The Government of Canada will provide Haiti with a new grant of $ 91.2 million for development projects, including health and education for women and girls.
“We want to put a lot of emphasis on the sexual and reproductive health of women. There has been a lot of investment in the past, it’s still important. We are working with our partners to broaden the range of services, including family planning, contraception and education, “said Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau on Wednesday, in an interview with La Presse canadienne from Haiti, Where she spent the last days.
Ms. Bibeau first went to the poorest country in America last November to witness the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. The Canadian government announced an investment of $ 54 million over five years to meet the country’s urgent and long-term needs.
The government has therefore allocated new funds to launch five development projects, which will largely serve to strengthen the health system, which is in great need of it.
“The Haitian government’s investment in its health system is clearly inadequate. That’s why Canada is investing significantly, it’s really an essential need, “she said.
Particular emphasis will be placed on access to reproductive health for women and girls, who often leave school too early because they become pregnant as adolescents, the Minister emphasized.
“It takes them out of school too young and it has an impact on their economic capacity afterwards,” she insisted.
Marie-Claude Bibeau intends to continue highlighting the importance of women’s reproductive health even if the United States has launched a contrary message recently. President Donald Trump recently signed a decree banning the funding of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support abortion.
“Our priorities will not change depending on the decisions of other countries. We, our priorities are very, very clear, “she said.
Meeting with Jovenel Moise
During her stay, the Canadian minister also personally spoke with the new Haitian President, Jovenel Moïse, and she was optimistic that she could address governance issues in the country.
“He put a lot, a lot of emphasis on the importance of improving governance,” she said.
Ms. Bibeau, who said she was the first to have a tete-a-tete with the new president, recalled that Moses had stressed the importance of social justice during his inauguration speech on Tuesday.
“It’s a sector we believe in a lot and we want to accompany it. This social justice also depends on the fight against corruption and on institutions that are run by people with skills and integrity, “she said.
The Canadian minister is not closing the door to offering extra help to Haiti, who is still struggling to recover from Matthew’s passage. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, $ 291.5 million would be needed to meet the needs of some 2.4 million vulnerable Haitians.
“We are waiting for the budget to really have the exact amount of the international aid envelope for the next year,” Bibeau said.