WDN members believe that more women in power and leadership roles in Haiti is critical to a successful recovery from the devastation of the earthquake.
As of September 2011, our circle has raised almost $60,000 in support of Femmes en Democratie, which designed a host of non-partisan campaign materials that could be used to educate voters about the issues facing women and children who have been the targets of gender-based violence. In the 2011 election, six women who used this messaging were elected, a very slight increase from the number of women in the last Haitian Parliament.
We are also encouraged by a new Constitutional mandate that women make up at least 30% of government positions in Haiti, including the cabinet.
In partnership with the UN Foundation, WDN organized a day-long program in 2010 called “Haitian Women and Girls: Creating Safe Spaces, Confronting National Recovery, and Building a New Future of Equality,” to imagine ways in which the world and local communities can help ensure women’s full participation during the rebuilding process. Following this moving program, members formed the Haiti Action Circle to identify projects to address the opportunities that exist post-earthquake to create structural change and a more equitable life for Haitian women.
On a trip to Haiti in March 2011, WDN members heard that our support made a tremendous amount of difference to many of the women who were running for office. As a follow-up, the Haiti Action Circle is now looking to raise funds to support several projects, including further work in the policy arena as well as supporting the work of We Advance, which is serving as a coordinator for all the small women’s groups on the ground that are doing much of the work but not getting access to the resources, including USAID funding.
The Haiti Action Circle is focused on addressing women’s exclusion from decision-making and formal governance processes in Haiti, and invests in organizations that address legal barriers and cultural discrimination in areas such as land rights, systematic violence against women and girls, and women’s lack of access to economic opportunities. We also conduct regular educational activities for our members on the challenges facing Haitians and effective strategies to bring women and children to the forefront of post-disaster reconstruction efforts.