© Helvetas


People in Haiti have been hard hit by adversity again and again. The government cannot cope with all the tasks of reconstruction or meet the population’s basic needs. Helvetas supports people in Haiti in gaining better access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities. We are also actively involved in the fight against ever-spreading deforestation, and in the promotion of sustainable forestry and agriculture.
© Helvetas
  • Capital
  • Area
    27,750 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    60% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
    Rank: 163 out of 191
  • Population
  • People supported per year
  • Thematic focus
    Private Sector Development
    WASH & Water Governance
    Gender & Social Equity
    Governance & Civic Space
* Source: UN Data

On the outbreaks of violence in March 2024

Watch the BBC-interview with Esther Belliger, coordinator of the Haiti country program here: 

Haiti is located on the boundary between the Caribbean and North American tectonic plates. This is why the island suffers frequently from earthquakes. 300’000 people died in 2010 in Haiti’s worst quake in 200 years. Over 1.5 million were left homeless. Recently, Haiti was struck by several hurricanes that inflicted new damage on an already fragile infrastructure. Helvetas has been active in Haiti on a regular basis since 1983, supporting emergency relief and restoration.

Supporting governance and accompany the actors in their roles

Haiti is operating in a difficult socio-economic context characterized above all by high unemployment, accelerated population growth and weak governance that is delaying the development process. Helvetas and its partners (including state and decentralized intuitions) support development in Haiti based on the strengthening of participatory and inclusive local governance. Organizations and institutions are supported and strengthened in their respective missions and roles to encourage the creation of an environment conducive to employment, the development of local potential, and the provision of sustainable services to the population.

Helvetas and its partners support governance processes and services, particularly in the sectors of potable water and sanitation, the environment and disaster risk management, agriculture and nutrition, education and youth employment.

The promotion of social equity, including gender equality, is transversal to all interventions. Helvetas strives to identify good practices at the local level to promote the replication of successful interventions.

Daring to decentralize potable water and sanitation services

In Haiti more than 40% of the population does not have access to safe drinking water according to the latest World Bank study published in 2019 (Looking Beyond Water Supply). The financial resources devoted to the water supply and sanitation sector are not sufficient. Helvetas and its partners (including the national Authority of Water and Sanitation) provide innovative solutions and have a positive influence on the development of potable water and sanitation service, in the municipalities where it operates. Helvetas supports the capacity building of the communes (town halls) and dialogue with water users in order to provide more access to water and sanitation for their citizens. Awareness-raising for behavioral change in hygiene and environmental protection of water resources are also key areas of work.

Increasing the voice and autonomy of more than one million forgotten farmers

Agriculture is one of the key economic sectors of work in Haiti, accounting for nearly 30% of gross internal product (GDP). Nearly 1 million farms (0.6 ha on average) provide nearly 60% of employment. Helvetas and its partners (including the Directorate of Innovation of the Ministry of Agriculture) support the networking of farmers organizations to participate in dialogue in the search for solutions to the problems identified in agriculture.  They support farmers in promoting new agricultural techniques, access to appropriate credit and the search for new markets for the sale of products, in order to strengthen food security and farmers' incomes.


Taking disaster risks management into account

Haiti is in the annual path of hurricanes and is crossed by seismic tectonic plates in constant activity. Heavy rains, strong winds, floods, landslides, and droughts are annual occurrences causing material damage, destruction of livelihoods, and loss of life. Helvetas and its partners (including the Civil Protection Department) work to improve the resilience of the most vulnerable communities, including women and children. They support the preparation of institutions (including town halls), organizations and individuals for better territorial planning, risk preparedness and emergency management. Taking risks into account in the different sectors of activity (drinking water, agriculture, infrastructure, etc.) is a cross-cutting awareness-raising initiative.

Restoring the confidence of young people and integrating them into the job market

Most children and young people under the age of 25 (56% of the total population) come from modest backgrounds and have no qualifications or certification and are therefore not recognized by the labor market. Employment is therefore one of Haiti's major challenges, and vocational training offers a clear opportunity for integration. Helvetas and its partners are helping to boost young people's access to jobs and income in high-potential economic sectors by providing them with skills that are more appropriate and more focused on real market needs. They encourage training centers to include internships in companies in their courses and to work to strengthen professional associations. Helvetas advocates making the most of the skills acquired by experienced bosses and strengthening links with vocational training centers.

Visit the website of Helvetas Haiti.

The country programme in Haiti is co-funded by the SDC programme contribution.

© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
Market © Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
Farmer © Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
Thyme fields © Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger

Our Projects in Central America

 If you would like to know more about our work in Haiti, click on each project for details.

jeune formation carrelage Haïti | © Helvetas
Haiti Education and Vocational Skills

Training young people for the working world

© Helvetas
Haiti Climate & Disaster Resilience

Better Prepared for Storms

© Helvetas / Simon Opladen
Guatemala WASH & Water Governance

Good Governance Makes for Good Water

Guatemala Private Sector Development

Women´s Agro-entrepreneurship in the Highlands

© Water for food
Global Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Tackling Corruption in the Water Sector

© Helvetas
Guatemala Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Entrepreneurship in the Guatemalan Highlands

Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.

WASH & Water Governance

The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

Climate & Disaster Resilience

Every year, we support over 1,000,000 people in adapting to climate change, reducing the risks of disasters, sustainably managing natural resources, and conserving nature.

Cap des Maréchaux, Jacmel / Annexe 52, rue Mangonès, Berthé, Pétion-Ville
P.O. Box 15030
9110 Jacmel

Phone:+509 28 13 1730
E-Mail: haiti@helvetas.org