The devastating earthquake in Haiti had many people and organizations wondering, “What can we do to help?” Immediately AIDS Action Committee began encouraging our donors and networks to contribute to relief organizations with direct access to Haiti and a history of effectiveness in crisis response — especially Partners in Health , a Boston-based organization with a strong track record fighting HIV/AIDS in Haiti.
AIDS Action Committee’s senior staff reinstated a personnel policy from the days of Hurricane Katrina, allowing agency staff to donate their time to relief efforts. On February 4th, AIDS Action’s Associate Director of Client Services, Leela Strong, arrived in Haiti to do just that.
Working with Farm Haiti , an NGO whose mission is to put tools for success in the hands of small land farmers, Leela spent nearly three weeks assisting local farmers. Food insecurity has been a growing concern in Haiti over the last several decades, as outlined in this New York Times article about the Farm Haiti organization.
Those of us who work in public health and disease prevention know that a lack of resources in one area of a person’s life can lead to poor outcomes in another. Farm Haiti and other organizations working to meet Haitians’ basic needs are also contributing to an overall climate of stability in the country, in the best case scenario having a direct impact on their health not just in the immediate but over the course of their lives.