicators in the Western Hemisphere, chronic hunger and malnutrition, poor infrastructure and a lack of clean water and sanitation, high rates of illiteracy and poor school attendance, and lack of economic development and opportunity. These problems, which are particularly acute in rural areas, contribute to poverty and disease that are perpetuated from one generation to the next.
To break these cycles of poverty and disease, this commitment brings together the complementary skills, expertise, and experience of the three partner organizations. With programs that reach more than 100 million people in Asia and Africa, BRAC is a global leader in advancing a holistic approach to poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor through health, education, and human rights and legal services, and has recently started to work in Haiti. Founded in 1995, Fonkoze is the largest and only truly national micro-finance institution in Haiti; it offers a full range of financial services to the rural-based poor that currently reach more than 225,000 savers and borrowers. Zanmi Lasante, the Haitian sister organization of the U.S.-based NGO Partners In Health, is one of the largest health care providers in Haiti, serving a catchment area of 1.2 million in Central Haiti and the lower Artibonite Department. Zanmi Lasante has been working for more than two decades in Haiti to increase access to a full range of high-quality health services and to lift entire communties out of poverty through a range of social support and community development programs.
While Fonkoze and Zanmi Lasante have been working together for many years, the recent arrival of BRAC in Haiti offers an opportunity to implement a truly comprehensive approach to eliminate extreme poverty in a targeted geographic area: the Central Plateau, with a population of 575,000. The commitment, described in more detail below, will include comprehensive health services, including treatment and prevention of malnutrition; agricultural training and assistance; access to safe drinking water; household-level support, including direct financial assistance and social support for the extreme poor; literacy training and life skills education; and microenterprise loans and other capital and financial services.