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PotoFanm + Fi

New Global Solidarity Initiative to Support Haitian Women, Girls, and Grassroots Organizations to Rebuild Haiti

Press Release - Haiti Gender Equality Collaborative

EMBARGOED UNTIL March 30, 2010

Contact: Alice Backer
alice.backer@gmail.com

or Anne-christine d’Adesky (415) 690-6199
talktothefuture@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE

Rele Fanm ak Fi: Haiti Gender Equality Collaborative

Appele aux Femmes et aux Filles | Call to Women and Girls

Monday, March 29, 2010—New York, NY—As donor nations gather in New York this week for a major conference on reconstruction in Haiti, Haitian women are demanding that their voices be heard in all phases of the deliberation. To amplify their call, a coalition of women’s organizations, Rele Fanm ak Fi: Haiti Gender Equality Collaborative will hold a public event and press conference.

What: The coalition will release a preliminary Haiti Gender Shadow Report to Haiti’s Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) that calls for a human rights-based approach to reconstruction and a policy architecture that upholds the full range of women’s human rights in Haiti. Speakers will also announce the delivery of an open letter to donors.To read the open letter, click here: http://tinyurl.com/yfkseaj

When: Wednesday March 31, 1 – 2pm Where: Boss Rm., 8th Fl, Church Center | 44th St & 1st Ave, NYC

Speakers include:

▪ Edwidge Danticat, Haitian writer and activist ▪

▪ Marie St. Cyr, Haitian human rights advocate, board member of MADRE, board president of Lambi Fund

▪ Winnie Byanyima, Director of the UNDP Gender Team.

▪ Kathy Mangones, UNIFEM’s representative based in Haiti.

ALSO… The New York event also marks the official launch of Poto Mitan: Rebuilding Haiti, a global solidarity initiative to support the voices and leadership of Haitian women and girls, and grassroots organizations in Haiti. Poto Mitan: Rebuilding Haiti members were involved in the developing the Shadow Report and will attend the press conference. (See page 2 of this release for more information).

“We have lost so many, and the support of the international community has been crucial in these difficult months,” said Marie St. Cyr, longtime Haitian human rights advocate. “But we must ensure that, in all rebuilding and reconstruction efforts, women’s needs, expertise and contributions are recognized.”

Gender equality is central to building back better and a gender perspective must be included in our assessment and recovery plans,” said Helen Clark, Chair of the UN’s Development Group after the Haiti quake.

For information on the Shadow Report and updates, go to: http://www.worldpulse.com/potomitan.

(turn over)

EMBARGOED UNTIL March 30, 2010

Contact: Alice Backer
alice.backer@gmail.com

or Anne-christine d’Adesky (415) 690-6199
talktothefuture@gmaill.com

ANNOUNCEMENT

New Global Solidarity Initiative to Support Haitian Women, Girls, & Grassroots Organizations to Rebuild Haiti

The Poto Mitan: Rebuilding Haiti global solidarity initiative has been launched by Haitian, Diaspora and global advocates of women’s rights to support the needs, voices, and leadership of Haitian women and girls, and grassroots organizations in Rebuilding Haiti after the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake.

Poto Mitan: Rebuilding Haiti welcomes participants who are committed to these founding principles:

gender equality, democracy, transparency, accountability, community empowerment, and partnership.

What We Do: Poto Mitan: Rebuilding Haiti brings together global advocates to work as allies in partnership with the Haitian women's movement and progressive grassroots organizations to accelerate delivery of critical services, resources, funding, and programs for Haitian women and girls and grassroots communities. This initiative advocates for a gender- and community-oriented approach to reconstruction.

“Women are the ‘poto mitan’ – the pillar-- of their communities and families,” says Berlotte Israel, a Haitian community organizer working with grassroots women and Poto Mitan member. “We want a violence-free society where men and women can have the same rights. Adds Leonie Hermantin of the Lambi Fund of Haiti project: “Consider this statement from a peasant woman in rural Haiti who learned the importance of using her leadership skills: ‘Before I got involved with the community organization and the Lambi Fund of Haiti project, my husband did not respect me and I had no voice in the community. Now that I am a leader in the organization, my voice is heard, my husband respects me and the entire community listens to me.’"

Planned Activities: Poto Mitan: Rebuilding Haiti members helped develop the preliminary Gender Shadow Report on Haiti’s emerging Post-Disaster reconstruction (see front page). Planned activities include: advocacy, reporting, monitoring, fundraising, and networking with community and multi-sector partners to accelerate delivery of priority services to Haitian women and girls.

Join Us: We’re on the web at World Pulse’s portal: http://www.worldpulse.com/potomitan. Visit our new blog at: http://www.potomitan2010.com. (Twitter name: potofanm. Poto Mitan will use the #relehaiti hashtag to tweet about Rele Shadow Report press conference and UN meeting March 31.)

Founding members include: Edwidge Danticat, Berlotte Israel, Leonie Hermantin and Karen Ashmore (Lambi Fund of Haiti), Anne-christine d’Adesky, Janet Feldman, Taina Bien-Aime (Equality Now), Martha Wallner, Alice Backer and Georgia Popplewell (Global Voices), Phoenix Soleil, Régine Michèle Roumain, Julie Sutherland, Marie Bonheur-Gulotta, Marie St. Cyr, Regine Jean-Charles, Michele Stephenson, Gina Ulysse, Rose-May Guignard…. more.

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