Thursday, February 11, 2010

Haiti Disaster Update - Advanced Team Report

The meeting with the Haiti Advanced Team in New York went extremely well. Nadine McNeil, Project Leader, presented the Assessment Report which outlined the current state of conditions on the ground in Haiti; and the volunteer profile and skill set that will be required over the next 12 months.

Excerpts from the Team Assessment Report:
The initial recovery teams have left and most crisis medical care has been done. The medical needs now are in the realm of broken bones that were never set, secondary infections and maladies due to toxic living conditions and poverty-related illnesses. The roads need to be repaired and built. Buildings need to be rebuilt or made structurally sound again. Communication systems need to be established. Housing needs to be a major priority as approximately 1.5 million people were displaced, a total of 3 million affected. Infrastructure basics such as running water and plumbing are needed to attenuate the ubiquitous diseases that have caused one of the world's highest rates of infant mortality.

All volunteers to Haiti need to be in optimal health condition; i.e., mentally and physically. Given the harsh conditions on the ground and virtually no adequate medical support, to travel in country with questionable health is deemed unacceptable and irresponsible. Awareness of the Haitian cultural backdrop is critical to lending meaningful assistance. Knowledge of French and/or Creole is highly encouraged and recommended, especially for those volunteers who are placed in remote locations. At least for the first 6 to 9 months, all volunteers travelling to Haiti will need to undergo induction training prior to their arrival in Haiti. Prior relief/emergency experience is strongly desired for the first team going in.

Nadine and I have been working around the clock this week confirming which partners we will be working with and setting up the logistics required to operate a safe and effective volunteer program.

We are aiming to have the first team mobilised in April which would include a 5 day training/induction in Jamaica and then a Haiti mission.

We are currently working through the applications received and next week we will commence the selection process based on the recommended criteria. We will also be in a position to provide you with more concrete information about the types of placements being offered and associated costs.

Again, I thank all of you for your continued support and patience during this time.

Kind Regards,

Colin Salisbury
Founder and President
Global Volunteer Network

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Haiti Disaster Update - Interview with Nadine McNeil

As we endeavour to reach out to the survivors of the Haiti earthquake disaster and assist in the rebuilding and rehabilitation of the country, I wish to update you on the three key areas where we are concentrating our efforts:

1 - GVN Haiti Advanced Team

Nadine McNeil, GVN Haiti Advanced Team Leader and Project Co-ordinator has returned to Jamaica following the five day assessment in Haiti and provided us with a preliminary report which is available online for you to listen to:

In the report, McNeil describes the living conditions on the ground in Haiti and says the whole team experienced tremors while they were there. "We experienced two or three tremors... living conditions are sparse and we were living in tents as most of the society and community are, simply because people are too traumatised to go into buildings," says McNeil.

Nadine McNeil also reports that the main issues on the ground that she witnessed are in relation to the distribution of food and water and the growing number of IDP's (Internally Displaced People).

Listen to the full report:

2 - Haiti Volunteer Program and Be The Change Course

On Saturday 6 February I will be travelling to New York to meet with Courtney Montague (GVN Foundation Executive Director), Nadine McNeil, and other members of the Haiti Advanced Team. The findings and recommendations put forward at this meeting will drive and shape the Haiti Volunteer Program going forward.

If you are interested in joining a GVN volunteer team in Haiti over the coming 12 months, please go to where you can complete the online application form.

Or if you would like to start your own project or organisation and work directly with Nadine McNeil and myself, then please join us at the next Be The Change course in Jamaica, March 2010. One key area of focus will be sustainability in Haiti and the relief and rehabilitation efforts going forward. Apply now:

3 - Haiti Emergency Appeal

It's great to be able to report that since launching the appeal, over US$20,000 has been donated. If you have already supported our appeal, thank you for your donation. If you haven't yet had the chance, please consider making a donation so we can further support the 3 million survivors in desperate need:
We guarantee that 100% of donations received will go to the disaster relief fund.

GVN will continue to provide all who have registered with details of the volunteer program as information unfolds.

Thank you once again for your commitment and support.