The earthquake had a profound impact for Save the Children, which has worked continuously in Haiti since 1978. On the afternoon of the disaster, we had approximately 160 national and international staff conducting development programs in health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, education, child protection and emergency relief during Haiti’s frequent floods and storms. The urgent needs created by the earthquake required Save the Children to quickly initiate what became our largest humanitarian aid mission to date in the Western Hemisphere. By June 2010, there were some 1,200 staff, the vast majority of whom were working on relief and recovery programs.
As of June 2011, our Haitian staff numbered 757. While some will be leaving the agency as grant-funded programs end, there will be approximately 430 national and international staff at the end of this year—more than double the number prior to the earthquake.
Save the Children’s reach has also grown. In 2009, some 1.6 million Haitians directly or indirectly benefited from our work. In 2010, with much of our attention focused on the earthquake, we reached 2.1 million children and adults through earthquake relief; relief for those affected by a late-season tropical storm; responses to the cholera epidemic; and through development programs that were restarted. We are also now in the second year of a five-year earthquake recovery initiative focusing on education, health, nutrition and child protection to benefit 1 million children and adults.
With more staff in place, Save the Children seeks to take advantage of this opportunity and provide training to improve the effectiveness of our programs and the required support services and increasingly nationalize our workforce. This not only addresses the very real needs of our Haitian staff today in terms of building their skills and leadership, but reflects Save the Children’s global commitment to sustainability, local participation and the long-term development of civil societies by creating talent pools of trained and skilled national staff wherever we work.
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