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Timoun an Aksyon (Kids in Action)

In their own voice and style, youth in Cap-Haïtien share new knowledge about their city’s extreme earthquake and coastal risks, and how to take action for disaster resilience.


In front of enthusiastic audiences, Timoun an Aksyon’s slam contest featured youth performing their poems about disaster resilience.

Nearly half of Haiti’s population is under the age of 20. Young people are especially at risk in disasters, not only from immediate injury but also from long-term impacts to their families, homes, and schools. By enabling young people in Cap-Haïtien to take action that makes their communities safer from extreme hazards, this youth-led program is turning fear into empowerment. With their own voices and creative style, they are sharing new knowledge with peers and the public.

Cap-Haïtien is Haiti’s second largest city, with a population of 275,000. Many people live in low-lying areas near the sea. Their most devastating natural hazard is tsunamis. Faults just offshore can generate powerful earthquakes followed by tsunamis that could reach dense neighborhoods in under half an hour. In addition, tropical storms bring flooding, landslides, and erosion; sea level rise is an ever-present hazard.

The Timoun an Aksyon (Kids in Action) project brings together a diverse group of students from 17 public and private schools, at both elementary and secondary levels. Trainings have reached nearly 8,000 students so far, providing an opportunity to understand the science behind disasters, how to prepare, and how to help members of their families and those around them. The project’s Youth Resilience Club developed and organized community outreach activities.

One activity was a slam poetry contest. There were amazing entries, and winners at each school. The youth club also learned painting techniques and created paintings to express their emotions and thoughts around the hazards they face. One participant entered his artwork in an international competition and was one of 16 awardees from around the world.


Another activity was a city event open to the public about preparing for disasters. Held in front of the Mayor’s office, it featured performances by youth slam winners, an exhibition of youths’ disaster-themed paintings, a skit about the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake written and performed by the youth club, folk dancing, video shorts, and expert speakers. In addition, the young leaders demonstrated life-saving first aid techniques. A school principal and a parent of a student involved each spoke of how beneficial the project is to their young people and the city as a whole.

Seeing a lack of knowledge about COVID-19, the youth club wrote and performed a video that explains to students how to avoid catching or spreading the virus. At public markets, busy beaches, and a popular park, they attracted audiences by playing safety messages and popular music on portable stereos. They handed out free, washable cloth masks. Many adults told them that it means a lot to see young people helping the community.

Timoun an Aksyon focuses on densely-populated districts of the city: downtown Cap-Haïtien where historic buildings line narrow streets, La Petite Anse where people live very close to the sea and quite far from high ground, and Labadie, an isolated part of town right along the shore.

This project is generously funded by the Moran family.

Blog Posts:

Wowed by our Haiti Team: 4,200+ Participate in Citywide Evacuation Drill

Today We Mark Disaster Risk Reduction Globally

In Their Own Voices, Haitian Youth Promote Resilience

12 Years Later: Building a Safer Future in Haiti


Youth Leaders Promote Safety from COVID-19

Overview of GeoHazards International Efforts in Haiti, featuring the Kids in Action Program

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