Posted by: universallearningcentreblog | August 30, 2011

Cheers to Our Northern Friends, eh!

After breaking the news that ULC will open its 2nd location in Haiti, in the city of Ouanaminthe, we thought we’d visit our favorite Haitian news sites to see what other news there was for the city this week.

First, let’s look at some numbers, so we can get that out of the way and get to the good stuff:

  • Population = 100,000 (this figure may be out of date as Mayor Rony Pierre indicates there are now more than 120,000 residents)
  • The average resident makes less than $400 annually
  • 90% of the residents occupy very small, 2-3 room homes
  • No water, electricity or sewage in the average home
  • Most residents do not have what would be considered “full-time” employment
  • The vast majority of the residents are Christian
  • Virtually all roads are dirt with major holes and uneven surfaces making travel to other town difficult
  • Ouanaminthe is walking distance to the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic

(The above information was mainly found on Haiti Cocina’s Website.)

When I searched the Haitian news sites today, I found an article regarding the new location of the police station in Ouanaminthe.  The new facility, while interesting in that it is formerly an army barracks and will be the largest police station in the area along the northern border, is more interesting to me because of where they received their funding.  The project will cost up to $4.2 million dollars and is being provided by the Canadian Government’s Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START).  The mayor, Rony Pierre, who was mentioned in our previous blog First Public Library in Ouanaminthe, Haiti to Open in 2012 as a supporter of ULC’s new library, has apparently made a pitch for more police officers to staff the facility, indicating that he understands that the beautiful, newly renovated space is not going to help unless staffed with police officers.

Police Station in Ouanaminthe

After reading the article, I was curious about what else Canada has been up to in Haiti.  I found the following facts interesting:

  • Haiti is the 2nd largest recipient of Canadian development assistance, following Afghanistan
  • Canada committed $1 billion to Haiti between 2006-2012
  • As of March 2011, Canada had contributed $8.5 million to help combat cholera, and has likely committed more since then
  • Canada has identified 3 main objectives to their international support: democratic governance, prosperity, and security

(The above information was found on various pages of the Canadian Goverment’s website.)

In addition to the above information, I thought the Fact Sheet about Haiti / Canada was really interesting and showed, in addition to the general information about Haiti, interesting pieces of information about things like how much is imported into Canada from Haiti versus how much is exported from Canada to Haiti.

So maybe later this week I’ll post about Ouanaminthe specifically.  Today, however, I was distracted by the great projects going on in Haiti as a result of funding from Canada, like our own libraries which receive books from the Parliament Foundation of Quebec.

My money’s on soccer beating out hockey if it ever comes down to that in Haiti though…


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