Volunteers Lobby Congress for Haiti Earthquake Relief and Recovery


Volunteers Lobby Congress for Haiti Earthquake Relief and Recovery

March 26, 2010

Volunteer Summer participants review their notes before lobbying Congress.

As the global spotlight on the earthquake in Haiti gradually fades, AJWS volunteers are making sure that the needs of Haitian people are not forgotten. On March 12-14, participants in AJWS Volunteer Summer—a year-long program of service, study and social change skill-building—traveled to Washington, D.C. for their second domestic retreat. The retreat culminated in a dynamic congressional lobbying effort for Haiti earthquake relief.

Supported by AJWS’s Advocacy Team, participants had 16 meetings with legislative representatives and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff to push for Haitian inclusion in recovery efforts and a $3 billion budget supplement for long-term support for reconstruction. Participants stressed the importance of including Haitian voices in all hearings, meetings and policy decisions to ensure that U.S. governmental development strategies reflect the needs of Haitian people. They also emphasized that Haitian representatives should actively participate in the upcoming UN Donor meeting in New York on March 31.

“It was inspiring to see the Volunteer Summer participants make the connection between the good development practices they witnessed in their host countries with the rebuilding strategies in Haiti for which AJWS is advocating,” said Dahlia Rockowitz, AJWS’s Advocacy Coordinator.

Long after the world’s attention has moved on from the earthquake, AJWS will continue to stand by our partners in Haiti and push government leaders to listen to the voices of even the most marginalized Haitian people in planning for reconstruction.