UN Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin (disclosure) has an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer about how some small interventions in Haiti can go a long way toward improving the health and welfare of women living in Haiti’s sprawling tent cities.
In the long list of challenges facing Haiti, going to the restroom shouldn’t be one of them. Yet in Haiti’s sprawling tent cities, something as simple as a lighted pathway to the latrine can make a huge difference for a woman trying to survive the night without fear of sexual violence. In some of the larger camps, rapes are almost a daily occurrence.
Even before last year’s earthquake, Haiti was one of the toughest places in the Western Hemisphere to be a woman. Nowhere else in Latin America, North America, or the Caribbean is the maternal mortality rate higher, literacy rate lower, and life expectancy shorter than for women in Haiti.
Yet relatively simple actions can go a long way toward improving the safety and welfare of women living in tent cities.
One of the most common requests from camp residents is lighting. Dark, unsafe conditions embolden predators. That is why the United Nations, the U.N. Foundation, and other partners are distributing solar-powered lights to camps – and letting women decide where they should be placed.