Crisis to Self-Sufficiency
If you’re at all familiar with Haiti, you likely know how susceptible it is to disasters and crises. It’s in the tropical hurricane zone, has a history of earthquakes and flooding, and is constantly under threat of political unrest and vulnerable to health crises like cholera and malaria. As an organization that serves in Haiti, Overture is aware of these challenges and with the support of donors, we’re constantly working to be prepared for the next disaster. We do this by ensuring we have the facilities (community domes and resilient homes), the resources (stockpiles of food, water and medical supplies) and a strategy that includes emergency response, relief initiatives and recovery efforts.
Stage 1: Emergency Response
The primary focus of everyone is on the preservation of life through search and rescue, emergency medical care, providing access to food and water and the like. Organizations like the Red Cross, World Central Kitchen, Samaritan’s Purse, etc. play a significant role at this time but their models require that their efforts phase out before families and communities have had an opportunity to fully recover.
Overture’s role during this time is to provide emergency shelter, food and water; organizing with partners to help distribute emergency supplies; and initiating assessment efforts to determine extent of need in our communities. Because Overture is a stable fixture in the region, we’re here for the long haul to ensure our communities have the best possible chance to survive the initial impact of the disaster and move into the next stage, Relief.
Stage 2: Relief
Once the initial Emergency Response phase has stabilized the region, the goal is to get families back into their respective communities and functioning independent of emergency aid as quickly as possible.
Overture’s role in this stage is to help establish a stable infrastructure from which to prepare and distribute meals; provide supplies like tarps, charcoal, oil, dry ingredients and cooking utensils to help equip families to begin preparing their own meals; hire community members to begin making repairs to homes, schools and medical facilities to help get people back in their homes as quickly as possible.
Stage 3: Recovery
As we enter the Recovery stage, most of the immediate emergency responders and relief organizations will have left the country. At this point, families are even more vulnerable to separation, homelessness and hunger due to the lack of resources and safe shelter. Without Overture, many families in the communities we serve would likely be left to fend for themselves. Recovery actually begins in the Emergency Response phase during which time our teams are busy securing building materials (wood, concrete, rebar, nails, etc.).
Our role in this stage is to equip the community to rebuild, and to do so in a way that actually moves the community further along the path to self-sufficiency than they were before the disaster. It is critical that we start rebuilding homes and communities for families as soon as possible. And during this stage, community members will have an opportunity to secure paid work through the rebuilding process, providing income and skills development while simultaneously rebuilding the community brick by brick. We have been given an opportunity like none before, to strengthen communities in southern Haiti with stronger, more resilient homes, infrastructure and systems.