New Solar Street Lamps Installed on La Gonave

New Solar Street Lamps Installed on La Gonave

Roots of Development is happy to announce the success of the recent community driven project in Gran Sous to bring public lighting to the village.


A group of students from Parson’s School of Design in New York City donated and worked alongside Roots’ local partners to install solar powered LED lighting at key areas of Gran Sous. Led by Parsons faculty member and alumnus Chad Groshart, six students in the Parsons’ Lighting for Developing Countries class traveled from New York City to Haiti.


The culmination of a semester-long study on light poverty in less developed countries, the project used the design skills and critical thinking of the students to craft a sustainable, durable solution to the committee’s request for public lighting.

“Through this project, our students have demonstrated that lighting design has the power to improve the quality of life for an entire community,” Groshart said. “Not only does light allow the community to socialize, study, and sell goods after dark, it is also seen as a marker of progress that will help it to attract more partners to advance development.”


Through each stage of the project, Groshart and his students focused on a homegrown approach to development: The team sourced needed gear from local vendors and worked closely with community residents on the design and installation of the lighting system.

“The idea of development shouldn’t come from us, but from the community with which we’re working,” Groshart said. “There’s a long history of outside organizations with good intentions bringing ill-begotten solutions to Haiti. Our approach, which mirrors the approach of Roots of Development, is to give the community the tools they need to drive their own progress.”


Responding to a request from The Professional Association for the Development and Advancement of Gran Sous (La Gonave), a local community group established by Roots of Development, Groshart and his students worked with local residents to develop an action plan to bring public lighting to their community. Together with residents of Gran Sous, students dug holes for the lights and set them in concrete.

“After we completed the task of installing several solar lighting fixtures around Grand Sous, the faces of the residents told an entire story in one glance,” Alexander Valencia, MA Architecture ‘17, said. “They were proud of their lights and everyone in La Gonave was excited about the development. But more important than their sense of pride was their sense of connection to the larger community of Haiti and the rest of the world.”

To view more photos from this exciting project click here.


The project was sponsored by the Atelier Ten Foundation, Bartco Lighting, Lumenwerx Lighting, and USAI Lighting. A huge thank you to them and Roots of Development’s many partners.

Update on Installation of Internet Antenna

Over the last few months we has been working with our local partners, APDAG, in Haiti to bring internet to their community on the island of La Gonave.


Beginning in November, we secured a new partnership with Access Haiti, a national telecommunications company to work with APDAG on installing an internet antenna. The process of developing and implementing a plan was a big step for APDAG to engage with a new partner and advocate for the needs of their community.


Here's a picture of one of our early meetings where we finalized the plans to move forward.


As with all of our projects in Haiti, we strive for development without dependency, urging our local partners to take active roles in initiatives. In the plans created with Access Haiti, APDAG agreed to provide the onsite preparations. By measuring the land around the community office, which will become the location of the antenna, APDAG is making sure the installation process can move forward smoothly.



At this moment, the tower for the antenna is being fabricated in Port-au-Prince. Access Haiti will manage the transportation of the antenna to the island of La Gonave where APDAG members are prepared and eager to get the installation underway.



With access to reliable internet APDAG will be able to better manage local development efforts and attract more partners to support efforts in the area. This antenna is another step towards development that engages communities and we are excited to see the opportunities it will allow APDAG to undertake for future projects.

2016 Agreement Signed Between Roots and APDAG

On January 31st, Roots of Development and its local partner, APDAG (The Professional Association for the Development and Advancement of Gran Sous/La Gonave), presented their 2016 partnership agreement to the population of Gran Sous. The agreement provides a background of each organization and its roles and responsibilities within the context of the partnership. During the gathering, Roots and APDAG listened to feedback from the community and answered questions regarding the partnership (the agreement). At the end, representatives from both entities signed the agreement in front of the population. The agreement is good for three years. We have provided it below (in its original language, Haitian Creole)…

An End-of-the-Year Thank You from APDAG

Owen Elphick’s “Natural Infection”

Tuesday evening, in coordination with E.O. Smith READS, Roots of Development had the honor of hosting Dr. Paul Farmer at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, CT. High school junior Owen Elphick opened up the night for us by reading his poem. We wanted to share his powerful and inspiring message with all of our followers. Thanks Owen!


Natural Infection

By Owen Elphick


I’m here to tell you

about the disease

that’s infected mankind,

the sickness

sweeping across the globe,

so subtle

we hardly see it,

so powerful

we know not

how to fear it.


It’s left countless


in its wake,

paving its road through us

with countless more;

and a cure could be found

if only we sought one.


Because it takes over

your whole being,

this illness

of the soul,

creeping inside you like

an animal looking for shelter

and warmth

and food,

a hungry little parasite

that eats away at you,

until all that is left

is a shell

that does not comprehend

what it has become;


or else,

wrapping around us

like a blanket

that softens you,

smothers you,

lulls you

to sleep.


And in that sleep

we dream

that we are safe,

that we are special,

that we are all that matters,

and that the rest of the world

is the illusion

that means nothing.


If only in sleep,

we could wake each other

from our dreams;

for that is the trap

we have fallen into.


Where is the snow

to wake us from the poppies;

where is the kiss

to save us from the spinning wheel?


Whether we like it or not,

magic will not save the world

that suffers as we hide

in our dreams;

the only thing that can do that

is our decision

to wake

and to fight.


Because the Black Death,



and ebola

all have their day

and are gone;

but apathy is the natural infection

and it lives on and on

and on…


Now ask yourself one question:


Do you care?

Owen Elphick and Dr. Farmer speak at E.O. Smith High School on Tuesday, March 31st.