June 10, 2010
Haiti's tragic earthquake only compounded this Caribbean nation's environmental and social problems. ELAW Fellow Jean André Victor is drawing on decades of experience, as an agronomist and a lawyer, to turn things around.
Reporter Camilla Mortensen interviewed Jean André at our office last week. Read her report in today's Eugene Weekly. Here is an excerpt:
"For more than 20 years, Jean André Victor worked as an agronomist in Haiti, tying to solve the riddle of how to fix the centuries of environmental degradation and poverty that has kept Haiti from developing a self sustaining economy and food supply. But, 'the main problem is that you can't solve the degradation of Haiti with projects,' says Victor.
This spring, at the age of 68, Victor came to Eugene to discuss law and policy with scientists and other attorneys, write the first textbook on environmental law in Haiti and learn English at the University of Oregon's American English Institute. He came through the help of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide....
He will return to Haiti this summer - a country that was struggling even before the devastating January earthquake that killed thousands of Haitians, including Victor's mother - and try to change his country from within."
Jean André's plan is three-fold: 1) to build a group of environmental lawyers who will serve low-income communities, 2) to mobilize and bring together the rich and the poor, and 3) to put in place policies that help Haiti feed itself and build a strong economy.
Jean André is one of more than 150 ELAW partners from dozens of countries who have participated in ELAW Fellowships.
We are inspired by their good work, every day.
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
P.S. Please help ELAW partners in Haiti and around the world continue to uplift communities and protect the environment. Donate on-line or send your check to the address below. You can learn more about our work by visiting our blog: ELAW Spotlight, Facebook page, or following us on Twitter.