Installation of another set of solar street lamps on La Gonave with Parsons School of Design

Installation of another set of solar street lamps on La Gonave with Parsons School of Design

For the second year in a row, key locations in several communities on the island of La Gonave have been lit up with newly installed solar-powered street lamps. The new light is a product of a second collaboration between Roots of Development, a team from Parsons School of Design in New York City, and Roots’ local community partner APDAG. This year’s project built on the success of last year’s installment of five solar street lamps in key areas around the community of Gran Sous.


Chad Groshart, a professor at Parsons School of Design, teaches a graduate course on lighting in the developing world for students studying lighting, architecture, and product design. A group of his students collaborated to provide design and technical expertise for the street lamps. They also helped raise money to fund the purchase and transport of the light poles. Groshart and the students joined Roots of Development on La Gonave last month to help local community groups install the new set of lights.

The street lamps are solar powered, and have controllers which allow them to turn on automatically when it starts getting dark. Around 6:30PM every evening, the lights turn on. They stay turned on at full power until midnight, at which time the controller reduces the light by half until 6:00 AM when the lamps turn off. This process helps save power by limiting the light produced when there are fewer people around and therefore less need for light.

The preparation and implementation phases of the project were led by APDAG and representatives of its various member groups. The community’s role included selecting where the street lamps would be placed, preparation of the installation site, providing materials and labor for the installation, and of course maintenance of the poles. With guidance from APDAG, residents debated the merits of possible locations for the solar street lamps. Based upon the needs of their community, they determined which spots would benefit the most from the light. Local groups were also responsible for providing cement, sand, rocks, water, and labor for the installation of each lamp.

The street lamps were purchased from a Haitian-owned company based in Port-au-Prince called ENERSA. This is the second year that ENERSA has worked on this project, as they also provided the light poles for the installation in May 2016. Every part of the light pole is locally sourced and purchased in Haiti, and is meant to have a long life span. They are made of strong durable materials, with solar panels that can last over 25 years and LED lights that will last about 10 years.

The new light has had a clear and immediate impact on the community. Small businesses have popped up under the lights, students are able to study after dark, and the community gathers to plan and discuss current events. Not only does light add to the development of an area by serving as a focal point for economic activities, it strengthens community. Immediately following the installation of the lamps, the community began gathering under the new light. They were hanging out, telling jokes, and listening to music. The influence of the new lamps is already spreading across the island, with leaders from other communities traveling to see the lamps and meeting with APDAG to learn how they might acquire similar lamps to light their own communities.

In evaluations that took place with APDAG after the completion of the project, the great majority of community members in attendance marked the project as a real success. The majority of respondents rated “project implementation” as very good or excellent, including on critical elements such as management of time, money, and materials, the efficiency of the planning process, and accomplishing the project’s objective. Excitement about the new lamps was clear at the meeting. As one resident explained, “this was only seen in our dreams before, only in dreams. Even our ancestors never could have imagined this for our community. Not our great grandparents, not our grandparents, not our parents.”

This project would not have been a success without the generous support of donors and sponsors including The New School, USAI Lighting, Vode, Mercury Lighting, and Lumenwerx. If you are interested in getting involved in Roots of Development’s work, or helping us expand this project specifically, write to us at

Thank you for a successful and fun 9th annual fundraiser!

Thank you so much to all who came out to support us at our 9th Annual DC Fundraiser: Back to Our Roots! We are grateful for your support. This year’s event was one of our most fun and most successful events yet. That is thanks to you and to our incredible sponsors Allegis Group and IGT.

2017 DC 9th Annual Fundraiser—Back to Our Roots
Click right and left to scroll through photos from the event.

2017 DC Annual Event PHOTO BOOTH

Click right and left to see fun photos from the photo booth.

 We also want to thank our various event partners that helped us keep expenses down and the event a unique one: Telemundo (financial contribution), Boulder Shares (matching contribution), Suite Four (champagne), Galerie Monnin (artwork), Courvoisier (cocktails), Urban Petals (flowers), Station 4 Restaurant (wine), DMV Haitians and L’Union Suite (press), Cole Hogan and Gerard Kerby Boulin (photography), and the Hyatt Regency Washington (hotel).

We have lots of great art left over from the event. If you are interested in any of the metal art or paintings that were on display at the event, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Write us at or call us at (202) 466-0805.

The 9th Annual Event Host Committee:

Alexandra Alzuphar      Anne-Christele Boigris      Astride Charles     Tricia Desvarieux

Nicole Fischer     Christian Jabon    Anouk Leger

Elodie Manuel     Jezette Pinard    Jennifer Plantin     Rudy Pressoir

Jane Charles-Voltaire    Ernest Voyard     Chris Wells

Roots of Development’s Board of Directors:

Jessica Desvarieux      James O. Martin      Jacopo Namari

Bethany Natoli      Magalie Pradel     Ernest Voyard

In fact, if you are interested in getting involved in next year’s event, either as a partner, sponsor, or as a member of the planning committee, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Thank you for your continued support!