How can we_help_people_in_haiti_


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  • Discussion: what happened in Haiti on Jan. 12? But Haiti is a complicated place in a complicated situation And what Mercy Corps does is complicated To understand these complicated things we first need to think about  poverty (unspoken notes like this are in gray italics. Questions in notes are not rhetorical, they are for discussion.) (The Speaker's Notes weren't written out beforehand, these are an amalgam of the discussions I had with kids in 4 classes, 2nd to 5th grades) (The whole discussion takes 30-45 min.) ( some slides have photo credits & info in pale blue. All photos are either property of Mercy Corps, creative-commons licensed, or taken from Reuters/Alertnet)
  • But before we talk about poverty let's talk about  Basic Needs (Nominate 1 kid to take notes on whiteboard)
  • Every person who has ever lived and will ever live has basic needs. What are they? (have kids call out basic needs. The volunteer at the board can write them down) Here are some pictures of basic needs to help you think about it. Some basic needs: food water security from crime, war, disasters help from other people love, friendship, companionship, comfort play, enjoyment education, learning health, medicine, doctors shelter clothing (Kids will think of lots more. Move on when they start to repeat or get silly or stray into things that aren't basic needs) (Some things that are not basic needs: money books toys, games, video games technology economy religion family tree, nature transportation pets, animals When these things come up, try to relate them to basic needs: "we need technology to get food, but technology isn't a basic need, it helps fulfill basic needs."  Or say something like "people went thousands of years without money, I don't think it's a basic need" Some wisenheimer will always say "oxygen") Photo credits clockwise from upper-left: Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps (Pakistan) Mercy Corps (Uganda) Reuters/Stringer, courtesy (China) Mercy Corps (Myanmar)
  • Poor people must work harder to meet their basic needs.  (Key idea) The left picture was taken in Nepal. She's inside her  house, she's not camping. The right picture was taken in America. These women are doing the same thing, what is it? Discussion:  What does the woman on the right have that the woman on the left doesn't? Who has to work harder just to make a meal? Important to know: if the woman on the left is "poor" then most of the people in the world are poor! And most people in Haiti are even poorer than the Nepalese woman. Photo credits L-R: Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps (Nepal)
  • Poor people aren't "sad," they just have to work harder to meet their basic needs. (Key idea) Mercy Corps employees work all over the world and travel all over. Everywhere we go, in rich countries and poor countries, we notice the same things: Most of the people you meet smile most of the time unless something bad just happened (like a war or earthquake). Most people are grateful for the things they have, not resentful about the things they don't. Most people you meet are happy with their lives. Everyone wants to make their own life better. (Commentary for context: many American kids' exposure to the rest of the world is through media or, less frequently, casual package travel to places like Cancun. They might stereotype poverty as an intolerable burden. Reinforce that most people are poor, most people are mostly happy, and everyone wants to improve their lives.) Photo: Cassandra Nelson/ Mercy Corps (Central African Republic)
  • As long as our lives are getting better, we feel happy.  Discussion: what are some ways to make your life better? (This is super abstract, OK to prompt a little) Here are some pictures to help you think about it. (Some answers might be:) playing exercise learning being with your family working having a job cooking, making food being productive saving money doing things for other people Do these people look happy? Remember: Everyone wants to make their own life better (key idea) Photo credits clockwise from upper-left: Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps (Colombia) Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps (Sri Lanka) Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps (Mongolia) Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps (Africa)
  • OK so we've talked about: Basic needs Why poor people work much harder to meet them Everyone wants to make their own life better Now let's talk about what Haiti was like before January 12. Because Haiti was very poor and had other problems that made the effects of the earthquake worse. We'll look at four slides. On each slide is a picture taken in Haiti before the earthquake, and a slide taken in Portland.
