UN Shifts Haiti Focus to Job Creation

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 9, 2012

A Haitian supervisor for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s “Cash for Work” initiative, who relies heavily on her job to feed an extended family, is seen performing her duties. (UN Photo/Sophia Paris)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The allocation of funds for Haiti’s recovery from the earthquake has shifted to reconstruction, according to Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme.

“It has been a major challenge since that we know that Haiti still needs a combination of humanitarian support,” she said this weekend. “But slowly, the emphasis and allocation of resources is shifting towards recovery and reconstruction.”

Grynspan said the UN had helped add 300,000 temporary jobs since the earthquake, from helping people carry out debris removal and garbage collection to enhancing disaster risk reduction.

Approximately 40 percent of those jobs have gone to women, she said.

“This has given 60,000 families possibilities to rebuild their livelihoods, have access to specialized training and cash,” she said. “This is the largest job creation programme we have in the world … 90 percent of the labour force employed in the execution of UNDP projects is Haitian.”

The move from relief to recovery and reconstruction was something mentioned by the Inter-American Development Bank’s Haiti Country Manager, Jose Agustin Aguerre, in an interview with the Caribbean Journal last month.

Grynspan said the UN was now supporting small businesses, community-based organizations and labour force training.

“Let us remember that one of the major challenges that we face in Haiti is the long-term high rate of unemployment that has been a deeper long-standing crisis,” she said, noting that an estimated 60 percent of Haiti’s labour force was unemployed.

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