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Oxfam's response in Haiti

Thanks to overwhelming public support, 500,000 people have benefited from Oxfam's earthquake response work, with another 700,000 the focus of our life-saving cholera prevention activities. 

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Haiti earthquake two years on

Oxfam in action

In 2011 our work has focused on the following areas:

  • Provision of safe water and sanitation

  • Economic development and job creation

  • Rebuilding communities

  • Protection

Read the full Haiti Progress Report 2011

Provision of safe water and sanitation

In 2011, Oxfam worked in 113 camps, reaching more than 500,000 beneficiaries - delivering clean water systems, building latrines, and raising awareness of public health issues. Oxfam's focus has now shifted from direct activities in camps to longer term initiatives in inner-city neighbourhoods and rural areas outside the capital, where more permanent water, sanitation and public health services have been established.

Oxfam worked with local partners to prioritise the needs of women and girls, the most vulnerable populations, by involving them at the start of projects to design sanitation facilities.

Our work has included:

  • Building 653 bathing cubicles and 256 hand-washing stations close to busy places like schools in Port-au-Prince and the town of Léogâne.

  • Rehabilitating 13 water pumps and digging 14 new boreholes in Petit-Goave, Grand-Goave, and Gressier, (three coastal areas where basic services are still lacking), and in the town of Léogâne.

  • Distributing hygiene kits containing personal care items such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary pads, and towels to more than 120,000 people.

Oxfam has built and repaired latrines and handwashing stations in many school affected by the earthquake. Photo: Caroline Gluck

Economic development and job creation

People in Haiti want more opportunities to work and to earn a living so that they can rebuild their lives without having to rely on aid. Oxfam has responded to this by focusing on ways to support entrepreneurs, small businesses and farmers.

Our work has included:

  • Providing 4,000 vulnerable families in Carrefour Feuilles with small grants of $50 to buy basic necessities, such as food and cooking oil, to see them through difficult times.

  • Giving 1,064 women business grants, and literacy and budgeting training in Port-au-Prince, Delmas, Martissant and Miragoane.

  • Lobbying the government of Haiti to ensure that any resettlement plans include provisions for job creation.

Natasha Mytal received a cash transfer via her mobile phone. Photo: Jane Beesley

Rebuilding communities

Helping people to rebuild communities is at the heart of Oxfam's work in Haiti. From local waste disposal schemes to large-scale rubble-clearance programmes, Oxfam is working to rebuild communities, and to help prepare the country for future emergencies.

Our work has included:

  • A rubble-clearance programme in Carrefour Feuilles using heavy machinery and paying local workers to remove debris from roads. The rubble was used in new foundations and in walls in areas vulnerable to landslide.

  • A waste-clearing programme with 36 schools in Delmas and in the town of Léogâne. Plastic bottles, wood and metal are recycled for making walls, raised beds and compost bins in urban vegetable gardens.

  • Working with the authorities responsible for contingency planning for future disasters. Plans have been put in place to take steps to prepare for disasters which potentially involve flooding and cholera.

Women taking part in a rubble clearing programme. Photo: Jane Beesley


People living in poverty in Haiti are acutely vulnerable to violence, theft, rape and disease. While vulnerable people have a right to protection from the state, in reality social protection systems are very weak.

Our work has included:

  • Building an orphanage for 100 children and an adjacent public primary school for 400 children in Croix-des-Bouquets.

  • Scaling up activities such as enterprise and economic training. Women are informed and guided about how to protect their rights, and helped to see themselves as entrepreneurs on an equal footing with men.

  • Working with the International Organisation for Migration to make recommendations for standard operating procedures for government and local authorities, to guarantee the rights of displaced people.

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