I need your help.

I need your help.

Roots of Development

Dear Supporter,
Can you help out? As you probably know, we held our annual fundraiser in D.C. last month. While folks really enjoyed themselves and it was one of our most unique events yet, we unfortunately came away about $6,500 shy of what we needed to raise. We could really use your help making up this difference, as we are about to launch our most ambitious and most impactful project yet.
The Rasin team in Haiti is getting ready to start the next phase of our Local Capacity-Building & Community Development Program on La Gonave. The program is a long-term project aimed at identifying young leaders and strong community-based organizations across the island, and providing them with the skills and support they need to carry out more community-driven development and improve quality of life on La Gonave. This is the largest and most expansive project in our organization’s history, and necessary for transforming La Gonave into the hub of community-driven development that we know it can be.


Please make a donation this month, to help us make up for this deficit of $6,500. Any amount will help. Make a donation online, purchase one of the handmade metal art pieces featured below, or create a fundraiser for Roots of Development on Facebook. We need your help.


Chad Bissonnette
Executive Director

Roots of Development is a 501c3 organization that is audited annually by an independent CPA.

Latest Updates from Our March Trip


Save the Date - SATURDAY, JUNE 8TH

Join us on Saturday, June 8th for our most important and fun event of the year, our annual fundraiser in Washington D.C. This year we have a brand new venue and a very special performer coming to town! So mark your calendars.

We are counting on your support.

Tickets will be available later this month on Eventbrite!

Roots of Development and a delegation of leaders from
La Gonave celebrate the end of a year-long program
on Leadership and Community Development

A group of leaders from La Gonave recently traveled to the town of St. Raphael, in the north of Haiti, to join other community leaders from around the country to share stories of success and reinforce a commitment to local leadership and development.

Image of delegation from La Gonave

The leaders came together to celebrate the end of the year-long program run by our friends CLE (Le Centre Haitien du Leadership et de L’Excellence), to network with one another, and to discuss community development efforts they have been working on in diverse locations throughout the country.

Image of community leaders sharing success stories

The goal was to highlight local leaders and communities who are effectively using local resources to manage their own development.

Leaders gathered from all over the country.
Of all the community groups participating, the delegation from La Gonave traveled the farthest and represented the island well! In fact, a member of the La Gonâve delegation, Freda Catheus, served on a panel, fielding questions and presenting on the community efforts currently taking place on the island.Image of community leader Freda CatheusFreda Catheus is a community organizer who works with our partners Beyond Borders and has been supporting community development efforts on La Gonâve for decades.We are grateful for Freda’s work, for CLE’s leadership and commitment to La Gonave, and for the financial support from the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) that made this program possible.

Pwogram Lidechip pou Devlopman Kominote

 Roots of Development plans on continuing to provide leaders on La Gonave with the support they need to increase and strengthen local development efforts on the island. We plan on carrying out a local capacity-building program in 2019 that will build off of these workshops and provide our partners with further opportunities to develop their leadrship and organizational management skills.

For more information, visit:

Status Update:
Recycling Collection Centers on La Gonave

Due to several unforeseen events in and out of Haiti, the opening of the recycling centers on La Gonave has been delayed. However, we are excited to announce they are finally going to open and be in operation later this month!

Many residents on La Gonave have already begun collecting plastics and storing them in their homes in anticipation of the opening of the centers. We are taking this as a very good sign, a sign of the impact and potential scale of the project.

Image of residents collecting plastics

The Roots team has been doing the best it can with the limited resources it has to help set these centers up on the island, but we could really use your support. We still need to raise another $1,942 to provide ongoing support to this project.


Please consider helping us with this initiative
by making a donation here: https://www.mightycause.com/story/RecyclingonLaGonave

Partnering with Beyond Borders and Community Leaders on La Gonave to Map Resources on the Island

Last week, Roots of Development met with another like-minded organization working on La Gonave called Beyond Borders. We met at our office space in Anse-a-Galets to sign an MOU that formalizes our commitment to work more closely with one another and outlines the principles with which we will carry out our efforts.

Signing an MOU with Beyond BordersAfter signing the agreement, we immediately began planning our first activity together: a survey and mapping exercise that we will use, in partnership with local authorities, to collect information and identify resources found in the island’s various communal sections that can support future community-development projects.We then met with Mayor Ernso Louissaint to inform him of our partnership, update him on current activities, and reiterate our commitment to community-led development.

Image of meeting with the mayor    Image of meeting with the mayor

The Mayor's office in Anse-a-Galets


As you know, every year for the past six years we have organized a dance fundraiser in Willimantic, Connecticut. Hundreds of friends and family from all over New England come out to dance and raise money for Roots of Development’s unique and important work in Haiti. This year, we are unable to hold the event and are faced with the reality of losing aroun $13,000 in funding (donations) that we rely on to carry out our work every year. We need your help.

