A demonstration project implemented by the Haitian government in Gonaives (from March 2006 to June 2007), financed by UNDP and WFP, and for which technical assistance was exceptionally provided and financed by the ILO, showed that contractual arrangements with local community organizations were relevant for environmental protection and further deterioration of eroded catchments.

This EIIP approach shows a good example of strengthening local technical capacity, organization, negotiation and management of local organizations. The project thus contributed to set up a model combining at the same time the concern of employment creation and income generation for local population, and environmental protection and prevention of natural disasters. This model can now be easily reproduced at broad scale or in other areas supported by the government or other development partners.

In addition, these types of employment-intensive investments, not only facilitate the transition from the emergency phase to the development phase, but also respond to the government strategy related to local infrastructure reconstruction and reinforcement of capacities for actors from the public and private sectors and local communities.

With a large scale program, it is possible to create more sustainable jobs and to reach social organizations responsible for maintaining investments made in soil and water conservation as part of environmental protection. A second important phase, for two years, is now financed by the Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery of the UNDP and WFP from July 2007, executed by the Haitian Government with the ILO technical support.

Following the tropical storm in the northeast region of Haiti in 2004, ILO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Food Programme (WFP) have been working closely with the Government of Haiti within the framework of a job creation programme in Gonaives. This programme focuses on the prevention of natural disasters through employment-intensive approaches, executing projects to maximize income for the local population. After a successful initial phase funded by ILO and UNDP, a second project was launched in June 2007, focusing some of its work on environmental conservation and disaster risk mitigation. The second phase is financed by UNDP and WFP and executed by the Haitian Government with technical support from EIIP.

Project strategy

The objective is to scale up labour-intensive technologies, to increase opportunities for mass creation of productive jobs through the reconstruction / rehabilitation and maintenance of needed local infrastructure.

The Main Project Activities are two: provide training to different groups and local operators and build and maintain rural, environmental and urban infrastructure works.

The ongoing project will be extended in a capacity building programme using local resource based techniques and supporting all key actors for different sectors (public and private sector including local organisations…) will be set up. The current project will focus on basic services and productive infrastructure, food security and environmental sustainability. Diversifying job opportunities will be necessary and important to give dignity and structure to the lives of young people.

The infrastructure needed for jobs will depends upon what sectors are judged to have economic potential. The export zones for garments and the export of mangoes have substantial infrastructure needs for a better road network in mango-growing areas. The market opportunity for Haitian mangoes is huge; the requisite infrastructure is likely to have a high economic return. Links will be established with other ILO programme (Better Work) directly involved in introducing decent working conditions in the export zones.

The infrastructure needs for food security will link all areas of substantial population density better to each other so that the food market is properly integrated. Better feeder roads will be provided in the agricultural areas which have the potential for high productivity so that they can supply the urban market.

Haiti Success Story

In the last two years, UNDP, ILO and the WFP have joined forces to assist the Haitian Government in the implementation of a programme to prevent natural disasters by environmental protection and employment creation in the Gonaives Region.

Different soil and water conservation techniques were applied promoting at the same time a participatory and contractual approach. As such, more than 500 ha of slopes were protected on one of the watersheds located near Gonaives by a network of ditches, small dam & weir construction and planting of trees creating 360,000 workdays.

The above watershed management measures that have been demonstrated withstood recent hurricanes. In fact, four hurricanes (Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike) within a span of a month have struck Haiti leaving as many as 600,000 people in need of help because of the storms, which have killed more than 200 people. Unfortunately Gonaives was again the most affected town.

To have a significant and lasting effect on the living and working conditions in Gonaives region, current practices on watershed management should be scaled-up significantly together with drainage works in Gonaives city. The EIIP through its partnerships with the Government and others, are now seeking funding for such large scale application of the successful initial works.