Our expansion on the island of La Gonave is underway, and it has introduced us to a new group of dynamic leaders who are leading some truly inspiring community-driven development activities.
4-days of workshops on leadership, community, and economic development
From March 26th to March 29th, we carried out a series of workshops centered on Leadership, Community and Economic Development. The workshops were funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and carries out in partnership with CLE Haiti (Haitian Center for Leadership and Excellence). After months of planning, over 75 community leaders and government officials from across the island came together to participate in these workshops. They met other like-minded community leaders and focused on strengthening their capacity in various areas that will help them improve quality of life on the island.
The first three days of the program consisted of skills-building activities and included a presentation on the tools involved in “ABC Development” (Asset-Based Community Development), which is development that is driven by local resources and local leadership. A special emphasis was also given to economic development, including a program on budgeting and value chains. Other workshops included a discussion on civic engagement and more collaborative and effective leadership.
The last day of the workshops was specifically dedicated to women leaders, and their role in the development of their communities. The women came from all parts of the island and included merchants, beauticians, activists, students, mothers, health promoters, government officials and more. A day focused on, and with, only woman participants provided a different dynamic and a discussion that takes into account the unique realities women leaders face in their communities. It ensured a strong representation of women in the program and a unique networking opportunity for the female leaders of La Gonave.
After the completion of these four days of workshops, participants were encouraged to return to their communities and organize their own workshops to share the information learned. Our staff will continue to follow up with those leaders and communities, reiterating the concepts and answering any questions that come up. We saw the emphasis on community-driven development really resonated with participants, and we expect it to make its way deeper into the approach and strategies used by local leaders on the island.
Additionally, after the first set of workshops was completed, two outstanding leaders were invited to participate in a Master Training Program (MTP), managed by our partner CLE and held in the north of Haiti a week later. Venicia Dacius and Gabriel Vadner, two elected local government representatives (CASEC) from two different communal sections on La Gonave took part in the two-week Master Training Program. Participants of the program were trained in specific competencies to then become “facilitators” themselves. They are now capable of, and expected to lead short technical training modules (PLTTPs) for leaders and organizations working in their communes.
“Organizational capacity building is both an end in itself and a means for increasing the power of citizens and communities.” – CLÉ Haiti
One of the biggest challenges to development work that is based on capacity-building, is measuring and demonstrating its impact. Unlike building a new school or hospital, the results are not necessarily seen immediately. However, it is only a local population’s ability to manage and maintain those buildings that makes it sustainable.
Roots of Development has worked intensely over the last year to find ways to better measure the impact our workshops have on participants, as individuals and on the communities they represent. In partnership with CLE Haiti and Hilltop Consulting of Georgetown University, we developed tools to assess the effectiveness and usefulness of these recent workshops and to track their impact over the coming months and years.
At the end of the four days, participants were asked for their feedback on the workshops such as which subjects were most and least helpful to them and which subjects they hope will be covered in the future.
Their feedback will help us understand which subjects are of greatest use to them and evaluate how their understanding of certain concepts has changed. Many of the comments shared with us gave us great insight into how participants are understanding the role of civil society after the completion of the workshops…
“We have to take the responsibility to change our community.”
“I will organize meetings to share with others what I have learned.”
“I think that if we apply what we learned here, we can solve many problems that we have faced for a long time.”
This program is part of Roots of Development’s long-term strategy of identifying and supporting a wide network of community leaders on the island of La Gonave, and providing them with opportunities to strengthen their organizational capacity in order to more effectively and more sustainably improve quality of life on the island. Roots of Development has always believed that investing in the capacity of the local population is the most sustainable approach to development: “Development Without Dependency” or if you prefer “Devlopman grès kochon kwit kochon”!
Please continue to support Roots’ activities. These programs, the follow-up that must be done afterwards, and the constant strengthening of our programs depend greatly on your continued support.
A visit to La Gonave by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)
Our last trip to Haiti was also important in that we started a new relationship with an important partner that we hope will get more and more involved in La Gonave’s development. We hosted the Pan American Development Foundation’s Country Director for Haiti, Nadia Cherrouk, as well as one of their senior community development specialists for a two-day tour of La Gonave.
We invited them out to get a better understanding of the island’s needs and its potential, and to explore ways in which they can bring their experience and expertise to the island to reinforce the work of local leaders and their communities. While visiting the island, they met with the mayor of Anse-a-Galets (La Gonave’s larger commune) and other government representatives and community leaders from around the island, communities up in the mountains and along its coastline.
The visit was productive, and has already resulted in introductions to companies that work in clean water and recycling. Together we are exploring programs we can bring to the island to address some of its greatest needs, include trash collection and recycling, access to clean water, economic development and community capacity-building. The visit of the Pan American Development Foundation is the first of what we hope will be many more visits by like-minded organizations that are willing to support local development efforts on the island of La Gonave.
A Powerful Video to Bring Attention to La Gonave
We are almost all set to produce our video about La Gonave! We have raised the funds needed (from a group of generous Haitian companies) and selected the production company in Haiti that will film and produce the video for us. We are coordinating with local officials and community groups to identify the most important sites to capture in the video, interviews to carry out, and projects to highlight.
The goal is to produce an attractive and intriguing video about La Gonave that will bring greater attention to the island. We plan to highlight its greatest challenges and showcase its tremendous potential, in order to attract more partners to get involved in the sustainable development of the island.
A Haitian multimedia/video production company called Muska Group will be filming and putting the video together for us. And, as we mentioned earlier, funding for the video came entirely from a group of Haitian companies dedicated to our work on La Gonave. Those companies include Maison Henri Deschamps, Galerie Monnin, R&R Construction, Fondation Sogebank, and others. On behalf of Roots of Development and all our stakeholders and community partners on La Gonave, thank you so much for your generosity. This exciting and important video would not have been possible without your support!
The video will be completed by the end of June and premiered at our annual event in D.C. on Saturday, June 23rd. Stay tuned!
Tickets to our Annual Event in Washington D.C. are Now Available!
Show your support! Roots of Development’s largest and most important fundraising event of the year, held in Washington D.C., will take place this year on Saturday, June 23rd 2018.
Diverse and influential guests, business and political leaders, media and entertainment personalities gather in D.C. to celebrate Haiti and support Roots of Development’s unique approach to development.
Food and cocktails will be served and are included in your ticket, as are many other exciting activities such as live music, dancing, artwork, notable guests, a silent auction, etc. And we have a couple of truly unique surprises up our sleeve this year, in celebration of the event’s 10th anniversary!
Be sure to join us. You and your guests will be educated, inspired, and treated to the very best Haiti and Roots have to offer!
Get your tickets now: https://roots10thannual.eventbrite.com
Another thank you to all those who supported our CT fundraiser in March
Roots of Development’s 6th annual CT dance fundraiser took place this year on Saturday, March 24th. It was successful and a lot of fun. Thank you to all who showed up, to the organizers Linda and Peter Jacques for their time, energy, and steadfast commitment to Roots, and to all our corporate sponsors. Without your support, this event would not be the success it is every year. Thank you.