Haiti Procurement Archive

  • haiti-20

    Black Design News Network (BDNN): Its evolution and how it became involved in Haiti

    by Atim Annette Oton, co- Founder, BDNN

    “Architecture is Revolution. Architecture is Social Change. It is about changing the world for the better through design and action”.   – The late architect, J. Max Bond [1]

    Dateline: October 8, 2009 – St. Louis, Missouri

    A panel discussion on African Design History at the 2009 NOMA Conference with Jack Travis, Renee Kemp-Rotan and William Stanley spurred the desire for a need for a funded “institute, place, vehicle or organization” to document the work of black architects, do research and promote the work of black architects”. At that meeting, I spoke about taking that the mantle and I committed to search for funds. I also asked for a commitment of support from the three panelists and from Dr. Curtis Sartor, Dean and Professor of Art, Design and Architecture at Judson University, and the only African American Dean of an architecture school in the US, who was in the audience.

    Dateline: October 15-December 15, 2009 – Brooklyn, New York and Birmingham, Alabama

    By the end of October, and back in New York, I began conducting an extensive grant search process to create the institute which I envisioned as online news agency and distribution service. By November, I had a series of grants and zeroed in on a distinct one that could potentially seed, develop and fund the project. The Knight Ridder News Challenge Grant was the perfect vehicle to create this new venture. The grant was to “seek innovations that use new or available technology to distribute content in local communities with three rules to apply: Use digital, open-source technology; distribute news in the public interest and test your project in a local community[2].

    Over the month, I reached out to Renee Kemp-Rotan, Jack Travis, Bill Stanley and also to Curtis Sartor for support. Renee Kemp-Rotan eargerly jumped on board to fully participate in the process as she saw the “astronomical potential” of the project while the others committed to supporting the project. The idea became Black Design News Network (BDNN) and over about a month, Renee Kemp-Rotan (based in Birmingham, Alabama) and I (based in Brooklyn, New York) diligently and creatively crafted and evolved BDNN. For the grant, we evolved that:

    Using an interactive open-source online platform, Black Design News Network (BDNN) will create and disseminate local stories and content about our target group – black designers (African, African American and Caribbean) and underserved designers (Hispanic) in the fields of Architecture/Interiors; Industrial/ Product Design; Visual Communications/Graphics, and Fashion/Textiles.[3]

    Since of the number of black architects was about 2000, we recognized that the community small compared to what the grant focused on and we expanded the idea to include black and underserved designers. We saw the potential of BDNN as a think-tank, a generator of projects and enterprising research institute. We envisioned it as “a creative hive, a “work-space” hub for designers to develop projects, exchange ideas and share expertise across disciplines, without regard to geographic borders” [4]. We idealized about social change and ironically, the connection to Haiti was this bold statement we wrote below:

    This collaborative work space offers new ways to produce projects that benefit the public interest.  These might include creating possible design solutions for sheltering the homeless in New York City, constructive solutions for recovery in New Orleans and other areas where natural disasters occur on a regular basis (the Carribean, etc.) or a Sustainability Model for Lagos, Nigeria that could be investigated by a team of interdisciplinary designers.” [5]

    On December 15, we submitted the grant proposal expected a decision either way by January 15. It was clear to Renee Kemp-Rotan and I, that we had created, innovated and pioneered a extraordinary idea that needed to be a start-up in the genre of Silicon Valley ventures. Thus, we took our cue and began to look at the business as a Silicon Valley start-up and searched for grants, and venture capital funding.

    TIMELINE: Jan 12, 2010: THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE


    On January 12, as I watched the Haiti Earthquake unfold on CNN like so many others, I could not stop feeling powerless but by the next day, I realized, as a trained designer, I was not helpless. And I went back to my roots and philosophy on why I studied architecture – a belief in architecture as a social change engine – and as a student of the late architect Max Bond, a belief in something he was said to me when I was deciding to attend City College: “Architeture is Revolution. It is about changing the world for the better through design and action”. I recalled September 11 when I was watched the towers fall down from infront of Parsons School of Design and how I as a product design department associate chair – lead by the chair Anthony Whitfield, reconciled to have our students act and deal with the tragedy as designers.  Thus, when it came to Haiti, I had to take action and began by “pressing the button” and sending emails to black architects and design thinkers about the need to engage in Haiti.

