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Empowering & Protecting Adolescent Girls in Haiti

  • September 21, 2010

AmeriCares, Population Council and a consortium of aid organizations working together to help break cycle of poverty and violence for adolescent girls

NEW YORK, NY — The Haiti Adolescent Girls Network, a coalition of humanitarian organizations cofounded by AmeriCares and the Population Council, today received high level recognition for its efforts to reduce girls’ risks of poverty, violence and rape. The Network’s exemplary collaboration and commitment to empower and protect Haitian girls was featured during the opening plenary session of the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting held in New York City.

The innovative program was launched with leadership support from Nike Foundation, Abundance Foundation, NoVo Foundation, United Nations Foundation and Partridge Trust.

The earthquake that shattered Haiti in last January left more than 3.7 million Haitians in need of humanitarian assistance. The quake not only leveled buildings, but damaged already weak institutions and exacerbated the acute challenges facing women and children stemming from decades of political insecurity and recurrent natural disasters in that country. The earthquake orphaned thousands of children and separated thousands more from their parents.

Prior to the earthquake, 42% of girls in urban areas aged 10-14 years old lived without parents. The numbers have increased since January leaving girls as young as 10 to provide for their younger siblings.

With so much responsibility thrust upon them at such a young age, the girls are at risk of not finishing school and being caught in the cycle of poverty. Even worse, living in displacement camps and slums, girls are now especially vulnerable to violence.

A recent survey conducted by INURED, a local Haitian research organization, reported that 14% of the residents of Port-au-Prince’s largest shantytown, Cite Soleil, witnessed or experienced violence, including beatings and rape. The study also reported that it is common for girls living in relief camps to resort to trading sex for food and shelter.

The Haiti Adolescent Girls Network is spearheading a movement to bring groups of at-risk girls together at least weekly in dedicated girls-only, safe spaces.  “We are empowering adolescent girls to secure their rights and health, receive psychological support, continue their education and find safe and productive livelihoods. As their future is reconfigured so are the families they support and the communities in which they live,” said Judith Bruce, Senior Associate and Policy Analyst at the Population Council.

The Haiti Adolescent Girls Network was founded on the possibility that even in times of violence and tragedy, the most extraordinary results can be achieved through collaboration and a common vision. The organizations in the Network are committed to increasing awareness among humanitarian responders and service providers about the distinctive and critical needs of adolescent girls in the post-earthquake Haiti.

“Having a diverse group of local and international organizations come together with a shared vision is incredibly powerful. We invite others to join this collaborative effort. Together we can reduce risk and create opportunity for girls, and put them at the forefront of building back a better Haiti,” Curt Welling, President and CEO of AmeriCares, said.

Haiti Adolescent Girls Network

  • Abundance Foundation
  • AmeriCares
  • EarthSpark International
  • International Medical Corps
  • International Rescue Committee
  • International Planned  Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere
  • Making Cents International
  • Nike Foundation
  • NoVo Foundation
  • Partridge Trust
  • Population Council
  • Profamil
  • Save the Children
  • St. Boniface Haiti Foundation
  • United Nations Foundation

About AmeriCares

AmeriCares is a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization which delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in need around the world and across the United States.  Since it was established in 1982, AmeriCares has distributed more than $9 billion in humanitarian aid to 147 countries.  For more information, log onto

About the Population Council
The Population Council is an international, nonprofit, nongovernmental research organization that seeks to improve the well-being and reproductive health of current and future generations around the world and to help achieve a humane, equitable, and sustainable balance between people and resources. The Council conducts biomedical, social science, and public health research and helps build research capacities in developing countries. Established in 1952, the Council is governed by an international board of trustees. Its New York headquarters supports a global network of regional and country offices.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 1,700 commitments valued at $57 billion, which have already improved the lives of 220 million people in more than 170 countries. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship,, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young leaders from business, government, and civil society. For more information, visit


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