21 January 2010 Bill Clinton to Lead U.N. Program on Jobs for Haitian Youth, January 21, 2010
(Focus to work in earthquake recovery and cleanup)
By VOA News
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has agreed to lead a U.N. program that will offer jobs to Haitian youth as part of the clean-up and recovery following last week's earthquake.
Last spring U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked Mr. Clinton to become his Special Envoy for Haiti. Now the former president has agreed to take on an additional role — promoting the U.N.'s jobs for cash program.
“During my recent visit to Haiti I have met many people,” said Ban Ki-moon. “What they asked us — of course they need water, food, shelter, basic needs — they need a better future. They need a better future and permanent jobs — work with dignity.”
The U.N. says the jobs will include the basics of recovery such as removing rubble from the streets. They will pay $5 per day. With 20 work days per month, individuals will earn $100 each month — a very decent wage in Haiti.
Mr. Clinton said he was already working on development projects in Haiti before the earthquake and that the cash for jobs program is a natural next step.
“It is really important,” said Bill Clinton. “The United States has a lot of experience with that in the Middle East, Afghanistan — that it is really important to give young people something positive to do. And a lot of people there want to be a part of rebuilding their country.”
On Monday, cabinet ministers from many countries will meet in Montreal, Canada at a preliminary meeting to look ahead at Haiti's medium- and longer-term reconstruction needs.
Officials warn that the road ahead will be long and expensive. The United Nations has already appealed for more than $550 million for emergency relief over the next six months. But that figure is likely to go up and reconstruction costs will be much more.
This report was provided by VOA News.