Following Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake Gender Action, a co-founder of the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) established HAWG’s International Financial Institution subgroup that evolved into HAWG’s current Aid Accountability subgroup. Currently Gender Action chairs HAWG’s Gender & Human Rights that addresses these issues: Women’s and men’s equal rights; gender-based violence; restaveks; trafficking; gender impacts of climate change; gender impacts of aid investments across sectors including agriculture, industry especially industrial park management and employment, and mining; gender imbalance in government and elected positions; and CEDAW reporting. Gender Action also is an active member of HAWG’s Climate Change

Gender Issues Facing Women and Girls

- Haiti Submission to CEDAW

Gender Action, together with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, and Li, Li, Li! Read submitted a 2016 report, Gender Issues Facing Women and Girls, that analyzes the extent to which women’s rights in Haiti meets country obligations under the Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The report addresses extremely low representation of women in political life, including the 2015 elections; sexual harassment toward and derogatory treatment of women at work; the disproportionate impact of cholera on women; and problems facing rural women. The report recommends how to end these discriminatory practices.

Haiti: Violence against Women, Trafficking, Prostitution, and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers: Haiti SViolence against Women, Trafficking, Prostitution, and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers

- Haiti Submission to CEDAW

Gender Action, together with partners BAI, FAVILEK, FEMCADH, IJDH, KOFAVIV, KONAMAVID, , Li, Li, Li! Read, MOFAS, RFFA (acronyms are spelled out in the report), submitted a 2016 report, Violence against Women, Trafficking, Prostitution, and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers, that analyzes the extent to which women’s rights in Haiti meets country obligations under the Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Issues addressed include societal discrimination and widespread sexual violence against women, impunity for perpetrators of gender based violence and sex trafficking, exploitation of prostitution and sexual abuse by peacekeepers. The report recommends how to end these discriminatory practices.

Building Back by Half? Gender Issues in IFI Investments in Post-Earthquake Haiti
Claire Lauterbach, Elaine Zuckerman and Lisa Vitale
October 2013

This comprehensive advocacy report assesses IFI investments' gender sensitivity following the devastating January 2010 earthquake that caused around US$ 8 billion in damages. The World Bank committed US$ 667 million to Haiti for 21 projects from January 12, 2012 through August 2013. The Inter–American Development Bank (IDB) committed nearly double that amount – over US$ 1 billion – across 151 projects in that period. Gender Action assessed a sample of IFI projects' gender sensitivity. The report finds a spotty record for both institutions in 'mainstreaming' gender into their operations – from project planning, to implementation, to monitoring and evaluation. Since both women and men must play an essential role if reconstruction is to succeed, the report concludes with recommendations for increasing projects gender sensitivity. Gender Action's accompanying Database of IFI Post–Earthquake Haiti Investments contains financial and other data about the over 170 investments approved by the World Bank, IDB and IMF.

Caracol Industrial Parks: Social and Gender Impacts of Year One of Haiti's Newest IFI-funded Industrial Park
Claire Lauterbach, Elaine Zuckerman, Marie Paul Isabelle Théosmy and Falonne Conte
October 2013

Officially open for business since October 2012, Caracol Industrial Park (PIC) has become one of Haiti's largest private foreign employers. US$ 424 million in development aid from donors including the IDB and the US government have been committed to the Park and ten related projects. As of 2016 the IDB alone spent over US$ 240 million supporting PIC. The donors and Haitian government promised that PIC would deliver 65,000 jobs but as of 2017 PIC created less than 7,000 jobs. These are extremely low-paying jobs, filled by women who compose the majority of the mostly apparel assembly workforce.

This Gender Action report presents a snapshot of the Park's impacts on local residents and women in its first year. Gender Action's Claire Lauterbach spent two weeks with research assistants Isabelle Théosmy and Falonne Conte from the State University of Haiti conducting interviews and site visits in and around PIC. Although PIC led to several infrastructural changes like electricity and job creation, hundreds of farming households working sparse Haitian fertile land were displaced to build the PIC. The report highlights critical issues including: the displacement of land-users from PIC grounds and exploitative working conditions of female employees.

