HAITI – World Renew’s commitment to reconciliation and restoration compels us to ensure that the vulnerable and marginalized are considered and included in community development. In Haiti, World Renew hosted a 3-day training session in November for our staff and staff of local partners and networks.
Pat Harper, World Renew’s Evaluation Program Manager, came to Haiti to lead the workshop on Participatory Learning and Action for 27 participants, including representatives from the ACT Alliance and the Integral Alliance of which World Renew is a member.
Participatory Learning and Action facilitates local empowerment by ensuring that it includes a diversity of experience with an emphasis on the participation of the most vulnerable members of the community.
The participatory method considers all aspects of human behaviors and relationships as it trains a group of people or community to collect and analyze data and then plan and act on it in ways that reflect the reality of the entire community.
The workshop allowed the participants to better understand the PLA method and become more confident using its tools. If you’re interested in some of those tools, check out this website for an in-depth look at the PLA toolkit: http://idp-key-resources.org/documents/0000/d04267/000.pdf
During the training, World Renew’s organizational partners reiterated their commitment to empowering their community members in every aspect of development. PLA will allow us and our partners to help our target communities to share, analyze and enhance their knowledge of their life and conditions, and to plan, act, monitor, evaluate and reflect.
World Renew Responds to a 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck northern Haiti on October 6, 2018, battering the areas of Port-de-Paix and Gros Morne. The quake caused widespread devastation, killing 17 and injuring hundreds more.
Over 2200 homes, schools, and churches were damaged and 168 entirely destroyed. Aftershocks have set off alarms in both Port-de-Paix and Gros Morne, causing widespread panic and fears that damaged buildings will further collapse. As a result, classes have been suspended while temporary classrooms are arranged and repair and reconstruction plans are made.
Port de Paix, the capital of the northwest department of Haiti, is often described as the most forgotten area of Haiti. In this city of over 336,000 people, jobs and opportunities are already scarce. The surrounding rural areas are isolated and rely entirely on agriculture for subsistence; poor roads make it difficult to bring crops to market or supplies to the farmers there.
Gros Morne, a much smaller commune of under 8,000 inhabitants, also struggles with poor infrastructure and roads, although the town is well-known for its cultivation of the “Madame Francis” mango.
World Renew’s local partners in Haiti, the Baptist Union of Haiti and PCH, alerted us to the needs of three Episcopal schools and three Protestant schools in Gros Morne and Port de Paix. All six were badly damaged, leaving over 1500 students unable to return to school. World Renew supported the construction of 3 temporary classrooms with metal sheet roofs or tents as well as repair of 3 classrooms.
Savings and Support Change Women’s Lives in Haiti
Mireille Petit-Homme lives in the community of Coraille, on the hills of Leogane. This 56-year-old mother of five sells rice, sugar, corn, millet, and beans in the public market of Dufort, Leogane.
Mireille wisely joined a World Renew-supported village savings and loan association in her community, committing to saving collectively with a group of other members.
With a larger pool of savings than Mireille could ever amass on her own and much lower interest rates than she had been previously paying, the association was able to loan her money that she invested in her business and then repaid with the resulting profits. Association members also participate in social events and activities that underpin their efforts, providing them with a strong support network that promotes success.
“Since I started with the VSLA activities,” she says, “I have been saving money. I received three loans so far and my little business is growing. Now I can feed my children at least twice a day, which wasn’t possible before.”
Mireille strongly believes that the savings and loan association has brought great change to her community, especially in the lives of women in her community, many of whom used to be entirely dependent on their husbands but now own small businesses of their own.
Mireille says “I want to thank World Renew for their commitment to this community. I am so excited about the VSLA. I will pay my loans back completely.”
World Renew Haiti