Deputy Executive Director Fatoumata Ndiaye visits Haiti

Fatoumata Ndiaye visits the primary school of Fonds Michel in the Mirebalais district of Haiti. The school’s Hygiene club was in session.

From 15 to 17 November, Ms. Fatoumata Ndiaye, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, made a brief visit to Haiti. The objective was to visit UNICEF’s various projects, meet Haitian State officials, sister UN agencies, UNICEF partners, but also and especially beneficiaries including children.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 14 December 2018 –  During her mission in Haiti, Ms. Fatoumata Ndiaye paid a courtesy visit to Haitian Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant. There were several issues on the agenda, including the partnership agreement between UNICEF and the Haitian government, the adoption of the child protection. She was accompanied by the UNICEF Representative in Haiti, Ms. Maria Luisa Fornara.

“I am very happy to have met the head of the Haitian government. The discussions focused on how to improve cooperation between the two entities. We talked about legislation to strengthen the protection of children in Haiti, so that all children can benefit from social services without distinction and without any discrimination. This is our plea,” she explained.

The three officials also discussed the situation of children in times of emergency. Ms. Ndiaye renewed UNICEF’s commitment to emergency preparedness, particularly in areas of UNICEF’s mandate such as child protection, education, nutrition, water and sanitation.

Field visits to better understand the reality

The Deputy Executive Director also made several visits outside the capital to better understand the work of UNICEF Haiti, through the beneficiaries and some partners. She visited a health center in the heights of Kenscoff, where the cold chain is conserved through solar energy.

At L’Escale, which is a transit center for children in domestic service, she had rather constructive discussions with the children who live at the center, as well as the instructors. UNICEF supports some of the household’s activities for children.

Foyer l’Escale provides temporary residential care, food, clothing, education, psychosocial support and health care, as needed, to all children transiting through the centre. Children spend an average of three months at home while waiting for reunification with their families.

A focus on water, hygiene and sanitation

On Friday, 16 November, the delegation went to the Center department for a visit to the “water and sanitation” and cholera control projects. Ms. Ndiaye visited an acute diarrhea treatment center (CTDA) to see the important progress that had been made. From July to October 2018, a total of 139 people was admitted to the CTDA of Mirebalais, which serves all the communes of the Lower Plateau as well as some municipalities of the neighboring departments. She also followed a rapid response team’s community work in the locality of Gimbale (Center). She witnessed this community approach methodology against cholera in action, which was a decisive factor in the decline in the number of people affected.

At the national school of Fonds-Michel, the students gave a warm welcome to the UNICEF delegation. In this establishment, UNICEF through its partner Zanmi Lasante (partner in Health) built a new toilet block consisting of eight cabins for girls, six cabins and four urinals for boys and two for teachers. A health club has been set up and students are actively involved in building hygiene awareness. They explained to Ms. Ndiaye the importance of this club in making a positive impact on their behaviors.

In the remote community of Baudwi, the Deputy Executive Director met with members of the community. They touted the benefits of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). The project encourages people to build their own latrine. The main goal is to fight open defecation. “Since we have CLTS, cholera rates have dropped,” one of the residents said.

Ms. Ndiaye emphasized the importance of this field visit: “Seeing what we do to help people who contract cholera – the children, the families and those with whom we work – is fundamental. All our interventions are done closely with our partners – local, international, government and the community. Seeing how seriously we work with others to deliver has been the dominant theme of the day,” she said.

This post is also available in: French