    Dateline: January 13, 2010, Brooklyn, New York

    GROUND ZERO – BDNN ENGAGING AND CONNECTING THE DOTSINITIATING NOMA

    I sent the following email to Steven Lewis, president of NOMA, Renee Kemp-Rotan and 35 others, other designers and design thinkers including 10 black architecture firm owners like William Stanley, Curtis Moody, Phil Freelon and Jack Travis.

    “Steven, I have 2 key suggestions:

    1.  I think a statement from NOMA and a press release calling black architects to consider to assist, volunteer, contribute funds to Haiti, Haitian organizations such as YELE, FOLKAI, Doctors without Borders, etc.

    2. I would like to suggest that NOMA and Black Architects consider contacting USAID to see what help and assistance can be given to Haiti – based on the earthquake.

    The first priority seems to be a need for doctors but in times of crisis, and as the country goes forward, there will be a need for reconstruction, urban planning, development and architecture. Any thoughts” [6]

    This trigger was the impetus for engaging in Haiti personally and professionally as the co-Founder of Black Design News Network (BDNN). The responses I received tell the story of how designers gather as a collective to develop strategies for social change even in crisis and are best read below:

    Re: Black Architects, NOMA and Haiti Earthquake

    From: Steven Lewis To: atim oton

    Brilliant. Can you draft something for me to use as the basis for such a statement? I have inroads at USAID, so can probably get it in front of the right folks, but am time-challenged right now. Any help would be great to expedite this important mission. thanks, Steve

    I agree with the two suggestions!      Curt Moody

    I can recommend the organization Building Goodness out of Charlottesville. They have experience in design/build community work in Haiti, and in disaster recovery after Katrina on the Gulf Coast. They do not have plans yet but will post news here:  http://www.buildinggoodness.org/index.php/news/. At some point they will be looking for volunteers.                Bryan Bell

    Those of us who have done business with USAID and its associated agency ASHA (American Hospitals and Schools Abroad) might consider co authoring a letter to both agencies offering our assistance. While it is true that planning and development efforts logically follow some time after the rescue and retrieval efforts, the centuries of neglect of that country probably warrants a mammoth rebuilding effort akin to the  Marshall Plan (or at the very least the Katrina effort). I will be in that part of the Caribbean for the next five days and will inquire of other practitioners what their plans of action might entail. Another idea is to utilize the services of our members who have specific experience with design in seismic regions.

    Thanks. Bill Stanley

    Atim, Following on the thought in Bryan Bell’s earlier email, Architects Without Borders and Architecture for Humanity are both groups that would have core initiatives to assist in this endeavor. We may even want to align ourselves with architect organizations in the Caribbean, e.g., Jamaica Institute of Architects, Barbados Society of Architects, etc. as well as organizations like OECS. Patrick Williams[7]

    Steven Lewis’ response to my initial email set off the development of a press release by Renee and I for NOMA, the creation of the program and a committee to discuss how to engage in Haiti. What was set in motion ironically is what Renee Kemp-Rotan and I had conceived – an entity like BDDN to initiate action and involve designers. Thus, BDNN became a news bureau, online magazine, digital library and ‘workspace’ hub for designers.

    The opportunity to create the press release also made us aware that Haiti was tri-lingual and we distributed in English and French – to 200 press people. We never did get it translated into Creole. We proved our thesis and the viability of BDNN as a news bureau as the press release got about 35 write-ups from Architecture Record to architecture blogs.  BDNN participated and assisted NOMA in the creation of its Service in Solidarity (SIS) Committee on Haiti (of which Renee Kemp-Rotan and I were committee members as BDNN co-founders and NOMA members) and we were on board for spearheading the donation $10k for CHF International (an organization already working in Haiti) rather than the original idea of having initial members collect and send tents to Haiti (a good idea but logistically problematic when the country was in crisis).

