Haïti - Health at School

In Haiti, ESN works with the Port-au-Prince’s education community on initiatives to promote health and well-being at school, social protection education and community mobilisation.

The Education sector in Haiti

Within the Haitian school system, private schools hold a prominent place, thus bringing into question the quality of education provided and the commodification of education. While the 1987 Haitian Constitution states that "The State guarantees the right to education", only 8% of primary schools and 9.5% of secondary schools are public[1].

The situation of sanitary facilities in schools is also a factor that has an impact on the quality of education. Only 26.5% of schools have water facilities, the others resort to other means to access water, going to a public water point to supply themselves with water or having no access to water at all. 90% of schools have toilets, but they are only functional in 60% of schools. In total, for every 128 students there is one functional toilet[2].

According to a survey[3] made in cooperation with the ESN in a secondary school in Port-au-Prince, 98% of the questioned students mention the absence of a water point to drink, 74% mention the absence of separate toilet blocks and 80% claim they have already felt a lack of safety in the toilets.

A lack of safety in schools is also notable in disadvantaged areas and is an impediment to the proper functioning of the Haitian education system.

2011-2014: Community Programme for the Development of Education and Social Dialogue in Haiti (PROCEDH I)

In 2011, Solidarité Laïque united with ten Haitian and French civil society organisations including ESN, and with the support of the French Development Agency launched the first phase of the Community Programme for the Development of Education and Social Dialogue (PROCEDH I).

The overall objective of this programme was to promote high-quality education in Haiti by bringing together civil society actors (unions and teacher associations, students’ parents, students etc.). By reinforcing the position and role of these different actors, PROCEDH I aimed to revitalise educational communities and mobilise them to develop educational policies.

The following two specific objectives have been pursued:

  1. Bring together, support and strengthen civil society at a national level to improve working conditions for educational staff and promote a social dialogue;
  2. Participate in the improvement of education at a regional level through organised efforts by multiple members of civil society.

ESN contribution in the project

ESN has contributed to several social protection and solidarity awareness initiatives by organising international exchanges, training and workshops. In particular, it was in charge of coordinating initiatives to promote social protection and health at school:

  1. Raising awareness and encouraging mobilisation around education professionals’ social protection, which was carried out thanks to the CNEH, the UNNOH and the FENATEC - three Haitian unions that are members of Education International.
  2. The social protection education programme for secondary school pupils, carried out in partnership with the Interamerican center for social security studies (CIESS).

2014-2017: PROCEDH II

The actions initiated under PROCEDH I, offered in various thematic fields (formal education, popular education, health education, social protection and social dialogue), were continued and increased throughout the three years of the second phase of the programme.

In order to strengthen the position of teachers’ unions, a Union Guide (see attached - FR) was produced by all Haitian teachers' unions with the support of the French union, FSU. The guide was designed as a tool for teachers to learn about and defend their rights. It includes, amongst others, elements on health and social protection rights that are available to teachers, but that are, in fact, not or partially guaranteed. Strengthening the role of unions was also illustrated by supporting their advocacy actions for teachers’ rights, engaging institutional actors on educational issues and increasing financial resources to public education

Educational communities were set up in different areas bringing together public institutions, unions and associations. They carried out efforts in their territory according to identified needs: renovation and sanitation work in schools, training courses etc.

ESN contribution

In the second phase of PROCEDH, ESN supported its partners in its health promotion activities: 

  • Creation and execution of a survey on the use and perception of sanitary facilities
  • A training session for health educators was organised at the end of May 2017 in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and the Haitian School Health Directorate
  • Creation of pilot committees for health, citizenship and social protection education (CESCPS) within six participating schools

The CESCPS brings together several representatives of the educational community (students, parents, teachers, management, support staff etc.) and aims to pilot health promotion policy within schools. During the activities carried out by these committees, four priority themes, constituting the number of areas upon which to act, have been identified and will be at the heart of the CESCPS approaches: hygiene, gender, emotional and sexual education and well-being.

[1] Unitary union guide, CNEH, FENATEC, UNNOH

[2] Direction de la santé à l’école, Ministère de l’Education Nationale et de la Formation Professionnelle

[3] Résultats de l’enquête menée sur les sanitaires du Lycée Fritz Pierre Louis, CEPAP