Haiti is a country located in the Caribbean, on the island known as Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. It was the first European settlement formed in the New World, and Christopher Columbus was given governorship over the island in later year by the Spanish monarchy. Due to the harsh conditions of slavery on plantations, the native Taino populations were almost entirely wiped out and replaced over time by African slaves. After centuries of French control, a slave rebellion occurred, and in 1804, forming the second republic in the Western Hemisphere, and the first republic controlled by former slaves in the world.
Disturbed by their loss of economic potential and afraid of inciting slave revolts closer to home, the European powers and the United States refused to recognize Haiti’s independence. France even forced Haiti to pay billions of dollars worth of recompense. The constant interference from Western powers kept Haiti from true political and economic stability, a condition that continues today.
Despite their challenges, the country holds real beauty and a remarkably resilient population of hard working and giving communities. Levo is confident that it’s work will have a “game-changing” impact and empower individuals to take advantage of their own abilities to move out of poverty, but the odds are steep.
Today Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and is one of the poorest in the world.
Population: over 10 million
Majority of the population is young adults under 24
High risk of infectious disease and AIDS has ravaged the country in the past
A Cholera outbreak was caused by relief organizations after the 2010 earthquake. It still affects Haiti today.
Only 40% of the population has access to basic health care
40% of the population is illiterate and only a small percentage receive higher than a high school education
Education is run privately, and is too expensive for the majority of Haitians
Over 60% of the population lives on less than $2 a day, below the international poverty line, and over 2,500,000 Haitians live in extreme poverty
Less than 50% of households have access to safe water and only 25% benefit from adequate sanitation.
50% of the nation's wealth is held by 1% of the population
⅔ of children suffer from varying levels of anemia, almost half of all Haitian women are also anemic
100,000 children under five suffer from acute malnutrition while one child out of three is stunted*
Haiti is one of the most deforested nations on the planet, over 90% of their land is deforested
Only 10% of Haitian crops are irrigated
Agriculture is an important sector of Haiti’s economy, however, the country fails to produce enough food and imports more than 50% for its population’s needs.
*Stunted Growth: Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psycho-social stimulation. The effect of stunted growth affects height, cognitive function, vision, and general lifetime health.
The World Factbook: Haiti. Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ha.html February 01, 2018. Accessed 02, 2019.
"Haiti." World Bank: Haiti At-A-Glance. https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/haiti. Accessed April 02, 2019.
"Agriculture and Food Security | Haiti." U.S. Agency for International Development. https://www.usaid.gov/haiti/agriculture-and-food-security. January 25, 2018. Accessed April 02, 2019.