Employment-Intensive Investment in Haiti

Web page | 08 February 2017

Current EIIP Involvement

Following the tropical storm Hurricane Matthew that swept through the whole Caribbean region on 4 October 2016, where early estimates confirmed that nearly 2.1 million people were affected and 473 people killed over seven departments, the ILO, jointly with the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) were at the forefront conducting an assessment of damages from Port Salut to Port à Piment as early as the 7th October. In collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and with several local organizations, the Employment Intensive Investment Prograrmme (EIIP)’s initial contribution was to launch an emergency employment scheme supporting the short-term needs to clear the affected areas in the aftermath of the floods, offering immediate livelihoods to those most affected, particularly women and youth. The ILO’s programme has set out a step-by-step approach aiming to respond to the immediate livelihood needs with an integrated vision of supporting the design of a national public employment programme, eventually contributing to long-term job creation and income security by providing basic services and productive infrastructure, food security and environmental sustainability through an employment intensive investment approach. In line with the ILO Haiti 2015-2020 Decent Work Programme, the components consist of complementary activities which combined together offer a pathway to re-establish livelihoods and regain self-reliance with particular attention to youth contributing to rural development, in addition to good local governance.

Historical Information

Following the tropical storm in the northeast region of Haiti in 2004, the ILO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP) worked closely with the Government of Haiti within the framework of a job creation programme in Gonaives. This programme focused on building resilience and building back better from natural disasters through employment-intensive approaches and executing projects to maximize income for the local population. The project demonstrated that contractual arrangements with local community organizations were relevant for environmental protection and further deterioration of eroded catchments could be maintained through local-level schemes.

After a successful initial phase, for which technical assistance was provided and financed by the ILO, a second project was launched in June 2007, focusing its work on environmental conservation and disaster risk reduction through watershed management. The second phase was financed by the UNDP and the WFP and executed by the Haitian Government, with technical support from the EIIP.

The project extended its capacity building programme using local resource based techniques, supporting all key actors from different sectors (both public and private, including local organisations). Different soil and water conservation techniques were applied to promote participatory and contractual approaches. Many employment-intensive activities were undertaken, including gully erosion control measures (construction of masonry check weirs), river training, water retention and slope protection. Some of the impacts were:
  • Increased resilience against the negative effects of future hurricanes;
  • Improved social stability through employment and income creation through 2,146,000 work days. This is equivalent to an average of 7,150 people employed for 75 days over a 4 year period;
  • Improved nutrition (2 food ration supplements per work day provided by the WFP) benefiting 35,750 people (beneficiaries are receiving about 40% in food and 60% in cash);
  • Decreased vulnerability through soil and water conservation activities and infrastructure works (private properties and agricultural land);
  • Protected more than 500 hectares of slopes on one of the watersheds located near Gonaives by a network of ditches, small dams and weir constructions and newly-planted trees;
  • Created permanent jobs (220 persons managing and working in tree nurseries); and
  • Supported the development of 11 federations of about 1000 people each and built their capacity to negotiate contracts and to implement such works.
This employment intensive investment approach provides a good example of strengthening local technical capacity, organization, negotiation and management of local organizations as part of a just transition in climate change adaptation. The project at the same time addresses the combined concern of employment creation and income generation for the most vulnerable, rehabilitation of the natural environment and providing resilience for future natural disasters.