Capacity building in Haiti: a stronger society and Red Cross

“We were cut off from everything. It was impossible to get water and everyone was outside. The 2010 earthquake made me realize how fragile and vulnerable my community is. I wanted to help my loved ones and I instantly thought of joining the Red Cross.”
Kesnel Tondreau is a Red Cross community agent in the remote region of La Vallée


Haiti faces disaster risks each year, the most common of which are hurricanes. The earthquake and cholera epidemic in 2010 and Hurricanes Sandy (2013), Matthew (2016) and Irma (2017) highlight the importance of having a strong National Society that can rely on trained volunteers.

Training and empowering communities is important to facilitate their recovery, which the Red Cross has invested in doing. The Canadian Red Cross has been supporting the Haitian Red Cross for more than a decade as they develop programs to both better prepare and respond to disasters, as well as reduce the risks and vulnerabilities of people living in some of the most hazard-prone areas.

Disaster preparedness and response activities include:
  • Sending text messages with disaster preparedness tips
  • Training emergency response teams
  • Storing relief items for quick distribution
  • Helping families mitigate risks within their communities
  • Strengthening the regional Haitian Red Cross branches by providing disaster management and disaster risk reduction training to hundreds of volunteers and staff

After Hurricane Matthew, capacity building continued to be a priority for the Canadian Red Cross. The Red Cross is now working on rehabilitating local health posts damaged by the hurricane and training volunteers from affected communities to enhance the delivery and quality of medical care at these village clinics.

Key facts and figures
  • Assessments have shown that the Haitian Red Cross has greatly improved its disaster preparedness since the 2010 earthquake.
Minimizing risks linked to potential disasters:
  • 276 members of 9 vulnerable communities received training and adapted tools.
  • Over 12,000 schoolchildren learned about disaster preparedness and risk management.
  • 163 trained volunteers educated the public on various cholera prevention measures.
  • After Hurricane Matthew, volunteers from affected communities were trained to enhance the delivery and quality of medical care at village clinics damaged by the storm.
Responding quickly during emergencies:
  • Two warehouses were built, and equipment was distributed to 3 regional emergency operations centres.
  • 230 Haitian Red Cross staff and volunteers were trained in disaster management, and 60 volunteers received training on search and rescue techniques.
Strengthening the capacity of the Haitian Red Cross:
  • An office was built in Jacmel, in the Southeast department, and the Nippes office was renovated.
  • People received training in financial management, human resources, logistics and community health.
Learn more about our action in Haiti.