Future Generations Haiti - An Overview
Future Generations Haiti promotes community-driven change and accompanies autonomous and successful Haitian communities that reinforces community strengths through the SEED-SCALE methodology, and by promoting inter-community exchanges and solidarity to build socio-economic empowerment that can scale up to a national level for Haiti’s advancement. We believe in community-driven development, in which we our agents accompanying a path to development and empowerment determined by the communities themselves. We see ourselves as students, learning from successful examples of community-driven change and facilitating the spread of local knowledge and experience. Future Generations Haiti also believes in the process of sustainable social change that goes beyond the output-driven traditional development projects.
WHY FUTURE GENERATIONS CAME TO HAITI
After the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January of 2010, the world was focused on the destruction and overwhelming need that was so evident. But what was less evident, and often overlooked, was the robust and resilient community response to the earthquake, with neighbors helping neighbors overcome and recover from the disaster. Seeing that few were focusing on Haiti’s strengths after the disaster, Future Generations decided this was an important moment to begin looking for evidence of community empowerment in the wake of the earthquake.By mid-2011, a young social movement named KonbitSoley Leve had begun to form in Cite Soleil, Haiti’s largest ghetto, and was looking for guidance and mentorship. Seeing this example of community-driven social change, Future Generations decided to establish a presence in Haiti to help provide guidance, training, and support to community change agents in Cite Soleil.
- With no geographic limitations, Future Generations Haiti has agents based in Port-au-Prince (covering the Ouest Department), Jacmel (covering the Southeast Department), St Marc (covering the Artibonite Department), and Cap Haitian and St Raphael (covering the North Department).
- Our initial pilot projects were in the four above-mentioned departments, and therefore our presence and community contacts are strongest in those regions. However, our contacts and networks are growing every week as we identify new communities and initiatives that are inspiring and instructive examples of change in Haiti.
Work we have done in Haiti
Future Generations Haiti created a “Success mapping Initiative” known as Wozo Ayiti where 10 field researchers set out to identify Haitian communities that were successfully driving their own developm ent.
Communities that learned from their peers tended to share and apply what they had learned at home rapidly, and some even continued to train others in their community and others .
Future Generations Haiti team members were instrumental in the organization and implementation of the Haiti residential for Future Generations first peacebuilding cohort, the Class of 2013. Three years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake of January 2010, the focus was on how Haitians unite to bring about sustainable change in their own country. Of particular significance were visits to Sakala, a youth community center in Cite Soleil that works to strengthen the community through athletics, agronomy, and education, and to Haiti Communitere, a community-based organization that works to empower local population. Additionally, in Thomonde, students learned about Project Medishare, an organization committed to improving the health and quality of life of all Haitians.
Future Generations University Alumni
In her research practicum, Savela examines the relationship between sports and other collaborative games and whether or not Future Generations Haiti could use sports to encourage a gradual change in the trends and evolution of prejudices between residents of the community of Cité Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Historically, sports games have been used as a method of social integration and unification between people from different cultures and walks of life, as well as a way to instill national pride among citizens. Savela bases her theory that sports can help in unifying the slums in Cité Soleil on the thoughts of M. Ban Ki-Moon, who is the Secretariat General of the United Nations. He claims that sports are an important factor in social change and peace, and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development goals set up by the United Nations. In Savela’s research, questionnaires, interviews, and documentaries were used to access whether the relations between citizens living inside and outside of Cité Soleil could improve due to unification through sports. Savela concludes that while sports cannot be used as a development tool on its own, sports events between communities can foster psychological comfort needed to boost morale, unify citizens and break down sociocultural and economic borders— all circumstances required to pave the way for peace.
In Louino Robillard's research practicum, he examines the tradition of Konbit in Haiti, a system rooted in rural Haiti in which peasants help each other cultivate the earth. Over the years, Haiti has steadily grown more dependent on foreign aid, causing Haiti to become known as the "Republic of NGOs." Realizing the negative effects that foreign aid has inflicted, including a representation of Haiti as a backward, poor, charity case, Robillard sought to focus his research on a current success in Haiti-- the aforementioned Konbit system. This study uses qualitative research in order to determine how people are performing konbit and the ways in which konbit is interpreted and understood amongst practitioners. Using informal consultations with people in different domains and areas across Haiti, Louino discovered that the four areas where konbit is employed are the agriculture, economic, community, and cultural domains. After completing consultations, Louino drafted a questionnaire and developed case studies and informal focus groups to get his results. He concluded that konbit is not just a traditional cooperative, but a "system of solidarity in which Haitians who are motivated by their consciences voluntarily participate in collaborative action that preserves their livelihoods, their cultures, and their interdependence, in any aspect of life.” Louino believes that if Haiti is without a direction, then going back to konbit will restore solidarity among the people. To do this, he recommends entering konbit into the Haitian constitution, teaching konbit in the educational system, educating international aid organizations on konbit, developing politics of konbit, developing a symbol of konbit, and convincing the Haitian Diaspora to collaborate with their hometowns to include the practice of konbit in development.
McLennan explores the history of Haiti and its relationship with international aid agencies, and analyzes the long-term effects of these agencies in Haiti after the earthquake disaster in 2010. Through her research and personal experience as a rehabilitation worker, McLennan that post earthquake disaster relief efforts in Haiti lack on emphasis on local capacity building, and largely disregards the needs of the disabled population-- which increased significantly after the earthquake. McLennan concludes that relief efforts would be more effective and development initiatives more successful if the focus was on building local leadership skills that help mobilize beneficiaries and providers that are not dependent on outside agencies and expertise.