Please consider making a donation to Roots this month, to help us make up for this significant loss. Tickets to attend the fundraiser were $25. Then at the dance, folks often bought raffle tickets or a piece of Haitian metal art. If you and every other person receiving this newsletter made a contribution of just $25, we could easily recover these funds we rely on!
85 percent of our funding comes from individuals like you

We really do not want to lose the momentum our work has created over the past two years, since we expanded on the island. To continue doing our unique and important work, everything you just read about in this newsletter, we need your continued support.

Please help us avoid losing these funds that we rely on every year.
Please make your donation today.



Roots of Development is audited annually by an independent CPA


We need your help!

Roots of Development needs your help raising funds for three important projects

Please donate today

We need your help raising funds for three important,
upcoming projects before the year ends!

About 85% of our funding comes from individuals like you. In order to do the impactful work we do year in and year out, we rely on your support. Please help us raise the funds needed to implement three key projects before the year ends. Learn more about each one of these projects below and make your contribution today!

Our Featured Projects

PROJECT #1: Recycling on La Gonave

Litter lining La Gonave's coast

One of La Gonave’s greatest assets is its beauty. Tourism has the potential to be a major source of revenue and employment for the island. However, plastics and other trash have started lining the coastlines of the island and filling towns and cities. There has been no program, private or public, to collect and remove trash. Until now!

Roots of Development is partnering up with Environmental Cleaning Solutions S.A. (ECSSA), a private Haitian company that has been collecting trash and recyclable goods throughtout Haiti for over 8 years.

We will be helping ECSSA find four collection site managers, introduce them to the island’s local authorities, help spread the word amongst the general public about the new recycling services (and employment opportunity/s), and provide ECSSA with some on-the-ground oversight. 

Process of transforming collected trash

Learn more about this project and make your donation here!

Donate Here

PROJECT #2: Community Project Fund

Community-Led Initiatives


In order to provide encouragement and support to the numerous local leaders and dynamic community groups carrying out exciting community-led projects all across the island, we need to develop a fund that can support those projects and continue improving quality of life on the island. 

Over the years, we have developed good relationships with leaders and community groups from across the island, through their participation in formal workshops and trainings and informal gatherings. We have worked hard to help them strengthen their organizational management capacity, by providing them with access to important workshops and experienced facilitators.

Planning a community-led development project with a partner


To help these leaders and community groups bring these skills and trainings from the theoretical to the practical, we want to be able to provide them with financial support for projects they are already carrying out in their communities or hope to carry out in the near future. These projects represent their greatest priorities and address their greatest development challenges.

We hope to be able to raise enough money to fund the projects of a couple of model community groups each year to help them further strengthen their organizational capacity and improve the quality of life in their community.

A community-led development project in action
To learn more about this project and make a donation to the fund click here!

Donate Here

PROJECT #3: Annual Workshops to Build Local Capacity

Local leaders meeting to learn about development management and capacity building

It is crucial that we continue providing local leaders and community-based organizations with opportunities to strengthen their organizational management capacity. For development efforts and investments to truly be sustainable, they need to be owned and led by the community, but that community must have the opportunity to reinforce its strengths and strengthen its weaknesses.

“A project is only as strong as the community managing it.”

Help us provide four professional workshops each year to leaders from all parts of La Gonave, to learn skills needed to better manage development on the island: financial management, program management, business development, and leadership.
Local leaders involved in the workshops

Each of these workshops are multi-day and led by professional Haitian facilitators experienced in organizational management skills, leadership, and community development. The subjects and skills taught during the workshops address the greatest needs and priorities of our local partners, as identified by them. We have been carrying out these workshops for years, but decided to scale them up to include leaders from across the island in March 2018, with our partner institution CLE (Centre Haitien du Leadership et de l’Excellence).

Please help us provide these important workshops to the leaders of La Gonave by
making a contribution today  

Donate Here!

Roots of Development is a 501c3 organization that is audited annually by an independent CPA.

Updates from Roots of Development

Roots of Development

Exciting updates from our recent trip to Haiti, including a partnership to restore the beauty of La Gonâve…

We are excited to announce we are going to be helping Environmental Cleaning Solutions S.A. (ECSSA) set up four recycling (collection) centers on the island of La Gonâve to begin cleaning up the towns and the coastline, so La Gonâve can get back to its original beauty. Materials like bottles, styrofoam and plastics cover the coastline of La Gonâve. Most of these goods are not even produced by residents of La Gonâve, but are carried over by the sea from mainland Haiti. Currently, the island has no trash collection services and residents have almost no way of of recycling plastics.

