2019 Roots of Development Year in Review

2019 Roots of Development Year in Review

In spite of huge, ongoing challenges in Haiti, we are about to complete one of our most successful (impactful) years yet.

Here is a look back at what we accomplished this year, as well as 4 ways you can support Roots before the end of the year…

A plastics collection and recycling center on La Gonave

In April of this year, we helped open a plastics collection center on the island of La Gonave. We worked with the Haitian company ECSSA (who is a partner of the international organization 4Ocean), the mayor of Anse-a-Galets, and the residents of La Gonave to open a business that purchases plastic trash from residents and then transports them to a facility in Port-au-Prince where they get recycled.

The recycling program is not just a way to clean up the island, it also creates jobs and gives residents an opportunity to make money. Residents collect plastics from the streets of town and along the coastline and then bring their sacks to the collection center to sell the plastics by the pound (lb.).

Once enough plastics have been collected by the collection center, ECSSA comes to collect and purchase the plastics from the owner of the center. ECSSA transforms the plastics in Port-au-Prince and sells them to international clients who export them to other countries to make diverse products sold around the world.

The recycling initiative has the opportunity to have a significant impact on the island, both environmentally and economically.

For more information visit:

GIVING OPTION #1 – Shop on Amazonsmile

It is the same selection of products at the exact same price, but a percentage of every purchase you make on Amazonsmile is donated to Roots of Development. Help us raise funds by making your holiday purchases on Amazonsmile.

Click here to learn more about donating to Roots through Amazonsmile.

A new installation of solar street lamps

Roots of Development, in partnership once again with lighting designer Chad Groshart, worked with a group of community leaders on the island of La Gonave to install another set of solar street lamps.

We invited three of the strongest and most committed community groups we work with to submit a proposal for installing solar lamps in their community/s. In doing so, the groups got a chance to practice the skills they had been developing in our workshops and trainings together: how to bring residents together to make community decisions, proposal and budget writing, and identifying and leveraging local resources.

A committee was created to evaluate each of the proposals based on a set of criteria that included clarity of the proposal, community participation, and management/maintenance plan. The communal section of Petit Anse had the strongest proposal and was able to bring sustainable lighting to their community this year.

It was a community affair that brought together both the theoretical and practical components of our work, of our community-driven, capacity-building approach to development.

GIVING OPTION #2 – Make a donation by Dec 31st

We need to raise $5,399 before the end of the year to cover last minute project expenses and balance our budget so that we don’t start 2020 with a deficit, which would have an impact on staff and our programs. We need your help!

Please make your final tax-deductible contribution of 2019 today! You can either send a check to Roots of Development at 1366 C Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002 or make an online donation.

Writing a Communal Development Plan for La Gonave

We have partnered with the Pan American Development Foundation to support the mayor of Anse-a-Galets and various leaders from around the commune in writing the first-ever development plan for the commune (which represents half of the geographical area of La Gonave and is home to more than half of the island’s population).

The effort to develop the plan involves mobilizing the local population, helping them identify and map out resources that exist in the commune, researching the history of development on the island, and organizing the population’s priorities into a single roadmap for all to focus on. The entire process will take over a year, but folks will be much better equipped to lead and manage their own development once its complete. Join us in congratulating PADF, our team down in Haiti, and the local leaders of the commune of Anse-a-Galets for the successful launch of a project that will bring long-lasting benefits to the island of La Gonave.

An Island-Wide Leadership and Community Development Program: Twa Woch Dife

Despite facing a wide range of challenges, La Gonâve has tremendous potential to become a hub of strong community-led development.

Building on previously successful capacity-building workshops, Roots of Development has launched a comprehensive, multi-year, community development program designed to strengthen local leadership and improve quality of life on the island – with the hope that La Gonave becomes a model for the rest of the country.

During a four-stage program, 18 established young individual leaders will be taught the fundamentals of community-driven development (CDD) and trained to become agents of change for the island. There will be 3 representatives selected from each of the 6 communal sections of Anse à Galets, with each representing a different community-based organization (CBO). In a bottom-up model for transformation, they will go on to teach their home organizations and communities, creating a network of active citizens with a strong understanding of CDD.

The first phase, which began early in August, included the selection of the community leaders and their initial training. Leaders were selected based on some of the following criteria: strong engagement and leadership in their CBO, recognized and respected across the commune, commitment to the inclusion of women and other marginalized groups, etc.

For more details about this project, click here.

We are grateful to the above partners for their financial support of this project.

GIVING OPTION #3 – Start a birthday fundraiser on Facebook

It literally takes two seconds to set up, and you can raise hundreds of dollars for Roots of Development in just a couple days.

Click here to find out how to create your fundraiser.


With the support and guidance of Board Member Rudy Brioché, we teamed up with a graduate student from Harvard’s Kennedy School, Miles Roman, to evaluate our work and learn more about community-driven development (CDD) practices around the world.

Mr. Roman took a deep dive into Roots of Development’s approach and compared it to the efforts of other organizations doing CDD work in Haiti and elsewhere around the globe. He engaged with representatives from local and national governments, international organizations, and local community groups across La Gonâve and Port-au-Prince.

At the end, Mr. Roman provided Roots with a final report that included an analysis of our work, a comparison to best practices around the world, and recommendations for making our organization stronger. It was a great opportunity for Roots as we never could have done this level, or quality, of research ourselves with the limited resources we have. His work has already helped us become a better organization and strengthen our impact on the island.

GIVING OPTION #4 – Buy a piece of Haitian metal art from our online store

Shop Roots of Development’s online store for a unique piece of Haitian metal art. They are beautiful, one of a kind gifts for friends and family and great decorations for your home.

Each piece is handmade and made from recycled oil drums and 100% of your purchase goes to our work in Haiti.

Browse the collection at: store.rootsofdevelopment.org


On Tuesday, November 5th, 2019, Roots of Development’s Board of Directors hosted a special event in Washington D.C. to promote transparency and provide greater insight into our work in Haiti.

The event gave supporters the chance to meet our Haiti-based staff who shared firsthand accounts about the challenges of implementing our work in Haiti’s current climate.

The panel also featured the findings of an independent study that compared Roots’ community-driven development approach to other models in Haiti and around the world.