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Title: Humanitarian aid after the 2010 Haitian earthquake: the case of accompaniment
Authors: Dubique, Kobel
Keywords: Humanitarian aid, Earthquake, Structural violence, Accompaniment, Red zone, Park Jean Marie Vincent IDP camp
Issue Date: May-2014
15-Oct-2014
2014
Description: Background After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, there was a significant need for basic services such as health, water, food, sanitation, school, protection and security in the largest camp in Port-au-Prince, Park Jean Marie Vincent (PJMV). PJMV IDP camp was located in the commune of Cité Soleil; a slum in Haiti labeled as a red zone and widely regarded as the most insecure place on earth. As a result, the camp residents were left to live on their own contradicting the humanitarian principle of humanity and impartiality. Strong solidarity developed amongst camp residents leading them to organize themselves in order to decrease structural violence. Zanmi Lasante (ZL), a healthcare and human rights organization that works with poorest and most vulnerable communities in Central Plateau, would cross the red zone to accompany the camp residents by providing training, materials, and resources to set up aid activities. Using a qualitative methodology, this study will describe the activities ZL completed and present the outcomes of those activities. This study will argue that the ZL accompaniment helped to decrease structural violence and chaos and allowed the camp residents to persevere. Methods This study is based on a personal story and experience of the researcher in PJMV IDP camp after the 2010 Haitian earthquake. We collected data from semi-structured interviews with 5 ZL staff, 7 camp leaders, and 5 camp residents. The researcher conducted a narrative analysis to recreate a collective memory from four viewpoints: 1) Zanmi Lasante staff; 2) camp leaders; 3) IDP camp residents and 4) the researcher. The researcher used processual methods of qualitative research to identify themes and exemplar narratives to compare and contrast these multiple viewpoints. Results The interviews offered multiple viewpoints on the activities in the camp both before and during the time ZL was active. Activities included creating and staffing a health clinic, training community health workers, establishing a nutrition center, ensuring HIV-AIDS care, and launching a response to the cholera outbreak. In addition, ZL conducted other kinds of activities that put health in the social context, including building a water purification system, establishing a tent village, creating a school program, launching an initiative to protect women from sexual violence, and advocating for food and sanitation. The researcher finds that those additional activities generated good outcomes such as health, security, job creation, capacity building, community engagement and participation, and community empowerment. ZL used a collaborative approach, integrating accompaniment into all activities by working with local residents, leaders and other organizations. This accompaniment decreased structural violence and helped camp residents to be more self-sufficient. The study also explores the challenges of accompaniment as responsibilities for these activities were shifted from ZL to the camp residents and local leaders. Conclusions The goal of this study is to describe the activities conducted by ZL in PJMV from January 2010 to January 2012 and how the approach of offering aid using the accompaniment model impacted the social context in the camp. The researcher recommends that humanitarian aid from within and beyond a disaster affected community be geared toward supporting and partnering with local communities and local organizations. In this way, humanitarian aid will strengthen local communities in a way that may be sustained once these organizations leave.
URI: Dubique, Kobel. 2014. Humanitarian aid after the 2010 Haitian earthquake: the case of accompaniment. Master's thesis, Harvard Medical School.
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13041362
0000-0003-0399-703X
Appears in Collections:HMS Theses and Dissertations

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