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12/08/2011

Figuring out what "self-reliance" is

I have been assigned to this project in Haiti as a program officer. Before I came here, I comitted myself to the disaster relief effort and the reconstruction project in Ishinomaki, Miyagi pref after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

In Tohoku(Northeastern Japan), the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the region on March 11th in 2011. A year before, the natural disaster had also struck here in Haiti.
Haiti is known for the honarable history of the first black-led republic in the world. However, they have been struggling with poverty and civil wars even before the disaster hit the nation.
Right after I got here, I had to face the fact that Haiti heavily depends on the international aid. That made me try to figure out what "self-reliance" means. 

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We, JEN have been supporting them to found Water Control Committee by the residents as well as costructing the water supply facility and hygiene education.
The Water Control Committee should be run by the residents for the their own residents. The committee is to maintain the well to make sure it works properly everyday.
Also they collect maintenance fund from the residents monthly in case of a breakdown of the well.
What they are going to do with the committee might sound easy, but it is difficult for them. The reason is they are used to be supported by others that they need to learn how to work on their own, one by one from the scratch.

December 8, 2011 in Haiti |