    Photo shows the damage after an earthquake measuring 7 plus on the Richter scale rocked Port au Prince Haiti just before 5 pm, January 12, 2010. Photo Credit: UN Photo/Logan Abassi, United Nations Development Programme

    As a think-tank, Renee and I saw BDNN’s core focus on Haiti to get designers involved – socially, ethically and responsibly and to create new ways of thinking about disasters and crisis. We activated strategic thinking as core to seeking viable and well-thought out solutions. In this vain, the strategy was to get NOMA to the table with the decision makers in Haiti and in the US.

    BDNN – The Plan and Projects: Pioneering Innovation

    For BDNN to be a think tank and location for information, an online “beta site” (blog) was launched just after the Haiti Earthquake with the goal to have a fully developed comprehensive site by December 2010.  The goals for BDNN this year include:

    • Utillize Social media as a tool for spreading the news, BDNN is on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin

    —  Focus on being an issue oriented site: We settled on on Disasters this year. And n this vain, BDNN developed DISASTER SOS: HAITI, a panel discussion at NECON in June 2010; produced an all-day Haiti Conference Post-Earthquake Haiti : Disaster + Design in the Diaspora at the NOMA Conference in October 2010, applied for grants entitled DA BRONX SOS and CITIES UNDER SIEGE: Disaster in the Diaspora is an online publication led by members of Black Design News Network (BDNN) and victims of disaster to collectively investigate the impact of natural and made-made disaster in chronically underserved communities, worldwide; and  targeting citizens of communities of color suffering ‘disaster’: The Earthquake & Port Au Prince, Haiti; Katrina, The Flood & New Orleans; Blight & The Bronx.

    • —  Develop initiatives with designers and organizations via a Partnership Strategy and model.

    As of today, we have worked with Rodney Leon supporting the Haiti Softhouse, NOMA, Lesley-ann Noel and Trinidad designers on their Big Give for Haiti, The Archive Institute on its competition, “Kay e Sante nan Ayiti”, Housing and Health in Haiti; Brooklyn Fashion Gallery on Haiti discussions. We have also partnered with Focus on Design, Designers 421, and Project Osmosis on Disaster SOS: Haiti, the Bronx Council on the Arts on several grants and their partnership with the AIA Diversity and Inclusion on sponsoring Post-Earthquake Haiti : Disaster + Design in the Diaspora in Boston.

    • BDNN has worked on a series of grant applications to help us develop the site and develop its content and perspective. We have applied for a Knight News Challenge Grant, Graham Foundation, MacArthur J-Voices, NYC Seed Start, and other grants for BDNN with projects that would expand the reach and scope of what we currently cover.
    • Support Design Research. The Haiti Culture Code is one such initiative, authored by Renee Kemp-Rotan, co-Founder of BDNN. She launched a call for papers in July.

    As early as February, BDNN lead the charge in black design to identify the key players and decision makers in Haiti and its Reconstruction. We outlined who black designers should look to: Haitian Government; Haitian people – in Haiti and across the Diaspora; United Nations (UN); World Bank; Clinton Foundation/Clinton Bush Foundation; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Congress- in particular Yvette Clarke and Ed Towns in Brooklyn and US Government. They also included: France, Canada, South American and Caribbean Countries; UNA-HAITI – Haitian American/Haitian Diaspora Organization.

    To do this work, Renee Kemp-Rotan and I attended meetings over February 2010 until July 2010 on Haiti – and represented NOMA at some and BDNN at some. These meetings include events held by the UNA-HAITI at the UN; Haitian Cultural Exchange at the Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn International Development Trade Center (BIDTC) at Brooklyn Borough Hall; Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and USAID event in Brooklyn; Haiti Invitational Summit organized by the American Institute of Architects/Puerto Rico (AIA/PR), and Organization of American States (OAS) Meeting of Haitian Diaspora in Preparation for International Donor Conference in DC.

