Leadership Profile - Faradhia Moise

Leadership Profile – Faradhia Moise

Chief Operating Officer Faradhia Moise – Committed Citizen

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has,” —- Margaret Mead

Faradhia Moise is lucky to be alive.

The devastating earthquake of 2010 buried her alive under the rubble of a local grocery store. She was trapped for two days before she was finally discovered and rescued. “The trauma of this experience was life-changing,” says Faradhia. “It inspired me to give back to my homeland.” 

Not long after the earthquake, she participated with a team to run the 2012 ING Marathon held in Miami, FL to raise funds for recovery in Haiti. “It was a very uplifting activity because the team that ran with me was from a mix of nations, but they were united for one cause,” says Faradhia. The funds raised were used towards community projects for the organization she worked for at the time.

Today, Raisin Devlopman is fortunate to have Faradhia as its Chief Operating Officer, helping to lead their efforts to improve quality of Iife for the people of La Gonave.

Faradhia, like the renowned cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, believes that “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can [indeed] change the world.” And she is utilizing Mead’s philosophy in her daily efforts with Rasin Devlopman. “We tend to believe that success is linked to big accomplishments and the use of a significant sum of money. However, success starts with small things—-with the will to engage people to fulfill a dream and to pursue it,” explains Faradhia. “That is why, through my work with Rasin, I continue to encourage our stakeholders to be part of their change, and to accompany them in that sense.”

Faradhia has extensive experience in community development, project management and operations, and advocacy. With an MBA in Management Leadership from the University of Monterrey, Mexico, she was able to further develop her skills with organizations such as World Vision, Save the Children, Plan Haiti and Oxfam. 

“Rasin’s approach was very appealing to me. Working with all stakeholders within a community represents a different way of implementing projects, and, what is more important is that it guarantees sustainability,” explains Faradhia. 

At Rasin Devlopman, Faradhia is responsible for the oversight of the organization’s projects and the management of its finances and human resources, as well as the mobilization of resources (fundraising) and communications between Rasin Devlopman and Roots of Development. Rasin activities focus primarily on capacity-building, civic engagement, and economic development.

“During COVID, we diverged some of our regular programming funds to address the pandemic,” says Faradhia. “But we are now looking forward to raising more funds to maintain our regular programs and focus even more on women’s empowerment, for example.”

It was a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens that rescued Faradhia from the earthquake’s rubble in 2010. Now it is her turn to use her skills to support other groups as they work hard to improve quality of life on the island of La Gonave, Haiti.

Interview by Sharon Callahan

Leadership Profile – Louino Robillard

Program Director Louino “Robi” RobillardEmpowering Communities in Haiti

“I was looking for new opportunities to contribute to positive social change,” says Haitian activist Louino “Robi” Robillard.  A community development expert, Robillard has found those opportunities with Rasin Devlopman on the island of La Gonave.

At only 34-years old, Robi has already made huge inroads into transforming some of Haiti’s most impoverished communities. From replanting deforested areas in the village of Saint Raphael, where he was born, to mobilizing young people in nearby communities to help build Haiti’s largest library, Robi has empowered others to lead — generating positive development without future dependency.

Over the past decade, Robillard, who holds an MA in Applied Community Change and Peacebuilding, has deftly utilized his education, along with his passion, to push for change and  encourage the brightest of young people to take charge of their own futures.

As Program Director for Rasin Devlopman, Robi is overseeing the organization’s work on La Gonave. His position came about as Roots of Development scaled down its involvement in the work on the ground, in order to be more helpful by focusing on communications and fundraising. Rasin Developman now oversees all aspects of the projects on La Gonave and programming in Haiti.

“It is development without dependency at its best,” says Chad Bissonette, Executive Director of Roots of Development. “The entire team in Haiti that is working with our local partners to implement projects on La Gonave is Haitian. They are folks who have lived the challenges and know the culture. They are the most well-equipped to find the solutions and ensure success.”

According to Robi, “’Our young people can learn the skills necessary to advance the quality of life in their own communities, They must become our ‘agents of change,’ maintaining the momentum needed to sustain continued positive development.”

“Things get done when people and communities come together to work for a common cause. In Haiti, we call it ‘konbit’ —the traditional form of a Haitian labor cooperative,” explains Robi. A proponent and teacher of konbit, he has written extensively about this traditional practice and how it can be used to leverage for social cohesion.

Robillard put the tradition to work in 2011, when he co-founded Konbit Soley Leve, which is a social movement in the marginalized area of Cite Soleil that brought together different neighborhoods to create social change. Building on this movement is Konbit Bibliyotèk Site Soley (Cite Soleil Konbit Library), a social mobilization initiative with a goal of building a modern public library in Cite Soleil. In the past three years, over 6,000 individual donors, most of whom are from Cite Soleil, have contributed over 23 million gourdes (approximately $216,000 US) and 25,000 books. Construction of the library is well underway, but the initiative has already changed the dialogue about community-led development in Haiti.

