At the end of its first week, All Hands Volunteers is happy to announce that our much anticipated Cash for Work (CFW) program is off and running without a hitch. In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Emergency Response Relief Fund for Haiti (ERRF), we’ve received funding and organized work, providing the local community with temporary employment. This program provides an economic benefit to residents in and around the community of Leogane, Haiti, with a focus on the removal of rubble from residential sites in the local neighborhoods of Chatuley and Haut Minton.
One of the most distinguishing factors, when compared with other CFW programs, is that we’re one of the only organizations using CFW as a means to remove rubble from residential sites; typical CFW initiatives focus on public works projects – clearing drainage canals, street cleaning, etc. – and it’s exciting to provide a means for temporary employment while making a tangible difference in these communities. The goal of the program however, reaches beyond removing rubble and providing an economic benefit: it’s also an chance to clear the visual reminder of the January 12th earthquake, enabling families to move out of the tent camps which have become more than the intended stop-gap shelter measure, and giving them options and instilling hope that things can and will get better.
Over the course of the three-month program we plan on providing temporary employment to a total of 507 people (or beneficiaries). To ensure that our workforce isn’t all males aged 21-30, we’ve sought to include vulnerable populations during the beneficiary identification process. Due to our diligence, the beneficiary population for the first month of the program is 40% women; overall, 60% of the workers in our program fall into the vulnerable population category.
In conjunction with our human powered rubble teams, we’ve rented a backhoe and several dump trucks to provide additional rubble removal capacity, keeping the streets clear. The backhoe will work to clear rubble, and also serves as a useful demolition tool, bringing unsafe structures down to a safe level for our rubble removal teams to clear. This combination of heavy equipment and manual labor is an effective combination: in the first week of the program our 13 rubble teams have cleared 6 sites, and the backhoe has demolished one home.
This program represents a tremendous partnership between UNDP and All Hands, and we’re optimistic that as we progress we’ll continue to build momentum, scaling up the speed and effectiveness of residential rubble removal in and around Leogane.