    In October, BDNN unveiled its Post-Earthquake Haiti:  Disaster + Design in the Diaspora, a one-day conference to update NOMA, Boston design comnmunity, the Haitian Diaspora and others about Haiti. We presented four panels:

    • PANEL 1- Post-Earthquake Haiti as a Physical System: Rebuilding the Country: The Full Monty Update
    • PANEL 2: Post-Earthquake Haiti as a Social System: Rebuilding the Family: Women and Children at Risk
    • PANEL 3 Post-Earthquake Haiti as a Cultural System: Rebuilding Identity: The Haiti Culture Code- Architecture, Disaster + Cultural Identity
    • PANEL 4 – Post-Earthquake Haiti as an Economic System: Rebuilding the Economy: Getting Work in Haiti

    More details on this one-day conference will be online soon.

    On Haiti and at our website, www.blackdesignnews.com, BDNN has and is continually gathering information, seeking articles and content on Haiti, Design and Reconstruction. Our goal was also to become the culture experts on Haiti and the place to go to for information on Haiti. In that end, we created an online newsletter to reach our audience – black designers and to begin to create a database of subscribers.

    As we evolve, BDDN will identify black designers who ‘infuse unique identity into creative culture’ and transform ‘the aesthetics of dominant culture’, via 4 web-based components:  1.) a digital news bureau to broadcast; 2.) an online magazine to document the work; 3.) a digital design studio/workspace to collaborate; and 4.) a digital library to archive exemplary design, education, practice projects that serves to promote the worldwide contributions of designers from the African Diaspora.

    We consider BDNN as a clearing house, and have coined the slogan: BDNN is the 411 of the black design diaspora, as envision a global reach.

    __________________

    [1] This is an excerpt from my discussion and meeting with the Dean Max Bond in 1987 at City College when I was trying to decide to attend City College.

    [2] Retrieved from Knights News Challenge Website: http://www.newschallenge.org/

    [3] Oton, Atim Annette and Renee Kemp-Rotan (2009), Black Design News Network (BDNN), a proposal for the Knights News Challenge Grant, Submitted December 15, 2009.

    [4] Oton, Atim Annette and Renee Kemp-Rotan (2009), Black Design News Network (BDNN), a proposal for the Knights News Challenge Grant, Submitted December 15, 2009.

    [5] Ibid.

    [6] Oton, Atim Annette, Personal Haiti Email Archive, Discussions, January 13, 2010 – July 2, 2010.

    [7] Oton, Atim Annette, Personal and part of BDNN’s Haiti Email Archive, Discussions, January 13, 2010 – July 2, 2010.

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  • haiti-disaster-sos-610

    BDNN produces Post-Earthquake Haiti: Disaster + Design in the Diaspora at 2010 NOMA Conference

    BDNN produces

    Post-Earthquake Haiti : Disaster + Design in the Diaspora

    SPONSOR:   AIA Diversity & Inclusion

    Event Location:

    Boston Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

    Room: Fairfield

    Fees to attend: Haiti Day long Event: Yes, details to follow soon.

    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7,  2010


    9am: Black Design News Network (BDNN) The Launch

    Exposing the World to Designers of the Diaspora: A Digital Expose

    Atim  Annette Oton                    Disaster in the Diaspora – Overview of the Last Six Months of Initiatives

    Renee Kemp-Rotan                   Overview of the Panel System/Overview of the Code

    9:10am – 10:10am

    PANEL 1- Post-Earthquake Haiti as a Physical System: Rebuilding the Country: The Full Monty Update

    Renee Kemp-Rotan, Co-Founder, Black Design News Network/Moderator

    • Ambassador Leslie Voltaire, U.N. Special Envoy/Government of Haiti
    • Jean Emile Simon, President Society of Haitian Architects

    Above: Ambassador Leslie Voltaire, U.N. Special Envoy/Government of Haiti

    Description: This Panel focuses on what is being done in Haiti since the devastating earthquake of 2010. Through PowerPoint presentations, a Haitian Envoy and government dignitary and Haitian architect who participated in the Haitian Summit sponsored by AIA/Puerto Rico in April 2010 will update the entire NOMA membership and others on proposals and plans for Haiti’s redevelopment. Maps, Images, plans will be shown.

