Initial Assessment of Damage on La Gonave after Hurricane Matthew

Initial Assessment of Damage on La Gonave after Hurricane Matthew

Here is the initial assessment of the damage on La Gonave after Hurricane Matthew, compiled by the island’s government representatives. One version is in Creole and one is in English. A final assessment has not yet been completed because some locations have been hard to reach, but it is clear from the initial report that the damage is already extensive. Over 1,000 homes destroyed and another 6,000 damaged. Our estimate is that over a third of the island’s infrastructure has been impacted.




Guidelines for Helping in the Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

1. Wait for the Needs- Wait for formal assessments from the government and from local organizations with already established relationships on the ground.


2. Work Within the System- Work under the direction of local government officials and/or with organizations that understand the needs and already have systems in place on the ground.


3. Raise or Give Cash and Give Locally- Funds (instead of goods) can get to those in need faster and more cheaply, and can always respond to the greatest need of the moment. Collected goods can be costly to transport, not fulfill a specific need, prevent needed goods from getting where they need to go, and undermine the local economy.


4. Few Volunteer Opportunities- Like unsolicited collected goods, untrained volunteers can clog the system and undermine the work of established relief organizations. If you do fit (can fill) a need, make sure you are wanted, your arrival is known beforehand, and that the logistics surrounding your trip are worked out in advance (i.e. transportation, lodging, and access to food/water).


5. Don’t Work Alone- Try to combine forces with other groups wanting to help in order to avoid duplicating efforts or overwhelming those on the ground.



Raise funds and foster community awareness of established organizations!

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)…