For whom to walk ?

Protecting the environment to protect our rights

Haiti is a country affected by extreme poverty and vulnerability. Ranked 170 out of 189 on the Human Development Index, 70% of its population lives below the poverty line (40% in extreme poverty). The characteristics of the region (cyclones and earthquakes), combined with the acceleration of global warming, mean that natural disasters are becoming increasingly frequent and intense.
The country’s advanced deforestation greatly favours flooding and landslides, which are particularly deadly for areas located below the hills. These hazards affect Haiti, which has a very low resilience capacity, particularly due to the severe environmental degradation and political instability.

Vulnerable populations, especially children, are the first to be affected. In such a situation, many children, in part girls, are placed as domestic workers or asked to leave school to earn an income for their families. On a daily basis, the local partner organisations of TdH Suisse remain mobilised alongside the children and young people and their communities.

Terre des Hommes Suisse acts in favour of children's rights and supports schools in three areas:

1. Strengthen children's knowledge and skills to deal with climate risks

To ensure that children know how to react to the announcement of a climatic hazard and how to keep themselves safe, pupils, at school, have courses such as evacuation exercises, how to take shelter in the event of a fire in times of drought or during a mudslide due to heavy rains and floods, or in the event of the spread of water-borne diseases (80% of the population does not have access to drinking water).

2. Making children actors in addressing the challenges of environmental degradation

Each school has children’s clubs on children’s rights and on Risk and Disaster Management. In their clubs, children choose themes related to environmental protection, sustainable development and risk management. They run awareness-raising workshops for their schoolmates, neighbouring schools and their community. They also take concrete action by cleaning up the streets and water sources, cultivating vegetable gardens and developing agricultural techniques that they reproduce at home in order to limit food costs.

3. Training and supporting teachers for a contextualised and quality education

In collaboration with professionals of education and risk management, teachers have created textbooks on children’s rights and on themes related to the issues their students face in their daily lives. Recognised by the Ministry of Education, the aim is to train teachers in active teaching approaches and to integrate these themes into the school curriculum.

Haiti in figures

Capital: Port-au-Prince
Surface: 27,065 km²
Population: 11,592,279
Rural population: 44% (84% in 1960)
Official languages: Haitian Creole, French
Main religions: Christianity (55%), Protestantism (28%), Voodoo (90%)
Currency: Haitian gourde
Unemployment rate: 30% (in the formal sector – 70% of the economy is informal)
Poverty rate: 70% (extreme poverty: 40%)
Net primary school attendance rate: 80% (68% for children from disadvantaged backgrounds vs. 92% for the wealthiest families)
Literacy rate: 15 years and over = 60%
Child labour: 26% (nearly 1 million, the majority of whom are children in domestic service and street children)
Infant mortality: 48
HDI (2020): 170/189

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