    10:20am – 10:30am – Break -

    10:30am – 11:30am

    PANEL 2: Post-Earthquake Haiti as a Social System: Rebuilding the Family: Women and Children at Risk

    Atim Annette Oton Co-Founder, Black Design News Network/Moderator

    Diane Jones, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture, Morgan State University; Dowoti Desir, Founder, Durban Declaration Programme of Action Watch Group, (DDPA Watch Group); and  Ella Ayiti Turenne, Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement, Occidental College

    Description: This Panel focuses on what issues are facing women in Haiti since the devastating earthquake of 2010. Presentations will update the entire NOMA membership and others on how women will be involved in Haiti’s redevelopment.

    11:30am – 12:30pm

    PANEL 3  Post-Earthquake Haiti as a Cultural System: Rebuilding Identity: The Haiti Culture Code- Architecture, Disaster + Cultural Identity

    Renee Kemp-Rotan, Co-Founder, BDNN/Presenter/Moderator

    Jean Emile Simon, President Society of Haitian Architects, Benjamin Vargas, FAIA, Architect and  2010 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award Winner, Bettina Byrd Giles, Interculturalist, The Birds Nest, LLC, Erica Rioux-Gees, Architect, AIA National Board Member and Disaster Expert,  Anthony Whitfield, Associate Dean, Parsons The New School for Design; Mabel Wilson, Associate Professor of Architecture, Columbia University, Architect Rodney Leon, Rodney Leon Architects, Jenna McKnight, Architecture Record, Dale Joachim, MIT Media Lab, Haiti and Social Media, Max Beauvoir, President of International Brotherhood of Voodoo Priests,Michel DeGraffe, MIT, Linguistics Expert on Kreoyl and Atim Annette Oton/BDNN.

    Description: This panel focuses on a review of the Culture Code by Haitian Architects, African American Architects, Disaster Experts and Interculturalists. It will look at the rebuilding of post-earthquake Haiti as an opportunity to create Haiti as the new utopia for the African Diaspora. The Culture Code is a fully documented design and development kit being constructed by Renee Kemp-Rotan who will outline the Culture Code as a comprehensive framework of 100 cultural considerations advanced across the socio-economic geography of pre-colonial, colonial, post-colonial and post-earthquake Haiti, in a way that informs all future design, development and resettlement. Panel and audience participation will review the usefulness of such a code during times of resettlement and rebuilding of post-disaster environments.

    12:30pm – 1:30pm

    Lunch (not provided)

    1:40 pm –

    2:40 pm

    PANEL 4 - Post-Earthquake Haiti as an Economic System: Rebuilding the Economy: Getting Work in Haiti

    Atim Annette Oton, Co-Founder, BDNN/Moderator

    Jim Paul, Director, U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, Mauricio Vera, Director, OSDBU, USAID and Renee Kemp-Rotan/BDNN.

    Description: This panel focuses on ways to get work on Haiti for design professionals from the Haitian government, the US government and non-profits working in Haiti

    2:50 pm -3:50 pm

    BDNN Final Comments: Rebuilding International Relationships

    For more details, please contact Atim Annette Oton at atim@blackdesignnews.com

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  • Invitation

    Kay e Sante nan Ayiti: An International Design Competition – launches July 12

    ARCHIVE invites you to the launch of Kay e Sante nan Ayiti: An International Design Competition

    The Kay e Sante nan Ayiti (Health and Housing in Haiti) project is an open-innovation design competition to solicit ideas and strategies from architects, designers, medical health specialists and the general public. The project focuses on the use of housing design as a key strategy in combating the transmission of tuberculosis in Haiti.

    The competition will be launched July 12 with Ambassador Leslie Voltaire, UN Special Envoy for Haiti and Charles King, CEO, Housing Works. The website for the competition is http://www.archiveinstitute.org/haiti/

    Members of the jury include, among others:

    • Zaha Hadid Architects: One of the world’s leading architects
    • Mr Graham Saunders: International Committee of the Red Cross
    • Dr Leopold Blanc: Stop TB, World Health Organisation

    About the Archive Institute

    Architecture for Health In Vulnerable Environments (ARCHIVE) is a non-profit organisation implementing community projects, using one basic NEED – Housing, to deliver one basic RIGHT – Health. Visit their website at ARCHIVE.