In January 2017 households whose land was grabbed without consultation for PIC construction filed a complaint with the IDB’s Independent Investigation and Consultation Mechanism (MICI). The complaint in under consideration.


BEYOND SHOCK. Charting the Landscape of Sexual Violence in Post-Quake Haiti: Progress, Challenges & Emerging Trends 2010-2012
Anne-christine d'Adesky, PotoFamn+Fi Coalition
November 2012

'Beyond Shock. Charting the Landscape of Sexual violence in Post-Quake Haiti: Progress, Challenges & Emerging Trends 2010-2012' is a comprehensive report on progress made since Haiti's historic January 2010 earthquake in combating sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and providing services to survivors. It highlights groups, individuals, programs, and approaches that are making a difference and captures emergent trends in this landscape.
The report features Gender Action's work advocating for IFI funds to be urgently directed to Haitian women's needs. For example, Gender Action demonstrated that none of the World Bank's initial investments in post-earthquake Haiti addressed the country's growing epidemic of SGBV. In response, the World Bank announced a US $500,000 grant in 2011 which explicitly addressed GBV in Haiti. This small grant was quickly exhausted without additional follow-up financing.

Haiti's National Housing Policy: Will it Work for Women?
Claire Lauterbach
September 2012

Gender Action's new case study, Haiti's National Housing Policy: Will it Work for Women? demonstrates that the Haitian government's World Bank-supported draft National Housing Policy risks burdening the poor, especially women, with expensive and unobtainable housing by relying on private solutions. The case study concludes with recommendations for strengthening the Policy to ensure that projects are affordable and accessible to all, especially the 1.5 million Haitians that remain displaced, almost three years after the January 2010 earthquake.

This case study is also available in French: La Politique Nationale du Logement: Aidera-t-elle les Haïtiennes?

IFI's and Gender Based Violence Case Study Haiti
Elizabeth Arend
March 2012

To commemorate International Women's Day 2012, Gender Action prepared this IFIs and Gender Based Violence Case Study that analyzes the extent to which World Bank and IDB shelter, sanitation and electricity investments address GBV in Haiti, as these projects have significant implications for Haiti's GBV epidemic. It also highlights an IDB-funded survey of GBV in Haiti, which took place before the earthquake, but we could not find any post-earthquake follow-up. While Gender Action applauds the World Bank's most recent investment to address GBV, our analysis demonstrates that neither the World Bank nor the IDB adequately address GBV within other critical post-earthquake investments. The case study underscores the urgent need for these institutions to fully implement their gender policies and explicitly address GBV across all sectors.

Gender, IFIs, and Food Insecurity Case Study: Haiti
Elizabeth Arend and Lisa Vitale
November 2011

Gender Action's second food insecurity case study examines the degree of gender sensitivity in World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) investments in Haitian agriculture and rural development. Rural women, who constitute the majority of Haiti's small-scale and subsistence farmers, face significant gender discrimination in the agriculture sector. They also suffer disproportionately from rising food prices and increasing food insecurity. Our gender analysis shows that World Bank and IDB investments lack a human rights perspective and pay inadequate attention to gender inequalities that could hinder women and girls' ability to participate in and benefit from project activities. The case study also presents recommendations for IFIs, the G20 and civil society to promote women's rights and gender justice in Haiti's IFI agriculture and rural development investments.

Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development Investments in post-earthquake Haiti
Elaine Zuckerman, Elise Young and Lisa Vitale
Fall 2010

Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development Investments in post-earthquake Haiti demonstrates that the vast majority of World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) post-earthquake investments in Haiti approved through mid-October 2010 represent lost opportunities to help Haiti's predominantly poor female farmers, prevent gender-based violence, and support gender-inclusive development efforts.

