Caritas Switzerland’s engagement in Haiti began with an emergency response over 40 years ago. Since then, its strategy has combined humanitarian and development approaches, given the country's extreme fragility. The objective of Caritas Switzerland’s country strategy for the 2021–2025 period is to contribute to the eradication of poverty in Haiti through the implementation of projects and programmes linked to income and climate.
In February 2020, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted a significant increase in the number of people in need, which had risen from 2.6 million in 2019 to 4.6 million. Of Haiti’s 11 million inhabitants, 41% live in multi-dimensional poverty, meaning they face food insecurity, and lack of access to clean water, health and education services, and income opportunities. The country’s ongoing instability and structural weaknesses, as well as repeated external shocks, prevent the population from meeting its needs. Raising incomes and creating employment opportunities are therefore key aspects in its development. To help vulnerable people access healthy, nutritious and environmentally friendly food, emphasis is placed on increasing production by small producers and developing inclusive market systems. In addition, Caritas Switzerland supports young and other vulnerable people to access high-quality technical training to allow them to successfully join the labour market.
Haiti is particularly vulnerable to climate change, which is increasing the frequency and intensity of natural disasters affecting the country. Caritas Switzerland supports Haitian producers in adopting renewable energy sources, such as biomass and solar, and encourages agricultural practices that protect the environment through reforestation and sustainable water management. Caritas Switzerland also promotes the establishment of disaster preparedness strategies.
Caritas Switzerland implements projects in Haiti through the country office in Port-au-Prince and the subsidiary office in Port-de-Paix, and works in partnership with local organizations and multi-sectoral consortia to strengthen the sustainability and localisation of activities.