Making gender equality a reality.

Two Weeks in Haiti for a Lifetime of Change

Now is the time to make a difference for Haiti's women and girls... 

It’s been three years since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, wiping out millions of homes and livelihoods. Many relief organizations have now begun to leave Haiti—resulting in a dearth of services that the country’s citizens can’t afford right now. Haitian organizations, especially those that are women led, are not receiving the funds that they need to create long-term solutions. 

With critical issues like gender-based violence and food security still very real, there is serious work to do.  Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and support Haitian women and children in their fight to eradicate violence and build communities that thrive politically, socially, and economically.

Women Thrive Worldwide is excited to launch our new work with Haitian women and grassroots leaders, the international development community, and the U.S. government to actualize this commitment. 

For two weeks in April, Women Thrive’s Jessica Leslie, Elise Young, and Lara Pukatch began this work by meeting the local and national leaders working hard to create positive change for Haiti’s women and girls. We've updated this page with real-time photos of where we were, quotes from the women and men we met, and so much more. 

 .... And we're off to Haiti! 

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Packed and ready to go, the Women Thrive team arrived in Port-au-Prince. In addition to a full schedule, we've got a camera and tons of paper and pens, and we've hired a driver for safety purposes. There will be a slew of high-level meetings while in Haiti, but we're most looking forward to traveling around Port-au-Prince and the countryside to hear what local communities have to say. 

» Heard in Haiti  “We want women to have more control over their lives and the
   decisions that affect them. We need to view women as both beneficiaries and
   agents of change, not just one or the other„ 


Jessica and Lara kick off the trip meeting with an organization established by and for rape survivors from the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince. 


Wednesday is both a meeting day and a travel day. We spent most of the day with an organization focused on helping Haitian girls who have experienced sexual violence access timely and holistic services. 

Afterwards, we were off to our next stop:  Jacmel, a town in sourthern Haiti. 


» Heard in Haiti  It's important that the Haitian government and the U.S. government
   consult with us about our needs before the design and implementation of projects. Not
   only do we deserve to be involved in the process, but without the perspective of the
   local community, the project just won't be effective„ 


Our first meeting outside Port-au-Prince was Thursday with a group that works to end child slavery and violence against women. 

» Haiti Fact Two-thirds of the more than 225,000 Haitian children engaged in
   the réstavek system (forced domestic labor) are girls, and they are often
   subjected to violence and denied an education   

» Heard in Haiti Local women's organizations working to prevent and end violence
   against women have lost staff since the earthquake, but the need for services is
   even greater since then—especially in rural areas


On Friday, we headed to a village outside of Jacmel to meet with the rural community's leaders. These kinds of conversations are critical for learning what communities feel are the most pressing issues and where they think the solutions are. This is what Women Thrive is all about—learning from women and men about what they need and where resources can best be used, and then taking their voices all the way to Washington. 


After a busy week, we were back to Jacmel... 


... And back to Port-au-Prince again for meetings with the Haitian government and more. 


Our second week in Haiti has been all about visiting NGOs based in the nation’s capital and members of the international development community and Haitian government. We also met with USAID at their Missions office at the U.S. Embassy.  High-level talks—here we come! 


On Friday, we attended a day-long conference in Port-au-Prince, and were excited to dig in, hear what others are saying, and share Women Thrive's priorities for U.S. policy that affects Haiti. 


We were really looking forward to a day in Mirabelais, a town in the central part of the country, to learn more about micro-financing efforts in Haiti. 


After a packed couple weeks, we flew to Washington and got back to the important work of raising the voices of Haitian women —and women all over the world—with decision makers in the U.S.'s capital.