Social Development

Patricipants in Haiti's BSEIPH training programme (Photo: World Bank)

Furthering economic and social inclusion for people with disabilities in Haiti

Patricipants in Haiti's BSEIPH training programme (Photo: World Bank)

Haiti’s state secretary for integration of disabled people is supporting a productive inclusion and labour market activation program for people with disabilities and integrating them into the social registry to facilitate access to social assistance benefits. Results have been impressive, including the training of 127 disabled individuals, more than half of whom now pursue revenue-generating activities, including nine who have created their own businesses and three who have established associations.


The 2010 earthquake caused nearly 10 per cent of Haitian households to experience loss of, or injury to, a family member, increasing the number of persons with disabilities (PwDs) in the country. According to a 2012 study in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, disability — defined as some difficulty in at least two functional domains or serious difficulty or incapacity in one domain — now affects an estimated 4.1 per cent of people aged five and over. The results of the 2012 household survey indicated that of the 280,000 people injured during the earthquake, one-quarter were severely injured and seven per cent incurred at least one permanent disability, including both physical disabilities, such as loss of a limb, as well as mental disabilities. The prevalence of disability was higher for women than for men and increased with age. Around 16 per cent of households had at least one member with disabilities.

In addition to the earthquake, the most commonly cited causes of disability were birth or congenital anomalies, non-communicable diseases. These trends were confirmed in the 2016–2017 Demographic and Health Survey, which found three per cent of the population over the age of five had a lot of difficulty in one domain; one percent were incapable of functioning in one domain; and 20 per cent of the population over the age of 60 were considered disabled. Visual disability is the most prevalent form of disability, followed by cognitive disability.

PwDs in Haiti are likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes, including unemployment, living in extreme poverty, and facing numerous barriers to entering the workplace. While unfortunately there are no reliable or representative estimates, a 2012 study conducted in the Port-au-Prince Metropolitan Area found households with PwDs to be larger than average, with a higher economic dependence ratio, and the share of PwDs active in labor market much lower than average (33 vs. 67%). 


The project entitled Promoting Inclusion of PwDs in Social Protection and Employment Programs aims to promote the inclusion of PwDs in social protection and employment programmes in Haiti through: (1) registering PwDs in the social registry, commonly known as SIMAST (Systeme d’Information du Ministere des Affaires Sociales et du Travail/Information System of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour), to identify them for social benefits; (2) promoting PwDs’ access to the labour market through professional training and job placement services; and (3) disseminating knowledge through outreach activities, including a communications campaign. SIMAST is a key tool for the Government and its partners for designing social protection interventions as well as targeting beneficiaries.

A beneficiary of Haiti’s BSEIPH Baking Training (Photo: World Bank)


The World Bank, through the Japan Policy and Human Resources Development (PHRD) Trust Fund, provided a grant of US$2.29 million to the BSEIPH to finance this project. The same trust fund provided the World Bank with US$140,000 to supply technical assistance. The PHRD fund, financed by the Government of Japan, was the World Bank’s first programmatic trust fund to help boost the skills, know-how, and expertise of government institutions in developing countries so they can better address their key development challenges.

The World Bank has collaborated with Humanity and Inclusion (previously known as Handicap International) to leverage their expertise and inform the design of the training programmes and of the survey methodology. The project is collaborating with CNSA to collect the necessary data and register Haiti’s 50,000 PwDs in the social registry and with the Association for the Promotion of Education and Training Abroad to conduct the professional training.


Bruny’s story: A trainee in agricultural product transformation in the Department SouthEast/Jacmel

Bruny is a former trainee in agricultural product transformation in the Department SouthEast/Jacmel. (Photo: World Bank)

Some 127 PwDs — 63 women and 64 men — have received certificates acknowledging their completion of the training. One of these participants is Bruny.

Bruny lost an arm during the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. As the father of two boys, he relied on selling food purchased on the Haitian-Dominican border to ensure the livelihood of his family. With previous experience working in agriculture, Bruny seized the opportunity to participate in a training course on Agricultural Products Transformation offered by BSEIPH. This course taught participants how to process and increase the value of cultivated products, thus adding to their incomes to gradually become economically independent.

Following the training, Bruny partnered with another student, Benitho, to form Bruny Pwodwi Lakay, a small business turning cultivated bananas into papita chips. As of January 2021, thanks to the production, marketing, and sales of papitas, Bruny and Benitho earn about G5,000 (Haitian gourdes) in profit per week, representing a significant revenue source that allows them to take better care of their families. They have hired four additional workers to support the production and marketing of papitas in schools, churches, markets, etc. Building on this success, Bruny is now an agent for local development and offers training on agricultural product processing to 20 young individuals in his community. He and Benitho also plan to expand their business to produce guava jelly, papaya jam, and peanut butter. Today, thanks to this activity, Bruny and Benitho are filled with hope. Determined to build a better future, they dream of becoming leaders in their field in Haiti and are grateful for the support of the project.

Moving forward

Before the project closes in June 2021, further training and job fair opportunities will be organized, including in cellphone repair, web design, massage therapy, and sewing. The BSEIPH is looking for partners to continue offering the project’s job placement and professional training services, which are in high demand.

Support to PwDs in Haiti will continue under the new Bank-financed Adaptive Social Protection for Increased Resilience (ASPIRE) project, financed with a $75 million grant from the Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). This project will provide financing to establish the first safety net program run by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Klere Chimen, in Haiti. This project will provide much needed finance and technical support to establish safety nets in Haiti and will provide cash transfers to PwDs identified in SIMAST and through the PHRD grant.