WHO WE ARE
Intensive Course in Health & Human RightsThe FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, in conjunction with the Department of Executive and Continuing Professional Education, is hosting a four-day intensive course at the Harvard School of Public Health on June 10-13, 2013. The course is designed to equip mid-career professionals with the skills to integrate the concepts of health and human rights into their professional activities. Please visit the ECPE website for further information and to register.
Homepage photo credits: Vanessa Boulanger, Angela Duger, Petru Zoltan
Haiti and Child Protection
Haiti’s 4.25 million children faced a bleak future following the earthquake of January 12, 2010. Not only did the earthquake create new challenges to child protection, it also exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities that limited the fulfillment of children’s rights. More than two years later, Haitian children continue to face myriad challenges to their protection, resilience, and development, despite the dedicated efforts and significant achievements of national and international response and development actors. These actors face formidable obstacles in addressing the protection needs of Haiti’s vulnerable children and adolescents, including those who are orphaned, separated from their families, or at risk of abandonment or violence, abuse, and exploitation. Information is needed on the scope of child protection challenges that Haiti has experienced both before and since the earthquake and on the range of family and community coping responses. Evidence-based decision-making is complicated by a lack of clarity on the level and scope of research and knowledge on the child protection situation in Haiti before the earthquake, and by knowledge gaps in key areas.
To meet this challenge, the FXB Center has undertaken a systematic analysis of Haiti’s child protection situation before and after the 2010 earthquake. The project examines the types of child protection, security, and developmental threats that Haitian children have faced before and after the earthquake and how children and their families respond to these threats. The overall goal of the project is to improve UNICEF’s and child protection actors’ understandings of child protection in Haiti, build a full picture of the child protection risks that Haitian children have historically faced, and the current needs that children and families now experience. It is hoped that the project will bring renewed attention to the protection and promotion of children in Haiti and serve as a foundation for evidence-based policy and programs by Haitian and international organizations advancing the rights and well-being of Haitian children.
The project examines the protection risk factors and outcomes experienced by children in Haiti pre- and post-earthquake, in addition to other risk factors and outcomes that influence their lives. In most cases, existing data are outdated in light of the 2010 earthquake. The absence of a large-scale, nationally representative survey of child protection risk factors and outcomes following the earthquake necessitates a new comprehensive assessment that updates estimates of phenomena of interest and facilitates correlation analysis.
The current project, Protecting Haiti’s Children: Risk Factors and Outcomes Before and Since the January 2010 Earthquake, aims to assess the available body of knowledge of child protection in Haiti and highlight areas where this knowledge should be expanded, deepened, or re-oriented. The report of this project examines what is known about Haitian children’s lived experiences today, analyzes key aspects of the situation in the recent past, and identifies areas that demand further inquiry. Drawing on a systematic review of the literature, available assessments, and situation analyses produced to September 2011 by a wide range of sources, including international organizations, the offices of the Haitian government and other states, the academic and research community, and relief and development organizations operating within Haiti, the report provides a critical analysis of what is known about child protection in Haiti and where renewed attention is required.
The report is the FXB Center’s latest contribution to the protection and promotion of children’s rights in Haiti. It presents a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional longitudinal analysis of the risks and opportunities affecting the vulnerability and resilience of Haiti’s children, and highlights key areas in need of greater attention and efforts.
Protecting Haiti’s children requires a holistic assessment of risk factors that contribute to their vulnerability and resilience. For this reason, “operational” definitions of child protection, which require the categorization of those in need, such as child laborers, separated and unaccompanied children, and children in contact with the law, are less useful to inter-sectoral decision-makers than information pertaining to current basic needs and risk factors. This project and its accompanying report recognize that child protection is inextricably linked to familial and social context, and that outcomes are shaped by dynamic relationships among risk factors. Consequently, the report presents the current state of child protection in Haiti from the perspective of risk factors, outcomes, trends, and key gaps in knowledge. This perspective allows policymakers and programmers to make evidence-based decisions, complements and provides the foundation for future projects related to child protection, and assists the Haitian and international community build a better future for Haiti’s children.
Publications and Additional Resources
The FXB Center is releasing the final project report in October 2012. It will be available in full and by chapter on the FXB Center website in pdf form. The Center will also convene a panel to further explore the challenges and opportunities facing child protection in Haiti, discuss the project report, and announce its publication as a hard-copy book. Information will be posted on this site as it becomes available.
Photo: Creative Commons