Haiti Seminar: Communications and Volunteers

On Monday, I had the distinct honour to participate in a seminar at York University: The Haiti Earthquake of Jan 2010: Lessons Learned.“. Brian Chick and I were on a panel with Kenneth Kidd of the Toronto Star: Role of the Local, National and International Media; Communication Challenges; Reality, Myths, and Perception Issues.

Presenting at York University
(Photo by Morgen Peers)

The responder was Jean Claude Louis of Janos Canada/Caribbean. He talked about the plight of Haitian Journalists and their communities. Janos has a number of future projects focused on Haitian stories. Jean mentioned a site focused on children’s stories: “Voice of the Children“(in Kreyol). I mentioned that Carel Pedre, a Haitian radio announcer collaborated on a CrisisCamp project:The New Haiti Project.

The audience was happy to hear that CrisisCommons will be released a CrisisCamp After Action Report about our activities: a project that I contributed consultant work to CrisisCommons. One other question asked us whether we had contacts in Haiti during our effort. I responded that our value is in supporting the existing Crisis Response Organizations. The report will be released in the coming weeks.

Communication and Volunteers
Presented by Heather Leson and Brian Chick
January 10, 2011

Each of the presenters provided their lessons learned and perspectives. Humanitarian aid in Haiti was a difficult and, at times, daunting, endeavor. All of the presentations will be posted on the York University site in the coming days.

This is a time of reflection for anyone whose life was touched by the emergency response efforts in Haiti. Last night I watched TVO’s program: “Inside Disaster“. The volunteers and Haitians provided an overwhelming picture of life just days after the earthquake. I remain in awe of the efforts of humanitarian workers and hope that some day new media and communications volunteers can truly make a difference and assist.

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