I’ve been away for several days editing Beginnings Guidesfor Haiti with my colleague and friend
Linda Wollesen. She’s author of the Life Skills Progression, which part of the Beginnings Life Skills
Development Curriculum and is approved to demonstrate progress to federal MIECHV* benchmarks.
Linda also is leading a project with Relief International to bring MCH home visiting to Haiti.
The work of editing Beginnings for Haiti was at once heart wrenching and validating. It was
heartbreaking to delete so many relief measures that are not available in Haiti since the January
2010 earthquake demolished the country’s healthcare system along with everything else. No clean
water, no sanitation, no diapers, no cooking facilities, no chance of a balanced diet, no medications,
no refrigeration, no ice, no phones, no doctor to call.
It was validating to confirm that the bulk of Beginnings content will be useful even in such dire
conditions for both health education and literacy development. I’m thinking of this new version for
Haiti as the Essential Beginnings Guides; I believe it is readily adaptable for use in other developing
countries. The challenge is to adapt the essential content to the local health system – however meager
as it is. Now, I’m working with Beginnings’ graphic designer Jeanette Alexander to reformat the text
and prepare a document which Relief International will translate to French, the official language and
Creole, which is spoken by most Haitians. Stay tuned.
*MIECHV=Maternal Infant Early Care Home Visitation, federally support for home visiting programs in all states mandated by the Affordable Care Act of 2009. See http://mchb.hrsa.gov/programs/homevisiting/