  • Here's two pictures of roads. Discussion: Which one was taken in Haiti? What are some differences between these pictures? (you can have a volunteer write these on the whiteboard) Key differences (kids will think of MANY more): dirt/brick road vs. pavement width of street marked pavement traffic signs regularity of traffic people walking vs. people in cars & transit buildings constructed differently (we'll talk more about this later) weather What are some similarities? examples: both have shopping & commerce people are well dressed Why does the street in Haiti look different? (on all these slides, try to steer kids away from the simple answer "because Haiti is poor." Always ask: "why would poverty make it like that?" Here are some prompt questions to get it back on track:) Who makes & regulates streets? (governments) Why do we have more signs, lines? (we have more & better rules) If the government doesn't work well/is too poor, who would have to make & regulate the streets (regular people, not government) (close discussion with:) If you were in a BIG HURRY, which street would be faster? Theme here is: infrastructure & government affect response speed. Smarter kids are picking this up already. Photo credits L-R:
  • Here's two pictures of kids going to school Which was taken in Haiti? What are some differences? examples: uniforms walking vs. schoolbus backpacks paved vs. unpaved parents meeting bus Some thought-provoking questions about the picture from Haiti: why are the kids in uniforms? (because most of the schools are private, you have to pay for your own education in Haiti) why don't they have backpacks? (they don't have many books or supplies) What's all over the ground? (garbage) Why? (because they can't afford to pay people to haul it away or the government won't do it) What's in that ditch? (sewage) Who makes and maintains sewers (the government) Theme here is: people in Haiti have to do a lot of work for themselves that we're used to paying others to do, or the government gives us very cheaply. Some kids might veer into pity on this picture, steer them away from that. "I kind of like those uniforms."  "I had to walk to school when I was a kid, it was fun" "My dad grew up on a farm, he didn't have a sewer growing up either" Photo credits L-R:
  • Here's two pictures of buildings. In each picture there are about 7 or 8 houses built on the side of a steep hill with lots of trees. Which was taken in Haiti? What are some differences? examples mode of construction; Haitian people have to build their own houses material of construction space between buildings window glass electricity laundry hanging outside size of houses Some thought-provoking questions: Who regulates buildings? (Government) Who built the houses in Haiti? (the people who live in them) Who builds houses in Portland? (professionals we pay lots of money) If THIS house (point at building in middle of each picture) fell down, what do you think would happen to the houses around it? (In Portland: maybe the house immediately downhill would fall down; in Haiti: they would all fall down) Photo credits L-R:
  • Finally, here's a picture of two markets. Which one is in Haiti? What are some differences? examples outdoors vs. indoors many vendors vs. one vendor fresh food vs. packaged variety of individual items: many kinds of one thing in Portland vs. many kinds of things in Haiti refrigeration climate control Thought-provoking questions: How much refrigeration is in the Haiti marketplace? (some, but mostly for beverages, ice cream, things eaten quickly & cold) How often do Haitians do grocery shopping vs. Americans? Haitians shop every day, we shop every week or even less frequently How much food do you think most Haitians have in their houses? (Probably only enough to cook the next few meals) Photo credits L-R:
  • In the first day or two, people are only thinking about SURVIVAL -- "How can I make it another day? -- and RESCUE -- "where are my friends & family?" What basic needs are people trying to meet in the first 1-2 days? (People who are just trying to survive one more day aren't thinking about their basic needs, except maybe health care for serious injuries.) Who is in the best position to help during the first day or two? (only the people living there) How would what we know about buildings in Haiti affect SURVIVAL? (More buildings fall down, and they fall down more disastrously) How would what we know about roads in Haiti affect RESCUE? (Difficult for rescuers, ambulances, fire trucks etc. to get around) Photo credits L-R: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz, courtesy Reuters/Kena Betancur, courtesy Reuters/Kena Betancur, courtesy
  • In the first week or two, people are only thinking about  RELIEF  -- "OK, now I'm alive, what now?" What basic needs are people trying to meet in the first 1-2 days? (All of them, but at a very basic level: "where will I sleep?" "I'm so hungry, I'll eat anything" "This water might not be clean but I haven't had water for 2 days" "I can't find our parents, I have to take care of my little sister") all photos: Cassandra Nelson/Mercycorps
