Monday, January 12, 2009

Global Poverty in Haiti

So I've been wanting to write about this for some time because it is something that really means a lot to me and if something like this is going on in OUR world, I feel like it's my duty as a human being to educate others about it as well in hopes that I will inspire someone else to want to lend a helping hand.

I am so fortunate to know people that are involved with Free The Children. For those of you who don't know, Free the Children is a children's charity organization founded in 1995 by children's rights advocate Craig Kielburger. The organization builds schools in developing countries. It also provides alternative income projects as well as school and health kits to people in developing rural areas. Today, I want to talk about Haiti and let you in on some of the issues that are affecting this country.

Haiti is located next to the Dominican Republic sharing its island. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometers and its capital is Port-au-Prince. About 60% of Haiti was lust forests until 58% was cut down destroying fertile lands. Haiti's main source of income and energy is charcoal followed by mangoes and coffee. Due to loss of fertile lands and the over exploitation of the forests that original occupied Haiti it is now still in a state of poverty. Many of the Haitians are considered to be living in severe poverty with the average income ranging from $1.88 to $2.25.

Haitians are one of the largest producers of pollution nowhere near that of the United States of America however it is still largely responsible for the production of charcoal and it is its main source of energy. The charcoal industry is actually not as productive as it has previously been in recent years due to the world's combined efforts to promote a cheaper yet cleaner environment and the search and move to newer, cleaner fuels and energy sources now available.
Haiti is currently receiving foreign aid from the United States of America and from us in Canada as well and smaller contributions from European Union, Venezuela and Cuba. This income makes up about 30% to 40% of the countries budget. Haiti is in dire need of economic growth and the United States and other countries are just not providing enough to change their income levels so growth is not occurring.

Population is also causing a major problem with poverty because the more people a country has to support the less money available for each person. An example of this is a pizza for a family. If two people are there they each can receive half off the pizza however if they have 1 child then that family has to split the pizza into thirds. Then the family has another child and has to cut it into fourths and if each of these children invite a friend over then they have to cut it into sixths. Adding any more will cause problems because no one is really ever content with only one slice. Same with money if you have one dollar and break into between four people each person would only receive 25 cents. And so on until they are basically receiving nothing because it is split between such a large populations.
Haiti is currently in the traditional society of Rostow's five stages of economic development. Stage one consist of a dependency on subsistence agriculture. For the Haitians this is found in the mangoes, coffee, and coal. Haiti also shows signs of being in stage one because they show a low productivity which can be seen in recent years from the lack of exporting enough products to boost their income. They however are showing since of heading in to stage two since they do have an entrepreneurial class developing in different fields.

Most of the citizens here are Roman Catholics like many other Latin communities. This structured religion does provide a good basis for the country to expand financially. If the churches could provide information to the people about birth control to control the population and keep AIDS cases from continuing to spread. Also they could provide a way for all people to receive education.

I propose that people in Haiti be taught the importance of family control. So they understand they only get so much and that has to be shared so the less people that need the assistance the more assistance you can receive. They also should be taught about all the different diseases that could cause them to be out of work or die. This provides an adequate supply of workers at all times. This would keep HIV/AIDS to a minimum and keep dangerous viruses from spreading into the lives of people. Also if they learn about the environment they may also be able to assist the world in developing new sources of clean energy.

I understand though, that some people may argue that providing Haiti with the resources to better their country would be too expensive for the providing country however I believe that if all of the world could contribute a little then the cost would be spread around and not a burden to just one country. Some people also argue that if we do this for one country we will have to do this for all of the countries. To this argument I agree. But I suggest that we start with the bottom and work our way up? It will get easier and easier to make the world better. Again arguments will continue to arise.

"Well what about the other countries while we help one?"

"Well life isn't fair"

That is my first response
"They will just have to suffer through it until we get to them. Then again we could just provide for everyone all at once."

"That's what I thought"

Some people also disagree that we shouldn't have to help another country develop. However, if we don't help them develop there would be no one left to continue anything. I believe that poverty can be eliminated if we fix the earth back to her previous glory and she will provide for us as she always has when we respected her and protected her. Trees, Tigers, and Turtles. Haiti is in trouble and so are 50 other countries. Let's get to work!!