Haiti, with a population of 10.5 million and area the size of Belgium, is the poorest country in the Caribbean, with a GDP per capita similar to that of Uganda. Most of its population are descended from African slaves who rebelled successfully against their masters in the 1800s and achieved their independence. However, in recent times they have been plagued by poor governance, natural disasters and the natural inaccessibility of much of the terrain. The people of Haiti are still trying to recover from a huge earthquake in 2010 that destroyed much of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
The project is funded by the UK Department for International Development over the period 2014 to early 2017. It is operating in the communities of Kenscoff and Bellevue la Montagne, quite close to Port-au-Prince. These communities are among the poorest in Haiti, with very high rates of maternal and infant mortality and malnutrition. Our aim is to use education to reduce these mortality rates over time, together with improving the general health of mothers and young children.
We are using the Care Group Cascade method. This involves training a number of government-registered Community Health Workers. Each in turn runs "care groups" for around 20 volunteers ("Leader-Mothers") nominated by their community leaders, and each volunteer regularly visits 10-12 mothers or pregnant women. The training is in modules which include ante-natal medical consultation, breast-feeding, nutrition, control of diarrhea, environmental and personal hygiene. We are also providing practical assistance with access to clean water and sanitation and growing nutritious food at home.