How Haitian Leaders Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis
This network of leaders is impressive, and they are continuing to mobilize during this time with food distribution, cleaning supplies, mask making, creating long-term sanitation and hygiene solutions, and educating the public.
We are just learning how COVID-19 is impacting communities in the global south. There have been problematic projections for nations like Haiti without access to as many hospitals or materials. However, there is another spin on this situation, and it lies within the context of Haitian leaders are doing what they’ve always done: take action in a time of challenge.
It’s hard to wash your hands when there is no water; it’s challenging to stay indoors when you have no running water and a lack of food supply. There are unique challenges that Haiti faces, and Haitian leaders are stepping up.
Konbit Haiti, an organization in Montrouis, Haiti, and works with community leaders in Haiti 365 days a year. In the months where COVID-19 was the worst in the States, the organization’s Haitian leadership took to mountain communities and local areas to educate on this ailment. Additionally, they helped explain the importance of handwashing and sanitation by building handwashing stations, and latrines with community members. They risked their own safety to go to places that are often the last to hear of anything in the mountains and shared the knowledge with them. As these leaders headed toward the mountains, others spread the news in their densely populated communities.
One leader, a children’s director, used her influence to share with over 200 kids and their families about the coming virus. As the virus caused a shutdown in Haiti, families are impacted by food distributions and assistance in Clorox and cleaning supplies, which helps keep these vulnerable families indoors and safe during this time. More community leaders are going into rural towns and mountainsides to distribute knowledge of tippy-taps, an innovative way to clean hands without running water.
In another city, St. Marc, leaders gather their volunteers to make an impact in this densely populated city. Community leader and Konbit Haiti’s Director of Operations and Director of Family Programs are helping the sewing program to produce masks. These seamstresses have long worked with the organization making up-cycled bags and napkins. Now, however, they focusing on making masks for the community. These are being given to those who need them most. While it can be daunting to read the news today, there is a myriad of ways that local leaders are impacting their world.
This network of leaders is impressive, and they are continuing to mobilize during this time with food distribution, cleaning supplies, mask making, creating long-term sanitation and hygiene solutions, and educating the public. Konbit Haiti is proud to stand with these leaders today and always.
To learn more, go to www.konbithaiti.org and to shop www.konbitcollective.org
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