Coastline of La Gonave littered with trash

The collection centers will pay residents (per lb.) for the recyclable goods they collect and bring to the center. The centers will be run by Haitian entrepreneurs and create economic opportunities for many living on the island. Once a large enough quantity has accumulated amongst the collection sites, ECSSA will then come with boats to collect the goods and bring them back to their main collection site in Port-au-Prince, where they will then be transformed and/or packed up to be sold to buyers overseas.

Recycling and transformation at ECSAA's central collection site

Our partnership with ECSSA developed out of our ongoing goal to promote La Gonâve and get more organizations and businesses involved and active on the island. It aligns with our mission to improve quality of life on the island and support development initiaties that can be managed and led by local residents.

Be sure you follow Roots of Development on Facebook to be kept up-to-date on this and other exciting opportunities now happening on La GonâveConnect with us here.

Introduction to La Gonâve, Haiti

Unique shots from around La Gonave, Haiti

For over ten years, Roots of Development has focused its efforts almost exclusively on the island of La Gonâve, Haiti.

La Gonâve is Haiti’s largest island. In fact, La Gonâve is the largest of Hispaniola’s satellite islands. It is located to the west-northwest of Port-au-Prince, in the Gulf of Gonâve, and is part of Haiti’s Ouest Department. It is home to approximately 100,000 residents, which is a larger population than the majority of the territories and nations that make up the Caribbean. The indigenous Taínos called the island Guanabo.


The unique beauty of La Gonave

The island faces huge challenges, a major lack of infrastructure, a weak private sector, and very little attention from the national government, but it also has huge potential. It is a beautiful island, located in a strategic location, with picturesque coasts and acres of farmland. It has a large population, which represents a large, untapped market for goods and services, and it faces very few security concerns. The island is home to a group of strong local elected officials and an active civil society.

To learn more about La Gonâve, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX9nde2RZe

Video about La Gonave

Continued Capacity Building in Communities!

Community leaders sit to discuss measuring the capacity of their organizations

During our last trip to Haiti, we met with leaders around the island to get their input on how best to measure the organizational capacity of community groups, organizations, and associations. Every aspect of our work is done in partnership with the communities and community leaders we work with on La Gonâve. Even the selection of indicators we use to measure a community group’s capacity, to measure our impact, is done in in partnership with those communities. This participatory evaluation strategy ensures our projects are fully inline with the priorities of a community and leads to greater development without dependency.

We also signed an agreement (an “ako”) with the community association AAPLAG, to work together over the next three years to strengthen local capacity and improve quality of life on La Gonave. AAPLAG mobilizes communities to carry out projects and development activities to create a safe and productive society. The organization has been active for over 30 years and has completed projects independently as well as in partnership with large international organizations across the entire island. We are excited to see the bigger and stronger impact this partnership will bring.


Roots of Development signs a partnership agreement with AAPLAG

By working to increase the capacity of residents and officials on La Gonave to plan and design their own community driven development projects, the results are stronger and more sustainable. We continuously strive to be an example of how development can and should be done, setting the bar higher for NGOs and other charitable organizations like us.

To continue doing all the unique and impactful work that we do, everything you are reading about in this newsletter, we need your continuous support. Please remember to donate when you can. All donations, regardless of size, make a difference.  



Getting Involved in KONBIT

In an effort to strengthen the projects we support, our own capacity as an organization, and to bring greater opportunities to the island of La Gonave, we are getting involved in the USAID funded program KONBIT, which is run by the Haitian firm Papyrus.

KONBIT, an initiative of USAID led by Papyrus

We have met to discuss their mission and how the services they are providing can benefit Roots and our local partners on La Gonâve. The word KONBIT, in Creole, refers to “teamwork.” The project aims to establish comprehensive capacity development services for Haitian civil society organizations, so that they are better equipped to implement their own solutions to the country’s greatest development challenges. Papyrus, the implementing agency for this project, hopes to increase the number of local development partners that are capable of effectively competing for and managing USAID resources.

Partnerships like these, when added to the support we receive from individuals like you, help Roots grow… and increase our impact on La Gonave. Stay tuned for more details on how we end up using this interesting opportunity.



Roots of Development is a 501c3 organization that is audited annually by an independent CPA.
Flowing Tree w/ birds
Straight Tree

Like what you see? At our 10th Annual Fundraiser in DC we sold handmade Haitian metal art made by local craftsmen in the town of Croix des Bouquets. Historic to Haiti, this unique form of artwork is made from flattened metal drums, once used to transport oil, then carved into beautiful pieces of art. The following pieces are still available. Reach out to info@rootsofdevelopment.org if interested in purchasing a piece of art for $100, all proceeds support ongoing projects on La Gonâve.