When Hurricane Matthew swept across Haiti in 2016, nobody was free from danger. Nadege Pierre worked tirelessly to protect her community and defend the rights of women in the aftermath of the storm. This is her story.
My name is Nadège Pierre. I am 33 years old. I come from Cap-Haitien, the second biggest city in Haiti, in the north. I have one child, a girl, who is 6 years old.
I am a director of a kindergarten, and also the secretary general of an organisation of women’s solidarity in the north of Haiti. In addition, I study administration and law at two different universities.
I was selected to manage one of ActionAid’s Community Centres because of my involvement in several women’s networks. When Hurricane Matthew struck, ActionAid sent information before the Hurricane to all the women trained in emergency leadership. There is a Facebook page for the ActionAid women leaders from Fanm Peyizan Nò-Nòdès which also provided updates on the situation.
Hurricane Matthew affected the community where I am from in the North. When it came I was at my home, which is near my kindergarten school. Fifty women had to shelter in my school. I helped to provide shelter, secure hygiene, and coordinate with the local civil protection directorate.
I was also involved in distributions in the community. The Civil Protection weren’t involving women, and women were being sidelined in distributions. I made myself an obstacle to them. I stayed and kept defending the women who had been standing in lines for hours, as the food was not being given to the most affected people.
I believe that a woman’s presence itself is a powerful deterrence to other violence and safeguards women’s rights. Aid also reaches local people more when local women’s organisations are involved. It’s very important for women to play a leadership role during emergencies.
Photography Credits: ActionAid