For the first time, BRAC Haiti staff celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March 2012. Local and international staff from the Country Office and the Limb & Brace Center started the day by attending a women’s forum hosted by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The theme of the forum was to ensure the voices of Haitian women are included in the country’s reconstruction, and to advocate for the active participation of women in reconstruction efforts. Women’s groups and community-based organizations from all over the country participated in the event, along with business and civic leaders, and politicians, including President Michel Martelly and his wife, First Lady Sophia Martelly.
In the afternoon, staff gathered in the Country Office, where Country Representative Rakibul Bari Khan presented the latest data on the challenges women face locally and globally. Senior Education Officer Doris Valcin shared information on the plight of adolescent girls based on her participation in BRAC’s Global Learning Meeting. Finally, Jackson Naudé, Logistics Officer, highlighted the important role women play in Haitian society. Staff also watched a clip from the documentary film Poto Mitan: Haitian Women Pillars of the Global Economy.
Following the presentations, all staff discussed how BRAC Haiti can improve upon its gender inclusion and equality efforts. From that discussion, three suggestions emerged:
- Improve efforts to recruit and retain women.
- Increase and encourage discussions about gender issues with program participants.
- Respect and support women in their roles in the office and at home.
Through the end of the year, BRAC Haiti will monitor its progress in supporting gender issues.