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Haiti: Keeping Focused on Fighting Hunger

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Tropical storm Emily just passed through Haiti, fortunately never developing into a hurricane. But it should serve as a reminder that Haiti is still very vulnerable to the shock of these storms. It’s important to build up Haiti’s resiliency so it can better withstand the risk of flooding that comes with these heavy rains.

 

 

The sky in Port-au-Prince on August 3rd, as Emily approaches Haiti. (WFP/Stephanie Tremblay)

 

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), as it seeks to help Haiti boost its food production, sponsors projects aimed at preventing damage to agriculture from flooding.

 


Jésula Coriolan is improving the banks of the Rouyonne river in Léogâne. (WFP/Stephanie Tremblay)
 

In addition, other WFP Food/Cash for Work projects are aimed at rubble removal, still very much a task even more than a year after the earthquake. There is still a long way to go in Haiti’s reconstruction. That is why the World Food Programme is urging support for its programs in Haiti. Malnutrition and poverty are still massive challenges for Haitians to overcome.

 

 

Marie Francillon with her 21-month old son Francisco Charmant in a Cite Soleil health center. She gets WFP fortified peanut paste to fight malnutrition. (WFP/ Stephanie Tremblay)

 

WFP’s Stephanie Tremblay reports that the agency is facing a funding shortage for its programs. Without this funding, programs to protect the poor and boost agriculture and other projects will be at risk. WFP’s biggest project, school feeding, will be in jeopardy without funding.

Tremblay says, “We need an additional $14 million to purchase food – that will cover the needs of our school meals and nutrition programs – It also includes a take-home ration that we give students at the beginning of the school year to help families cope with back-to-school costs.”

WFP currently is reaching 1.1 million students with school meals as it helps the government build a national program. There is a long way to go to provide school meals for all children in Haiti.

 

 

Currently, there are many children in Haiti not yet enrolled in school. A national school lunch program needs to be developed to reach all these children. The food is what encourages parents to send their children to school.

Principal Sister Bernadette says Haitian children would “simply be too weak to study if they weren’t able to eat something at school. It’s important for them to have a meal here, most of them come from very poor families.” Marie Anika, 8, speaks for all children worldwide when she says, “It would be terrible if we didn’t get a meal at school. I really wouldn’t like that.”

 


Marie Anika, 8, says she wants to work in a bank when she grows up, a goal the bowl of beans and rice in front of her is helping to make possible by giving her the energy and incentive to stay in school. Copyright: WFP/David Orr
 

WFP also needs $27 million to keep its cash/food for work projects, which are critical to the reconstruction, moving in the right direction.

The media spotlight may have moved on from Haiti, but the tremendous need is still very much present.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
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