The Haiti Earthquake: Stop Violence Against Women and Girls

The Situation: In January 2010, Haiti experienced a devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake that impacted three million people. An estimated 316,000 people died, hundreds of thousands more were injured, and a million were made homeless. Most of the homeless earthquake survivors were sent to camps to live in temporary housing. Numerous young girls were left homeless without families and were therefore vulnerable to being forced into prostitution in the camps to find money for food and survival. Women also had little protection in the camps and rapes were committed with impunity.

The Rapid Response: Kódinasyon Solidarite Fanm Djanm Sid (KOSOFADS), a feminist organization that advocates for women leveraged Urgent Action Fund support to denounce the acts of violence in the camps. Their goal was to decrease the incidence of women’s human rights violations. KOSOFADS organized a three-month awareness raising campaign distributing posters, banners, and pamphlets to the population and local authorities, and airing radio and television broadcasts.

The Impact: The campaign has helped advance women’s rights by making people more aware of violence against women and increasing authorities’ responsiveness. As a result of the campaign, at least 15 people were arrested and punished for crimes against women.