haiti: strengthening haitians’ capacity to deal with climate change
This project, begun in September 2007, continues a process launched two years ago by the climate change campaign of FoE Haiti. It aims to raise awareness among the general public about climate change, and to mitigate its effects through community actions.
what happened: To reach their objectives, FoE Haiti first sought to strengthen their overall administrative capacity. They set up an accounting system, hired a professional to train their accounting and administrative staff, and bought a computer and installed all the necessary software.
Then, to help build community capacity on climate change, they carried out seven (two more than originally planned) training and capacity strengthening workshops. They were held in the arrondissements of Gris Gris, Ferrier, Jean Rabel, Latortue and Thiotte, which are widely spread across the country. These workshops were well attended by the affected communities, including many women.
For the workshops, they made use of a training guide, and distributed brochures they had prepared about natural disasters and climate change in Haiti. In addition, communities were advised about how to react in the event of a disaster.
In Thiotte, FoE Haiti organized three radio programs to further their goals of awareness raising on local climate change impacts, and to introduce the results of a survey. The radio programs also informed Haitians about the 2007 climate change negotiations in Bali, in order to generate more pressure on authorities.
In the lead-up to FoE Haiti’s testimony at the Bali 2007 Conference of the Parties, they made additional radio presentations. This included one on Radio Tropical in New York, to inform the US Haitian community about climate change in Haiti, about the group’s Bali work, and to encourage them to change their attitude about energy consumption.
During January 2008, FoE Haiti worked with Friends of the Earth Mauritius to organize two workshops/debates on climate change on Mauritius and Rodrigues islands. They also took this opportunity to talk about actions carried out in Haiti in terms of adaptation.
Finally, based on their work with the Gris Gris community, FoE Haiti developed a project which they presented to the Friends of the Earth International ExCom. It essentially seeks to develop a pilot project for other dry regions, to improve the living conditions of people affected by climate change.
what is changing: With regard to FoE Haiti’s first set of objectives, their office is now better prepared to ensure activities are followed up, and more able to implement the climate change campaign at the network level.
Regarding the goals on awareness raising, a project evaluation carried out by FoE Haiti in March 2008 confirmed the project went according to plan. The local communities they worked with showed that they now know the importance of climate change. FoE Haiti are committed to ensuring this work is followed up, and intend to share the information they received during the training sessions
what we learned: The project helped affected communities become more conscious about climate change, and more willing to take actions to help them adapt to its impacts. The experience FoE Haiti acquired at the national level will also contribute to developing interventions in other countries with a similar climate.
what next: In coming months FoE Haiti will start a specific adaptation project, while continuing to raise awareness and carry out training programmes. They also expect to introduce an artistic side into our campaign — with the help of an artist who will make a number of paintings to illustrate the problem.
with thanks to our funders: the sigrid rausing trust