Millions of people around the world have been displaced by armed conflict or persecution; others struggle in lawless states that resulted from political or natural disaster. The Rotary Peace Centers are at the heart of Rotary’s peace and conflict resolution/prevention efforts, equipping graduates with the tools to make an immediate impact in conflict and post-conflict areas.
A firm foundation for a new Haiti
Louisa Dow is using her expertise gained as a Rotary Peace Fellow to help Haiti rebuild and recover from the devastating earthquake that struck in 2010.
“I feel so privileged to be in Haiti, helping families rebuild their lives by supporting them to find pathways to permanent housing,” Dow says. “Providing access to shelter, education, and health care services has a direct impact on people living in conflict-affected countries.”
Dow is the Habitat for Humanity partnership coordinator for Haiti disaster response, and manages the USAID Emergency Community Assistance and Planning program. Designed by Habitat for Humanity, ECAP provides community-focused, on-the-ground technical support to government agencies that oversee Haiti’s post-earthquake shelter and settlement initiatives.
Dow, who is from Australia, says her 2008-10 studies at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, helped prepare her for the work. Her student fieldwork in Latin America and the Caribbean opened her eyes to the role of permanent housing in developing a peaceful and just society.
Dow says that no program could have given her a better education in development and peace. “Being in an environment that nurtured all of us to find new and innovative areas to research was an experience like no other.”