Haiti recovery threatened by affected populations’ debts
Through its commitment to the most vulnerable populations in Port-au-Prince and Leogane, two of the most affected cities during the earthquake, ACTED conducted an assessment of the economic situation of Haitian households in 2010, exposing the level of debt of families in urban and rural communities. The study aims to provide the humanitarian community and development actors with a better understanding of the cycle of debt facing these households and potential avenues for breaking this vicious cycle.
Since the earthquake, 13 % more households are in debt. The costs associated with maintaining income-generating activity is the main financial constraint of households. The gain from income-generating activities is insufficient to ensure the sustainability of these activities. Households are therefore caught in a vicious cycle of debt. School fees represent the second significant financial constraint of households. 15 % of households surveyed noted that house repair/reconstruction is a major financial burden.
The burden of debt carried by many of the poorest households in Haiti is a barrier that prevents the economic development of the country. Rapid and significant actions must be taken to implicate the population of Haiti in the rebuilding of the country: technical support to the reconstruction sector and increased access to basic services in the poorest areas must be emphasized. In addition to the reinforcement of microfinance institutions and support to economic activities, notably in rural areas, household financial constraints have to be eased and social safety net enhanced.
ACTED’s axis of intervention, in Haiti as well as in any of its country of operation, lies in the link between emergency, supporting recovery and rehabilitation and the commitment towards sustainable development of affected and vulnerable populations. Micro-credit is thus an obvious and consistent extension of our humanitarian commitment; a powerful tool towards increased livelihoods. Today, next to its field activities in emergency and post-crisis contexts, ACTED is eager to contribute actively to the promotion of innovative and relevant poverty reduction solutions, including microfinance and social business initiatives, towards the overall humanitarian community as well as to our field partners and all of those committed to the Millennium Development Goals. Relying on its relief experience, ACTED is willing to engage further in advocacy campaigns to contribute to the definition of effective and sustainable aid approaches.