Haiti Gender Shadow Report: Ensuring Haitian Women's Participation and Leadership in All Stages of National Relief and Reconstruction
Edited by Gender Action
Fall 2010

This final Haiti Gender Shadow Report (GSR), jointly prepared by many women's rights activists and published by Gender Action, provides the crucial gender content that is missing from the Haitian government's World Bank-led Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), the operative blueprint for recovery that Haiti plans to implement.

Taking Action

2017 International Women’s Day (IWD) Celebration
Gender Action and the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) celebrated 2017 International Women’s Day (IWD) by inviting two Haitian women’s rights defenders to make presentations at meetings in Washington DC. Our HAWG sisters highlighted pervasive, invisible GBV and how Haitian women who try to participate politically are persecuted. HAWG member Gender Action led the organizing and Human Rights Watch hosted the panel discussion.
Read Elaine Zuckerman’s blog about the event in English, French and Kreyol at HAWG Gender & Human Rights Report.
Sabine Lamour and Nadia Lafleur, Haitian women’s rights activists, center, flanked from left by Michelle Karshan, Jasmine Huggins and Elaine Zuckerman of the Haiti Advocacy Working Group, and Regine Duroska, interpreter, in US Representative Frederica Wilson’s (D FL) office.

Letter to World Bank President Jim Kim on the Third Anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake

Three years ago, an earthquake near Port-au-Prince rocked Haiti. Public sector donors, including the IFIs, have committed over US$ 13 billion to the reconstruction and humanitarian efforts. Now is the time to push for accountable aid. In a sign-on letter, Gender Action, Church World Service and 26 partners raise concerns over the World Bank's Haiti policy, calling on President Jim Kim and his staff to respond to Haitians', especially women's, needs and engage civil society proactively towards this goal. Stay tuned for more info on upcoming advocacy events.

Letter to President Obama on IFIs, debt, and gender-based violence in Haiti

Gender Action sent President Obama a letter pleading for the US Administration to pressure the IFIs to cancel Haiti's IFI debt. This debt cripples poor Haiti from spending on health, water, education and other social services. Women and girls are the largest losers. Within a month of sending our letter, the IMF cancelled most of Haiti's outstanding debt.
Within a month of sending our letter, the IMF cancelled most of Haiti's outstanding debt.

Gender and Debt Impacts of IFI Grants and Loans in Post-Earthquake Haiti

This factsheet summarizes findings from Gender Action's analysis of IFI post-earthquake assistance. It demonstrates first that IFI assistance fails to address Haiti's escalating gender-based violence, and second that although IFIs have cancelled most Haiti debt, IFI debt remains that impoverished Haiti cannot afford to repay. This factsheet is part of the Haiti Advocacy Working Group materials presented to Congress described below.

Haiti Advocacy Working Group Materials

The ad hoc Haiti Advocacy Working Group coalition, of which Gender Action is an active member, delivered materials for the July 27, 2010 Congressional Black Congress Hearing, "Focus on Haiti: The Road to Recovery - A Six Month Review." These materials recommend that Congress ensure that U.S. assistance for Haiti promotes optimal local agriculture, shelter, education, health, camp security and other programs.

Read Elaine Zuckerman's blog on Haiti
To Help Haiti, Upend Aid Habits, and Focus on its Women

Elaine Zuckerman, President of Gender Action and the former Inter-American Development Bank Programs Officer for Haiti, suggests what needs to be done to make sure that aid to Haiti does not repeat the mistakes of the past and especially targets women.
This blog was originally published in February, 2010 by

This blog also appeared in the Fall 2010 print version of Oxfam's quarterly publication Gender and Development


© 2012 Gender Action, All Rights Reserved

Haiti Advocacy Week Photo Exhibit

The Haiti photo exhibit, hosted by HAWG and displayed in the Rayburn Building in March 2011 at the U.S. Capitol, captured the realities that Haitians continue to face, as well as their spirit of perseverance and the unyielding efforts of grassroots and civil society leaders to create a more equitable Haiti.


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