Preparing for the Next Step: CDECH Capacity-Building Workshops

Preparing for the Next Step: CDECH Capacity-Building Workshops

At Roots, we don’t just do development…we build a foundation that creates an environment for development to happen. By going beyond just creating infrastructure, Roots invests in the ability of local partners to effectively establish a structure so they can manage projects in their own community. For the past year, APDAG, our partner in Haiti, has been participating in valuable capacity-building training workshops. Capacity-building addresses different organizational management skills such as financial planning and project development that are designed to help APDAG to take a more independent role in developing, implementing, and sustaining projects in their community.

Members of APDAG participate in a capacity-building exercise


To run and help manage these capacity-building workshops, Roots partnered with CDECH, a Haitian community development leadership association. CDECH first began the capacity-building process by evaluating what skills needed to be developed within APDAG and then tailored workshops to target these specific skills.


CDECH’s diagnosis showed that the thing that needed to be accomplished in the first phase of workshops was to create a uniform understanding of the organization’s common purpose and goals. This first phase consisted of in-depth analysis of APDAG’s future vision as well as an exploration of community development and the process of leadership. This step was supplemented with additional workshops building a foundation of practical basic management skills, such as running a meeting and writing a report.


Effective administration and organization is a cornerstone of CDECH’s capacity-building workshops

After this initial phase, APDAG and CDECH then dived into more detailed workshops on project management, administration, and community mobilization. These workshops covered a wide range of topics ranging from budget development and accounting to conflict management and negotiating with external partners. These topics guaranteed that APDAG’s skillset could become as well rounded as possible.


Over the past year, APDAG has immediately started putting these skills to practice. APDAG’s proficiency in management skills has directly translated into improved practice: APDAG gained a better understanding of theimportance of accountability. In a short span of time, meetings have been more productive by setting agendas in advance and keeping minutes to refer to in the future. APDAG has also improved its professionalism, which makes it possible for them to make new partnerships. Their budgets, for example, used to be handwritten and submitted infrequently, but have transformed to professionally typed on letterhead. APDAG’s increasing proficiency in computer skills also added to their professionalism as well as their ability to make new connections.


Post-Hurricane Sandy repairs to water facility managed by APDAG

APDAG’s improved organizational management skills have made a direct impact on their ability to implement community development projects.  For example, the repairs recently completed on the Gran Sous water facility was almost entirely handled by APDAG. This progress demonstrates APDAG’s ability to work together as a single organized unit towards a common goal. APDAG will continue to apply the skills they learned in the capacity-building workshops into practice.


We hope you stay tuned to see APDAG continue to grow and gain greater independence beyond Roots!



Support these workshops by contributing to our End of Year Campaign! 

End of the Year Holiday Update

With the year coming to a close, Executive Director Chad W. Bissonnette looks back to some of our greatest 2014 accomplishments and what is in store for our 2015 goals. You hear directly from APDAG’s treasurer, Jony Carmil (in Haiti) about what APDAG’s goals are and what he feels makes the strongest approach to development.


To fulfill our present commitments and future endeavors, Roots is in need of $15,000 in contributions before the end of the year. We’ll be kicking this campaign of with #GivingTuesday! Between now and December 2nd, your donation goes further thanks to a matching donor who will DOUBLE donations up to $1,500. Help us make the most of it! Learn more about the campaign here


Tickets on Sale! Carnival in the Capital – June 29th


Join us for the 5th DC annual fundraiser Carnival in the Capital!  DC’s stunning, award-winning Shakespeare Theatre will transform into a Haitian carnival where guests will get a taste of the islands as they enjoy delectable hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.  The night will include a live musical performance by a traditional Haitian Rara band, DJA RARA, as you mingle with other supporters and VIP guests.  The evening will be capped with an awards ceremony to honor this year’s recipient of the Max Pulgar-Vidal award, His Excellency Ambassador Paul G. Altidor.

Take advantage of our advanced ticket prices by purchasing before May 31st.

Save the Date: Carnival in the Capital


Mark your calendars for June 29th when DC’s Tony award-winning Shakespeare Theatre will transform into a masquerade ball that will bring all sorts of carnival-themed music, activities, and VIP guests to the nation’s capital.  Guests will be treated to Haitian hors d’oeuvres and Caribbean-inspired cocktails.  For more details check the Upcoming Events page.

Tickets will be available beginning on May 1st.

GFDAG Business Report

In mid-September of last year, GFDAG embarked on an exciting community business venture. They opened a store selling non-perishable food items to surrounding communities. Since opening, the business has had an unpredictable amount of success. By the end of November, only two and half months after their opening, GFDAG reported a profit of US$3000 (a 20% return on the original investment of $15,000). Due to increasing demand, the store has started having to replenish its inventory almost every 20 days.


With such success, GFDAG has had to reevaluate their business’s short term and long-term objectives. A part of that reassessment involved prioritizing reinvestment and expansion. Enduring the possibility

 of theft, poor weather conditions, and unpredictable public transportation, the women have had to make more frequent trips to Port au Prince to meet the demand of increased sales. Reinvesting their profits has increased inventory available and will ultimately reduce these unsafe trips.

To help with expansion costs, GFDAG has considered loan options. However, the lack of capital and apprehension over interest rates has made this option impractical. With this in mind, Roots of Development is preparing to make a second investment in GFDAG’s business.  Once an additional $9,000 is raised, Roots of Development’s financial commitment to the business will have been met.


Once GFDAG has increased their profits significantly, the women would like to either rent or build a larger store to expand the business’ size GFDAG also plans to hire permanent employees for the store as they are currently operating with the help of two volunteers. They also seek to install solar panels to bring electricity to their store. This would create better security for the employees and volunteers working at the store in the evenings. Although re-investment is GFDAG’s top priority at the moment, they have not lost sight of their original goal to support the orphans and vulnerable children of the community with greater educational opportunities. The success of this initiative, however, depends on the success of the business.


Overall, the members of GFDAG have already seen a positive impact in their community since the establishment of the business. Before the business opened, people in the community had to travel miles by boat and public transportation get food and other basic needs. They would even have to wake up at as early as 5 am or 6 am to begin the journey. Since the opening of the store, the women in the community no longer need to travel from La Gonave to Port-au-Prince to get the items they need. This has truly improved the quality of life for members of the community, eliminating an arduous journey and saving them money.