Saturday, January 30, 2010

Advocacy Actions for Haiti

Many people are that we have donated money for Haiti, what more can we do? My answer...advocate for Haiti.

The most direct advocacy help at this time is to focus on debt relief for Haiti. I'm not an expert in debt relief, but I'll take a crack at it and if you see something I say isn't right, please correct me in the comment section. The basic concept of debt relief is this: When a country is so impoverished that it can’t help its people get the basic human needs, if it carries debt on the order of $100M or more, there’s very little hope of recovering that debt. If it is pressured to pay it back, there is very little hope of the people or the country being able to work themselves out of poverty if they have no food, water, health care, education, etc. Haiti is exactly in this situation with $165M debt.

An aspect of this specific to Haiti is the form of emergency aid that Haiti is getting. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) approved a $102M loan for Haiti…not a grant as advocates pushed for. The IMF argues that the loans are much faster to approve than grants and notes that the loans are interest-free.

Many advocacy groups are working to get this debt cancelled especially in light of the earthquake damage. Some good news is that the US (as I understand it) already forgave Haiti it's debt before the earthquake. I think I heard Venezuela is doing the same now.

Here's a summary what has been done by advocacy groups in the US recently:
The ONE campaign sent out an emergency petition via email and delivered more than 150,000 signatures to the IMF to drop Haiti's debt. Several orgs are urging Tim Geithner, Sec of Treasury, to use his influence on the IMF. The orgs were successful in convincing a Rep Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to circulate a letter around the House of Representatives to go to Geithner saying the same thing.

Here's what you can do. Follow this link and call your Representative and urge them to sign onto the letter to Geithner. The deadline is THE END OF THE BUSINESS DAY IN DC ON MONDAY.

If you're still asking "What else?" I encourage you to take action to support a Global Fund for Education here . You can write to your reps and senators about this, too, using the language from the link. You can also tell your reps and senators to help any efforts to provide our fair share of funding to the Global Fund for Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. It is precisely because Haiti was so impoverished before the quake that it's situation is so dire now. By supporting the creation of an education fund and supporting the health fund in place, other places like Haiti can stand a chance of lifting themselves out of extreme poverty before a tsunami, war, earthquake or other disaster strikes.

1 comment:

CCYL said...

Correction: Haiti owed $165 Million to the International Monetary Fund alone before the earthquake. It owed much, much more to other institutions including $447 to the Inter-American Development Bank. -ccyl