In Haiti, the United States Government, through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has teamed up with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support community-based economic growth.
PREPEP (Programme de Revitalisation et de Promotion de l'Entente et de la Paix), a short-term job creation project supported by IOM, promotes development in six "hot spots" throughout Haiti, focusing on projects in the areas of agriculture, education, environment, and health and infrastructure rehabilitation.
Eager to involve people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in these activities, IOM partnered with PEPFAR to identify local organizations of PLWHA and to offer employment to their members.
Each PREPEP project incorporates HIV prevention, sensitization and education messages, focusing on both the PLWHA and other Haitians working alongside one another.
To date, PEPFAR has supported 29 projects - creating nearly 2,000 jobs.
With income generated through these employment opportunities, people living with HIV/AIDS have been able to purchase food, pay off debts, enroll their children in school, and buy seeds to start gardens.
Yvrenne Fortune and Saint Hilaire Roignac's story exemplifies the power of PREPEP. Two HIV-positive men looking for work, Fortune and Roignac looked to the PREPEP project for help. And when IOM began its canal rehabilitation project in Les Cayes, they were hired to work on this assignment for a local construction firm.
Hard workers, Fortune and Roignac performed the tasks asked of them well. But as the project came to a close, so did Fortune and Roignac's time with the company. Recognizing the dedication of these two laborers, the mason boss requested that they return a month later for a new project. Both men readily accepted the offer.
This project has helped transform their lives. As a result of Fortune and Roignac's time with this construction company, their long-term employment prospects have greatly improved because they have gained experience, developed a reputation for quality work, and have been destigmatized within their community.
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