Heifer joining meeting to discuss Haiti redevelopment—‘from the ground up’

Heifer International staff—Corbin Lyday, international manager of government relations, and Oscar Castaneda, vice president of Heifer’s Americas program—will participate in strategic discussions on the role that non-profit, non-governmental humanitarian and development organizations will play in Haiti’s reconstruction.

The meeting, Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., is hosted by InterAction, a coalition of more than 150 humanitarian organizations providing disaster relief, refugee assistance and sustainable development programs worldwide.

Raj Shah, the new USAID administrator, will open the summit, which will bring together NGOs already working in Haiti and officials from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Development Program, USAID, the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank and Haiti’s government, among others, to share lessons learned about moving from disaster to reconstruction.

Government and NGO participants are charged with developing priorities for various sectors that integrate gender, strengthen civil society and create partnerships with Haiti’s government to avoid duplication and strengthen coordination.

Along with 43 other NGOs, such as CARE, Mercy Corps, Habitat for Humanity International, Save the Children, Oxfam America and others, Heifer International has been part of an informal InterAction Haiti Working Group, whose outline for recovery—“From the Ground Up: Recommendation on Recovery and Reconstruction in Haiti”—is being shared during the meeting.

Notes, including recommendations and questions, will be captured and shared with participants to foster a dialogue between the NGO community and other key actors of Haiti’s reconstruction. Recommendations will also be used to inform consultations leading up to a March 31 donor meeting at the United Nations in New York.

The recovery plan that emerges from these meetings, as these NGOs have stated, must focus on “Building Back Better,” and be grounded in the Haitian people’s resilience and their own vision for a better future, as evidenced by their participation in its development and implementation.