A Haiti Fit For Children
By: Jo-ann Garnier-Lafontant
Jo-ann Garnier-Lafontant is the country director for Plan Haiti. Jo-ann spoke at the Post Disaster Needs Assessment "A Haiti Fit for Children" event that took place on March 31 at UNICEF.
In her speech below, Jo-ann addresses the need to not just consult with children about their hopes for the future, but also to address how exactly they can be included in the process of rebuilding a better Haiti. She was joined on stage by representatives from UNICEF, World Vision, SOS Villages, Oxfam and Save the Children. The discussion was moderated by Matthew Price, a reporter from the BBC.
We are Haiti’s present, we will be Haiti’s future
"We want a beautiful Haiti, where the state cares for the well-being of young people and everyone must know that in the new Haiti, there should be no exclusion...We need the strength of the whole nation to make the new Haiti possible..."
Those were the words of a young girl during the PDNA process lead by Plan International in Haiti in February in partnership with UNICEF and other civil society organizations. The consultation process engaged about a 1000 children and youth from all over the country aged 5 to 24 years.
Today it is time for children and youth to be actively involved in making their present and in building their future. Within the disaster, the people of Haiti see a huge opportunity to rebuild back better this country taking into account the rights of every single citizen. No one should be left aside in the process.
Out of this consultation, four major things came out: education, participation, protection and disaster and risk reduction.
- They want free quality education from preschool to university not only for those who have been enrolled in school before the earthquake but for all children;
- Beyond the reconstruction of the country’s infrastructures, they call on the Haitian State to ensure the protection of children and youth from all forms of violence and to prevent the exclusion and discrimination of marginalized groups;
- Haitian children and youth are also hoping that decision makers at all levels will be more responsible in the future and will better prepare them and the entire country in reducing the risks linked to disaster.
- Children and youth want to participate and contribute actively in formulating the vision for their country, actively participate in the reconstruction process that will lead to the Haiti they all dream about... the Haiti fit for all its children.
"Haiti cannot be rebuilt without the participation of children and youth, we are Haiti’s present, we will be Haiti’s future.” This is their message to the decision makers including the donors, the government and civil society.
Watch the video of Jo-ann's speech at "A Haiti Fit For Children"
Learn more about children's voices in the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) for Haiti