  • Once the most basic needs are met, people begin to work on  RECOVERY  -- rebuilding and making a new life.  This is an important bridge between staying alive (Survival and Relief), and the rest of your life, but this is when a lot of Americans or other people who want to help begin to lose interest! What basic needs are people trying to meet now? (All of them, but increasing attention is paid to mental/social/economic needs.) "I've been eating energy bars for 2 weeks. I want a hot meal!" "I can't live the rest of my life in a tent" "We have bottled water but we need to dig a well" "The latrine is beginning to back up" "I'm bored sitting in camp all day long with nothing to do" "I'm sad because so many people I loved are dead" "I don't have a job, but I need money and want to help" Many of Mercy Corps' programs right now are focused on this: Basic infrastructure development: water and sanitation that will last more than a few weeks. Cash for Work: Paying survivors with cash to help clean up, and to give people a sense or purpose. There are still things for sale (including food), but without cash the economy stands still and people can't move on. (Interesting sidenote: adults are sometimes surprised at Cash for Work because they think the cash economy would be completely devastated, but all the kids I talked to saw it as obvious.) Comfort for Kids/Play to Heal (psychosocial counseling): Lots of kids lost family & friends, or have injuries. They also have no school (or jobs) , no home, all their favorite places to play are ruined. It's an important basic need for kids to play, and to get help understanding what's happened. all photos: Cassandra Nelson/Mercycorps
  • The best solution for the long term is  DEVELOPMENT  -- building infrastructure and government better so disasters are more manageable. Compare the Haiti quake in 2010 with the Loma Prieta (San Francisco) earthquake in 1989. Haiti, 2010: magnitude 7.0 most of Port au Prince destroyed 100,000 to 200,000 dead 1 million homeless San Francisco, 1989: magnitude 6.9 only 3000 buildings destroyed about 65 dead I magine being in either of the buildings in these pictures.  Which would you most likely survive in?  In which scene is it easier to rebuild ? Why were the outcomes of these two quakes so different? This is a long discussion. Kids will put all the talk about infrastructure to work here.  Try to steer away from the easy answer "because Haiti is poor." Either piggyback with "how does poverty make this worse?" or steer to discussions of functional government. Sharp kids will ask about Dominican Republic. Use this as an opportunity to talk about: DR is less densely populated -- how does density affect disasters? The quake was centered in Haiti, not DR How do marginal improvements yield big results? (DR is still poor by US standards, but less poor than Haiti) The effects of good governance: DR has functional military, police; better roads; enforce building codes, etc. Forest cover in DR lessens erosion & stabilizes hillsides Photo credits L-R: Reuters/Jorge Silva, courtesy
  • So how does Mercy Corps help with  development ? These pictures provide some clues.  What do you think these people are doing? (answers:) Good governance/civil society  (UL photo: these women are forming a town government. Surprisingly many kids figured that out on their own!) Economic development, livelihoods, jobs Education Infrastructure Key ideas: When these things are better, not only is daily life better, but it's easier to survive & recover from disasters. Everyone wants to make their own life better. Handouts are an unsatisfying long-term solution. Photo credits, clockwise from UL: Rodrigo Ordonez/Mercy Corps (Sudan) Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps (Mongolia) Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps (China) Mercy Corps (Central African Republic)
  • (This is where the presentation got a little weak IMO. Clearly I have trouble "closing the sale." My intended take-aways were:) Anyone can help: you don't have to be special. (Amiri's Band Aid fundraiser page is a motivator: a THREE YEAR OLD is helping!) Giving money is a valid way to help (we can't all just fly to Haiti and feed orphans!) "Be the change:" see the world differently & change personal behavior Development is the best remedy but easily overlooked. Everyone wants to help at the moment of the disaster but where will those people be in a year?
  • How can we_help_people_in_haiti_

    1. 1. How can we help people in Haiti?
    2. 2. What are Basic Needs ?    
    3. 4. Most of the people in the world are much poorer than Americans ...including most people in Haiti Poor people must work harder to meet their basic needs
    4. 5. " poor " doesn't mean " sad "    
    5. 6. Everyone wants to make their own life better
    6. 7. What was life like in Haiti before the earthquake?    
    7. 8. roads
    8. 9. school
    9. 10. buildings
    10. 11. shopping
    11. 12. What happened to Haiti after the earthquake?    
    12. 13. First 1-2 days after the earthquake: Survival
    13. 14. First week after the earthquake: Relief
    14. 15. First month after the earthquake: Recovery
    15. 16. the best solution: Development San Francisco, 1989 Haiti, 2010 Why was the Haiti earthquake so much worse?
    16. 17. What is development? Remember: everyone wants to make their own life better
    17. 18. How you can help    
    18. 19.   <ul><ul><li>Imagine  what it would be like to live in a place like Haiti </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember that development is the best way to make disasters better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And remember that everyone in the world wants to make their own life better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be the change: be a good person and help others right here </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give money to a charity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Raise money for a charity </li></ul></ul>
    19. 20.   <ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>