Education International
Education International

Haitian union CNEH building a future for teachers

published 18 June 2010 updated 18 June 2010

Following the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti on 12 January this year, EI launched an Urgent Action Appeal and a Special Fund to support its Haitian member organisation - the Confédération Nationale des Enseignants d’Haïti (CNEH) - to re-establish its work of caring for teachers and promoting education and to help Haitian teachers and their families affected by the quake.

Since mid-January, EI has been in regular contact with Executive Board members of CNEH to assess the impact on schools, teachers and students so as to determine how best EI and DC partners could contribute to lessen this immense humanitarian crisis.

A CNEH delegation participated in the EI North America/Caribbean conference held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on 25 and 26 February, and hosted by the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) and the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Organisation (TTUTA). The EI regional conference was an occasion for EI and its member organisations involved in the Haiti working group to meet with CNEH representatives to discuss a plan to assist the union and affected teachers. They identified two main priorities which are to rehabilitate the organisational structure of the union at all levels (Confederation and Federation) and to reinforce the union's contribution to the reconstruction of Haiti's education system.

In early April 2010, more than one hundred trade unionists from all over the world, including the labour movement in Haiti, met in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to discuss the Haiti recovery process. The CNEH and EI were present around the table of the Trade Union Summit and contributed to the development of a trade union roadmap for the reconstruction and development of Haiti.

Following the summit and a meeting of the CNEH leadership at national and federation levels, CNEH worked on a short-term plan which will be funded by the contributions received from many member organisations through the EI Special Fund for Haiti and the CUT. The plan includes support for the structure of the organisation, professional leave for unionists at the Federation level for pre-congress work, recruiting campaigns, organising, investigation on the situation of schools and teachers’ needs, CNEH participation in the education UN cluster and development of a union policy on public education.

A visit of EI and CUT representatives to Port-au-Prince is planned for mid-June to complete the assessment on CNEH needs and on the overall situation in the country and to guide planning short-term work with the Confederation. This mission will be a prelude to the larger EI political mission planned to coincide with the CNEH congress to be held in September.

For more information on the Trade Union Summit and its Roadmap, visit the ITUC website at: http://www.ituc-csi.org/putting-haiti-on-the-path-to.html

For more information on the EI Haiti Urgent Action Appeal, visit the EI website: http://www.ei-ie.org/en/urgentactionappeal/show.php?id=20&country=haiti F or more information on the CNEH short-term plan, kindly contact: Nicolás Richards ([email protected]) or Delphine Sanglan ([email protected]).