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The earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010 resulted in a massive loss of lives and a complete breakdown of Haiti’s housing infrastructure. The government of Haiti had been unable to invest in long-term reconstruction given its immediate needs for emergency housing. It asked the World Bank for help in learning about community-based reconstruction measures. The World Bank facilitated a South-South Knowledge Exchange with Indonesia because of that country’s experience with community-driven development (CDD) in its post-tsunami and post-earthquake reconstruction.

Haiti’s garment industry, responsible for 88 percent of Haitian exports,1 received a crippling blow from the January 12, 2010 earthquake. The Government of Haiti (GOH) gave a high priority to the sector, which is the country’s largest employer, and wanted to attract investment to revitalize exports and create jobs. Through the World Bank’s ongoing Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) project,2 the GOH approached the Bank to facilitate a knowledge exchange with Brazil and Korea, well known for the competitiveness of their garment sectors.

Children in Haiti are born into harsh conditions, and malnutrition is widespread, taking a devastating human and economic toll.1 To combat malnutrition, the government of Haiti approached the World Bank for help in strengthening the country’s nutritional security and safety net programs. Haiti chose to participate in a Bank-supported knowledge exchange with Chile, El Salvador, Colombia, Madagascar, and Rwanda.

Several Caribbean countries face similar challenges including inadequate policies, interventions, and systems to protect the most vulnerable from the irreversible effects of recurring crises impacting the health and nutrition status of mothers and children. Grenada, Haiti, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent recognized their need for assistance in building capacity to formulate country disaster and emergency plans. The World Bank assisted by connecting them with other countries both within the Caribbean and Latin America and outside the region to share knowledge and experiences.

Chronic malnutrition, or stunting, is a serious problem in Central America. Stunting rates in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are greater than 20 percent and the cost of malnutrition in these countries is estimated to range from 2.3 to 11.4 percent of GDP.1  A growing number of studies show that community-based growth promotion (CBGP) programs can help reduce malnutrition rates.