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  • bush-clinton

    The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF) today announced $1 million in new grants

    OVER $1 MILLION IN NEW GRANTS FROM CLINTON BUSH HAITI FUND TO REBUILD LIVES & LIVELIHOODS

    The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF) today announced $1 million in new grants aimed at creating new jobs and promoting economic opportunity in Haiti.

    Reflecting the shared vision of founders Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, more than 230,000 generous donations made to-date will fund these new grants and have a powerful impact on helping post-disaster Haiti build back better.

    The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is focused primarily on longer-term reconstruction, especially job creation and the promotion of economic opportunity. The success and sustainability of reconstruction will depend in large part on a more vibrant, decentralized, inclusive, and competitive economy – an economy where every Haitian has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential.

    Post-earthquake Haiti’s challenges are many, but among the most compelling and critical is the need to create jobs and economic opportunity. CBHF will do this by:

    • Supporting the restart, expansion and creation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, to which women are often key contributors;
    • Empowering people and enterprises by helping them access the formal business sector;
    • Promoting job creation, particularly jobs with a direct social benefit, such as in health and education;
    • Providing life skills and job training to people, especially youth, so they can embrace economic opportunity.

    More details here: http://www.clintonbushhaitifund.org/media/entry/July-Grant-Release/

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  • haiti-disaster-sos-610

    Disaster SOS: Haiti – Framing 13 Questions

    by Renee Kemp-Rotan

    Questions to reflect on:

    1. how can trained designers make a special contribution to the rebuilding of Haiti?

    2. how can trained designers who are also from the Diaspora make a special contribution to the rebuilding of Haiti?

    3. list those actions that need to occur in order to efficiently rebuild the country of Haiti, post-earthquake.

    4. how does the world tend to deal with immense natural disasters throughout the world; and within the Diaspora?

    5. how might you compare the disaster response to Katrina with the disaster response to Haiti?

    6. what do you think of the idea of developing post-earthquake Haiti as the new utopia for the Diaspora?

    7. what cultural principles must not be overlooked in developing a sustainable post-earthquake Haiti?

    8. how might your firm or organization better contribute to a more sustainable culture in Haiti?

    9. does your firm recruit culture experts to collaborate with its technical experts on on how to rebuild a civilization?

    10. how might authorities on culture and authorities on infrastructure best strategize long-lasting solutions?

    11. how might the effectiveness of that collaboration be best planned, prioritized, measured and implemented?

    12. might your company wish to collaborate on the design of a pilot project in Haiti that tests the principles of ‘a culture code’?

    13. in what ways might your understanding of Haitian culture inform the design decisions that your firm produce there?

    Disaster SOS – HAITI

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  • Haiti_Small

    Rebuilding a Sustainable Haiti: Symposium – June 4

    Urgent as the immediate need for shelter and housing is, Haiti’s long-term economic and social welfare depends on a comprehensive approach to planning for a more sustainable future; the rebuilding process must seek to transform the country’s built environment, not just replace it. With the help of many foreign countries, NGOs, and its own rich diaspora community, the Haitian government has developed the outlines of a post-earthquake action plan, the Action Plan for the Reconstruction and National Development of Haiti.Using this plan and its corollary, the Post Disaster Needs Assessment as a starting point for discussion, the Institute for Urban Design is planning a major conference on June 4 focused on long-term and sustainable rebuilding in Haiti.

    IfUD will convene architects, planners, public health specialists, representatives from NGOs, and government officials from both Haiti and the United States to identify specific needs, and develop an action plan to address them. The conference is designed to leverage the incredible experience of the design and planning community in the Northeast, complementing local efforts to rebuild in an innovative and just way.