With a Rasin Developman, Robi will utilize Konbit to inspire and train the people of La Gonave to take their development, their future into their own hands. He is identifying promising young leaders and helping them develop the tools to understand and build on their strengths, to build new infrastructure, protect their families from public health threats like COVID-19, and develop more economic activities in their communities. Robi believes that other people will not save Haiti for Haitians, just as other people will not save La Gonave for Gonavians.

“I see Rasin Devlopman as an organization committed to helping bridge local development with global solidarity, leaving behind old forms of aid that promote dependency,” says Robi. “By reaching back into their collective history, identifying their common resources and values, and committing themselves to the long haul, I believe that the people of La Gonave can transform their future.”

Interview by Sharon Callahan

Our COVID-19 activities on La Gonave

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dear Chad,

We just completed Phase 1 of our COVID-19 response plan.

We carried out awareness campaigns in 6 of the 11 communal sections that make up La Gonave and installed more than 80 hand washing stations throughout those six sections. We are in constant contact with our network of community leaders on the island, who continue to evaluate and report back on the situation and maintain the hand washing stations that were installed in their communities. We are in contact with staff at La Gonave’s only hospital and are a member of the COVID-19 emergency response committee that the mayors of Anse-a-Galets and Pointe-a-Raquette formed to respond to this emergency more effectively. The committee includes other elected officials, a representative from the Ministry of Public Health and the hospital in Anse-a-Galets, and various NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that work on the island.

Phase 2 of our plan includes training leaders in the five remaining communal sections of the island and quickly spreading awareness about the virus and distributing prevention materials there. If we are able to raise the funding needed, Phase 2 will also involve supporting the production and distribution of locally sewn masks, and a micro-grant initiative that will put funds directly in the hands of communities leading their own COVID-19 prevention efforts.

By investing in local leadership on the island for the past decade, we have been helping La Gonave prepare for moments just like these. With our community-driven approach to development and our strong network, we are able to support effective emergency response efforts and the following longer-term, recovery efforts in a way that does not compromise future development or resiliency, but instead strengthens local capacity. Increasing evidence and policy guidance have been pointing towards the importance of local leadership in development, crisis response, and post-crisis recovery and resilience. Roots of Development is uniquely situated to accompany the people of La Gonave in their fight against COVID-19.

COVID-19 and La Gonave

La Gonave is in a unique situation in terms of the potential spread and impact of COVID-19 across Haiti. As an island accessible only by boat, the virus may take more time in reaching the island than the rest of the densely populated and interconnected mainland. However, while that isolation may be an advantage in terms of delaying the arrival of COVID-19, it quickly becomes a disadvantage in terms of facing the threat of the virus once it arrives. La Gonave only has one full-service hospital, The Wesleyan Hospital in Anse-a-Galets. The hospital is currently equipped with 40 beds. As of mid-April, based on information obtained by Roots of Development from hospital management, the hospital was in possession of sufficient masks and gloves for staff but did not have sufficient eye protection. The hospital has minimal oxygen capacity (only enough for about 3 or 4 patients) and no ventilators. According to reports, there are only around 60 ventilators in the entire country (Haiti). Testing is not available on the island.

The geographical isolation of La Gonave makes it unlikely for medical reinforcement to arrive in the event of a surge of COVID-19 cases. Supply chain management for basic medical supplies on the island is a challenge in non-emergency times. With reduced movement, closed markets, and other limitations caused by the pandemic, La Gonave’s health systems will struggle to maintain supplies. La Gonave’s isolation as an island also makes it difficult for those with COVID-19 to seek treatment elsewhere.

La Gonave has long been socio-politically marginalized from the mainland. It was largely forgotten in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, and it is likely the same will occur during this emergency. On May 18th, there were 533 reported cases of COVID-19 in Haiti, including 21 deaths. The number of new cases is starting to quickly rise. 

“Haiti, spared a major coronavirus outbreak so far, now a ‘tinderbox’ set to ‘explode’.” – The Washington Post, 5/15/2020

It is essential that we, in partnership with our local partners (island leaders), use this time to educate as many citizens as possible, distribute necessary equipment, and prepare La Gonave for the impact of COVID-19.

Please continue to support our emergency efforts by making a donation today

Sincerely, 

Chad Bissonnette

Executive Director

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:
https://www.mightycause.com/story/recyclingonlagonave


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.


A PARTNERSHIP WITH HARVARD’S KENNEDY SCHOOL

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



PANEL DISCUSSION: A CLOSER LOOK AT ROOTS ON THE GROUND

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.


This Is Why You Support Roots of Development!…

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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.

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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.


DonateNow

 

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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.

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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 DeschampsGalerie MonninR&R ConstructionFondation 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!

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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.


Eventbrite - Roots of Development's 10th Annual Fundraiser in Washington DC


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


Eventbrite - Roots of Development's 10th Annual Fundraiser in Washington DC

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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.

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