PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – The Women’s Ministry launched a program aimed at giving 9,000 single, unmarried mothers tuition-free trade training. While such programs mean well, in this case, aiming to integrate those who are socially and economically vulnerable, it does run the risk of incentivizing single-parent homes. A single-parent home has been shown in studies to have more damaging affects on child’s development than financial hardship.
Haiti Libre reported that Marie Denise Claude, the Minister for Women and Women’s Rights (MCFDF), launched the program in favor of single mothers who abandoned school early because of pregnancy and are in vulnerable circumstances. The aim is to make these mothers independent and improve their living conditions.
Minister Claude explained that the program is for 3 years and will teach women, aged 16 to 25 years, who are unmarried and with children, a manual trade in the sectors of information technology, masonry, electrical working, tiling, plumbing, and the like.
According to the Minister, women in these situations lead lives characterized by poverty, now “they can go to work and earn a living in respect and dignity.” Minister Claude deplored that “there are too many to not be able to learn a trade and to feel the impact of unemployment.”
The Minister said the program will begin in January 2017, where the ministry has contracts with professional training centers in the Ouest department, including Port-au-Prince, Croix-des-Bouquets, Carrefour, Pétionville and other areas. It will soon be available at training schools nationally.
Concerning the admission criteria young women beneficiaries must have: obtained the certificate of the 9th fundamental year prove she is the mother of at least one child and have a person or organization as a reference. The Commission is responsible for analyzing the records and to transmit them to various institutions included in this program.
The Minister appealed to women’s organizations and civil society in identifying the girls mothers, to offer files matching the expectations of the program.
Incentivizing Single-Parent Homes
The program by the MCDCF is being widely publicized throughout the Haitian press but no one has addressed the risk that it runs in creating single-parent homes. Far too often it has been seen, in third world countries and to disenfranchised communities in developed ones, that these social programs which are for single parents, create more single parents.
What ends up happening is that many women, if they do not have a foundation or the education to know the importance of a child have both parents, begin to believe that their best opportunity may be to leave the father of their children in order to accept social assistance from the government. Now, the situation creates a single-parent home where the mother is out working and not home participating in raising the children.
Programs like these should be based on income, not on marital status, if anything. Programs that cutout the male figure, as is the case by most internationally funded projects in Haiti, have long-lasting and disastrous results.