    Leading this important discussion is Leslie Voltaire, the planner heading the Haitian government’s Reconstruction Team and a UN Special Envoy to Haiti. He will be joined by a panelists with a wealth of experience in the worlds of development, infrastructure, land tenure, education, slum upgrading, and post-disaster planning. They include:

    Ami Desai, Foreign Policy Advisor, Clinton Foundation

    Patrice Nevil, Director of Infrastructure, Partners in Health

    Chris Williams, Washington DC Representative, UN-HABITAT

    Louis Herms Marcelin, Director, Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development Haiti (INURED)

    David Evans, Chief Technical Advisor, UN-HABITAT Sri Lanka

    Steven Lewis, President, National Organization of Minority Architects

    Event Info

    Friday, June 4, 2010
    Rose Auditorium, Cooper Union
    41 Cooper Square
    New York, New York
    1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

    For More Details: http://www.ifud.org/haiti/

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  • HAITI RECONSTRUCTION: Accessing Opportunities in the Medium to Long-Term

    HAITI RECONSTRUCTION: Accessing Opportunities in the Medium to Long-Term

    by Atim Annette Oton

    On a sunny slightly chilly day in Brooklyn, at Borough Hall, the New York U.S. Export Assistance Center, in partnership with the Brooklyn International Trade Development Center, hosted a seminar  for companies interested in learning about accessing the medium to long-term reconstruction opportunities in Haiti. The seminar gave attendees:

    • An understanding of Haiti’s on-the-ground realities from a business perspective;
    • Insights into the process for bidding on procurement opportunities with the U.S. government and international development banks
    • Information on investment financing and political risk insurance;
    • Resources for infrastructure-related feasibility studies and technical assistance
    • Important contacts for accessing future opportunities; and
    • Real world experiences of companies who currently do business in Haiti.

    The eye-opener and key to this seminar was the  Procurement processes and bidding on contracts with not only the U.S. government, but most importantly, the multilateral organizations – U.N., Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank. These three organizations hold the key to accessing work in Haiti that most small businesses – architects, in particular are not leveraging.

    So, if you are interested in work in Haiti, you must register with the UN, Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank

    Additionally, it is vital for businesses to read the Action Plan put together from the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti. The Plan can be downloaded here. This plan states the vision:

    “ The Haitian Head of State defined the country’s long-term vision for development in the following terms:

    We will rebuild Haiti by turning the disaster on 12 January 2010 into an opportunity to make it an emerging country by 2030. 

    This restructuring will be marked by:

    • A fair, just, united and friendly society living in harmony with its environment and culture; a modern society characterised by the rule of law, freedom of association and expression and land management.

    • A society with a modern, diversified, strong, dynamic, competitive, open and inclusive economy based on the land.

    • A society in which people’s basic needs are met quantitatively and qualitatively.

    • A knowledge-based society with universal access to basic education, mastery of qualifications based on a relevant professional training system, and the capacity for scientific and technical innovation fed by a modern and efficient university system, in order to create the new type of citizen the country needs for reconstruction.

    • All of this, under the supervision of a responsible, unitary state guaranteeing the implementation of laws and the interests of the people with a strong commitment to de-concentration and decentralization.”

    The key to the reconstruction plan are the 3 stages vital to the process:

    • The emergency period, which must be used to improve accommodation for the homeless; to return pupils to school and students to university and vocational training centres; to prepare for the next hurricane season in the summer; to pursue efforts to restore a sense of normality to economic life, especially by creating large numbers of jobs through high-intensity work, by guaranteeing stability in the financial sector and access to credit for SMEs; and to continue to reorganise state structures. During this period, it will be necessary to work on development strategies and plans for selected new economic centres; to pursue action in favour of equipping reception zones for those who have been displaced by the earthquake; and to set up an electoral process to avoid constitutional gaps.
    • The implementation period (18 months), for projects to kick-start the future of Haiti and establish a framework of incentives and supervision for private investment on which Haiti’s economic growth will be founded. As foreseen by various analyses and assessments, private investment in the economy as well as in the social sector will form the backbone of the country’s reconstruction. Among the commitments of donors, support will be given to the private sector to provide it with the capacity required to fulfil this role.
    • The period (10 years) during which the reconstruction and recovery of Haiti will become a reality, in order to put the country back on the road to development, followed by another ten years to make it a real emerging country.

    The plan also details what the role of the Haitian Reconstruction Fund and indicates ways to find resources for projects in Haiti.

    Atim Annette Oton , co-Founder of  BDNN will continue to work on reports on Haiti.

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