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Apr-06-2010 12:40printcomments

Haiti's Socioeconomic Makeover

Global intervention is not necessary; However, Global sustainable involvement and empowerment are essential.

A Port-au-Prince man is in the process of shoveling, transporting and dumping the debris
A Port-au-Prince man is in the process of shoveling, transporting and dumping the debris of what was once his home into the street of the city's Turgeau neighbourhood. UN Photo/Sophia Paris

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Let’s first preface and pose a question; when we consider the path of least resistance what seems easier to pursue AID, OR SOCIOECONOMIC REDEVELOPMENT? This seems to be the standard across the world when it comes to confronting such large undertakings. In many instances, the global society is so consumed by the need for simplicity that we forget about the difficulties that are faced everyday in places like Haiti.

Haiti’s population did not choose to be economically and socially deprived; in fact in their quest to have a better life countless lifes have been lost on their journey. This is because the country started out in a very chaotic position and never properly developed a social and economic equilibrium, which has deprived Haiti of a successful emersion into a stable community.

There is no better time than the present to enable this opportunity to build Haiti back into a functioning, self-sustaining and thriving country. There are many areas in social and economic development that can be defined or redefined for the Haitians, by the Haitians, to achieve this socioeconomic makeover. Our job as a global society is to encourage and collaborate with the Haitians to design an adequate strategy to reach a suitable social and economic reliability.

3 Steps to Socioeconomic Symmetry-Women, Education & Water

Empowering Haitian Women---Throughout the world there is a major push by global leaders to promote the importance of women in socioeconomic development. It is not just about the ability to nurture or there realization directive that everyone is important, it is about the balance that women can bring to sustaining equality and positive change.

With so much disarray in Haiti women that are empowered to lead at the community level can begin to provide some direction and develop strategies during the overall development process. What this enables, is creating a peaceful, non-confrontational setting that can minimize the chaos amongst the Haitian people. Studies show that where there are women empowered societies there is existence of “social and economic policies (that) give more support to traits and activities such as caregiving, nonviolence, empathy”.[1]

Education---The compounding of tradition of illiteracy, governmental priority and the lack of social & economic stability has made education unavailable. Poorer nations such as Haiti have been consumed by inadequate infrastructures that have disabled the ability to educate subsequent generations; as a result, illiteracy continues to plague their country.

The long-term impact of illiteracy as seen in Haiti is continually tearing down the very fabric of livelihood, moral decision making and economic stability of it people. This does not need to be the case; poor countries around the world are placing higher regard as to the impact of illiteracy on the socioeconomic stability of a country, and succeeding.

For example at the Ethembeni Enrichment Centre, a school in a run-down part of Port Elizabeth, the largest city in Eastern Cape, South Africa's poorest province, has achieved a remarkable 100% pass rate for a dozen years[2].

There is a great need to enable the Haitian people to become educated as there is a strong desire and motivation to become literate. However, historically and presently there is lack of available programs that can provide a solid educational infrastructure. The government, in collaboration with the global community must place strong demand on creating a solid strategy for future education in Haiti during the rebuilding process.

Water---An essential element of survival, but yet so scarce in developing countries; maybe its climate, landscape, or could it be related to infrastructure and economics. Water is one of the most important survival components for every race, culture, country, state, city and community; however, water is still not abundant enough to provide for millions of people around the world.

Haiti, one of the many struggling countries where fresh water is inadequately available due to infrastructure problems, which has proven deadly in the wake of the recent devastation from the January 20010 earthquake!

If the water supply was adequate for total functionality for the Haitians; drinking, cooking, cleaning and sanitation, a great deal would be gained. There would be less disease, better living conditions, stronger economic stability; through innovation, manufacturing, and agricultural production. According to USAID Food production is completely dependent on predictable and high quality supplies of fresh or marine water. More than seventy percent of all freshwater consumed on the planet is devoted to agricultural production[3].

Two highly effective methods for bringing a predictable source of water to the Haitian people are;

1) To rebuild the water work infrastructure in Haiti that is modernized, and regulated appropriately through collaboration with global water utility organizations and oversight.

2) To strategically place and utilize desalination plants to tap the abundant resources of the surrounding sea and generate fresh water for Haiti.

As can be seen above, a few recognizable steps can make a significant impact. The root of the problem in Haiti will not be corrected by aid alone. This is a long-term development process and is the key to creating opportunity and progress. However, if not facilitated correctly, problems that exist pre and post-earthquake will repeat.

Global intervention is not necessary; However, Global sustainable involvement and empowerment are essential. One small step toward reaching the core of the problems that exist in Haiti is to focus energy on long-term solutions that sanction Haitians toward universal growth through global partnerships. This directive will motivate building a solid foundation toward self-sustainability, both socially and economically.

[1] Reading Today Daily

[2] Revisioning the Economic Rules: Empowering Women and Changing the World CPS

[3] Economic Growth and Food Security US Aid

================================================== Stephen Atma is one of those writers who mixes good business sense and technical savvy with his creative side. The result is a level approach to world problems, and Stephen takes a hands on approach. Along with his wife, our African Affairs Correspondent Alysha Atma, Stephen is the kind of person who raises thousands of dollars worth of donations for disaster survivors, and then takes the material there himself to ensure that it goes where it is supposed to go. Stephen holds an MBA from Marylhurst University where the emphasis brings business concepts in line with cultural awareness. He says through this combination, there is a greater understanding of the importance of cross cultural involvement in business. There are many areas of the global business world that are intriguing, and Stephen sees an expansive world of business opportunities continuing to emerge. You can write to Stephen Atma at: sjatma@comcast.net

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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LOL!!!!! April 6, 2010 10:48 pm (Pacific time)

Steps to socioeconomic symmetry? All you need is one. Confiscate EVERYTHING, and you have instant symmetry. Since "symmetry" is utterly useless garbage, what Haiti REALLY needs is: A responsible government that doesn't run everything into the ground, and two, CAPITALISM, so that the people can engage in wealth creation and benefit from it.

Editor: I will approve this comment, but you tried to put a second one up under a different name and that doesn't fly here, as stated in the comment rules.

Chuck Palazzo April 6, 2010 9:49 pm (Pacific time)

Steve- Excellent story - not only my opinion but that of the Wall Street Journal as well! It is so simple for the powers of our world to turn its back on such a devastated nation as Haiti. Building of the infrastructure is key, as we well know. But what must occur at the same time is knowledge transfer, training and education - so the citizens of Haiti can be empowered to govern their own future. Thanks Steve! -Chuck

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