Nearly 10 years after an earthquake devastated much of Haiti, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation recognizes the tremendous need for ongoing support. So does Hope for Haiti, a Florida-based nonprofit, which has launched a $10 million campaign to help improve education, health care, infrastructure and economic opportunity for more than 300,000 Haitian children and their families. WKKF is supporting this Haitian Solidarity Campaign with a grant to gather an assessment of Hope for Haiti’s primary school network, and to improve collaboration between education stakeholders in southern Haiti.
Haiti’s oldest newspaper, Le Nouvelliste, published an interview about the WKKF-funded children’s educational television show Lakou Kajou. The three-year-old program is inspired by Sesame Street but is also distinctly Haitian, depicting the lives of young Haitian children, speaking Kreyòl, through animated segments, mini-documentaries and music. It is broadcast on five TV stations, accessible online, and played in schools across Haiti. In the Nouvelliste interview, Lakou Kajou communications chief Jaury Jean-Enard says the aim is to bring high-quality, educational media to Haitian children, especially those who are underprivileged. He says the program is a rare chance for Haitian children to see themselves reflected on television, where most shows are imported.
Blue Butterfly Collaborative, one of the organizations behind Lakou Kajou, teamed up with the University of Notre Dame to make a Haitian version of a video about child brain development. The video, originally in English for an American audience, had already been translated into other languages, but the Haitian version is the first to include footage relevant to another culture. Blue Butterfly Collaborative Director of Operations Suzanne Cole says contacts forged through production of Lakou Kajou made filming Haitian families for the Kreyol version possible. She also says her organization is working on another Haitian video with Notre Dame that is more focused on tips for parents on nurturing young children.
Meanwhile, WKKF grantees are speaking up for indigenous rights. Four WKKF Mexico grantees – Indignación Promoción y Defensa de Derechos Humanos, Consejo Regional Indígena y Popular de Xpujil, Diálogo y Movimiento and Red de Productores de Servicios Ambientales – traveled to Ecuador in November to speak before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. They testified that their land rights are under threat and need protection, saying that agrarian reform measures in Mexico’s constitution have made indigenous communities vulnerable to loss of control over their territory. A representative of the state of Mexico at the hearing responded by saying the government recognized that the agrarian policy and justice system have failed to protect indigenous people’s rights. The Commission, in turn, urged the Mexican government to address problems with the law that make indigenous people vulnerable to abuse. It also agreed to send its Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to Mexico to provide guidance to the government in the process of constitutional reform. It’s a positive development for our grantees and their communities.