"There are many complicated things in building a school and this new building is beautiful. It is not a building, it is a work of art, and we did that. Thank you." —Vivianne Vieux, headmistress, École la Dignité, Cayes Jacmel
It has been two years since an earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. Architecture for Humanity's Rebuilding Center in Port-au-Prince has supported the reconstruction effort through the reconstruction of schools, clinics, small businesses and long-term planning efforts. It's been a busy year. We wanted to thank you for your support and give you an update of our progress.
This year, the Rebuilding Center completed four schools and three clinics, inaugurating safer, stronger places for learning and healing. We assisted thousands of (mostly displaced) Haitians, and helped raise the bar for construction standards and design. Six more schools are in various phases of design and construction.
In planning, the Center recently completed the Santo Community Development master plan. Over several months, more than 150 members of a new mixed-use rural community directed the community's composition and confirmed its needs. The invaluable feedback from the charrettes coupled with some serious technical inputs generated a development blueprint (pdf) for rural projects across the country. The first phase of construction is currently under way with residents moving in min February. We're also helping several groups in mapping and early stage community planning in 2012 and we look forward to sharing these plans in the coming year.
We have also surveyed more than 400 businesses to identify small business owners in need of reconstruction assistance in active "economic corridors" in the metro Port-au-Prince region. The center working to partner with four local banks to help these small businesses rebuild. By rebuilding businesses in these key economic corridors, we are working to recover jobs and support Haiti's long-term economic development.
The professional outreach and training aspects of Bati Byen are working to address the challenges of a lack of building code enforcement and poor quality construction in Haiti. Burtland Granvil will be picking up where Stacey McMahan left off as our AIA USGBC Sustainability Design Fellow charged with helping improve construction standards. Bati Byen's mission to advocate for safer building has led to a consumer education initiative - including billboard and radio campaigns activating local resources and invitations to Haitian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other communities to seek design and construction referrals through the Rebuilding Center. We now have a constant stream of 2-3 visitors who stop by the Rebuilding Center each day seeking assistance. In addition to on-the-job training of construction professionals, this program hopes to build consumer awareness of the need for safe building.
Special thanks to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Students Rebuild, the Stiller Foundation, Nvidia and Prudential and many others for their broad support of our projects and programs.
The impact metrics below reflect our work as of January 12, 2012.
Architecture for Humanity: Building Jobs Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
Behind the Scenes: Diandine Global Nomads Group for Students Rebuild
Santo Housing Charrette: July 14, 2011 David Gonzalez for Architecture for Humanity
Architecture for Humanity and Save the Children: Ceverine Frederic King, NYU Schack Institute for Real Estate
Students Rebuild enables stronger, safer schools to open
On the anniversary eve of Haiti's devastating earthquake, Haitian students are celebrating. That's because two new schools supporting 490 students have opened their doors, with three more schools to follow in the coming weeks. Students Rebuild is working with other partners to rebuild schools...with one major difference: the initiative is entirely youth-powered.
More than 1,880 middle and highschoolers worldwide have connected with peers in Haiti and helped raise $650,000 to rebuild Haiti schools. The program included a year-long curriculum and series of Interactive Video conferences between participating Students Rebuild teams and classes from the partnering Haiti schools.
Students Rebuild is a collaborative initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation, Global Nomads Group, Architecture for Humanity and others. Learn more.
Download the Haiti Schools Initiative Report (PDF) Watch A Story of Youth in Action documenting the past year with Diandine, Stacey McMahan and thousands of young humanitarians
Construction Outreach Supervisor Program
The Construction Outreach Supervisor Program brings Haitian engineers in direct and managerial contact with construction to international standards. The Outreach team, based at the Rebuilding Center, travels to job sites to audit construction practices and techniques, providing advice and verifying quality as needed.
The program has been responsible for the safe and timely completion of Architecture for Humanity’s Haiti School Initiative projects. The Rebuilding Center intends to expand outreach to other architectural projects as they enter construction, develop an accreditation system and begin inspecting unaffiliated construction sites on a consultation basis.
Helping Small Businesses
The economic development agency conducted by the Rebuilding Center is currently aimed at the recovery of key economic corridors via urban acupuncture, traffic management, debris removal, and rebuilding small-to-medium enterprises by assisting them to access construction financing in partnership with local banks. Corridor mapping specifically identifies businesses, business types (both pre-quake and post-quake), and the varying rates of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Responding to the threat of economic dead zones and foreign dependency, Architecture for Humanity partnered with ShoreBank International to engage local banks and encourage small business lending. The Rebuilding Center aims to assist local banks with construction oversight and make sure that businesses rebuilt are structurally sound and reduce the risk of loss in the event of future disasters. A short-term pilot for construction financing is in development.
Download Corridors report (pdf) for more information
Rubble Crushing Business Incubator
The rubble crushing business incubator will accelerate development on infill sites for projects across and beyond Port-au-Prince by making rubble a viable and profitable material for site infill. Funding from the Curry Stone Foundation enabled the purchase of rubble crushers to set up businesses. The Center has "road tested" the crushers and is training Haitians in-house to establish small rubble crushing businesses. Crushing is time consuming and labor intensive. It requires tremendous lead time. Making these crushers more suitable for smaller-scale projects. We're looking forward to refining this pilot program at future sites.
Civic Art for Haiti Schools
The earthquake had as devastating an impact on the culture of Haiti as it did on its buildings, streets and lives. There is now the risk that as Haiti rebuilds, much of her culture is forgotten as art and artists are foregone in favor of more utilitarian responses. The Civic Art in Haitian Schools program aims to engage schools as a staging area for civic art installations and facilitate interaction between communities unfamiliar with commissioning civic art and artists unused to working on commission.
Since the Request for Qualifications launch in June 2011, the Rebuilding Center has received enthusiastic engagement from school owners and dozens of portfolios from Haitian artists. A panel of judges consisting of Haitian artist peers, school owners and members of the Rebuilding Center evaluated identified a shortlist-artists that were then led on site visits of participating schools. The artists are now working on their commissioned pieces; fabrication will commence in February with openings expected later this Spring.
Many kind thanks to both Digicel Foundation and Deutsche Bank for supporting this wonderful initiative. Learn more and view artist portfolios.
Academie Timoun with BAR Architects
In 2010, Architecture for Humanity invited San Francisco-based BAR Architects to lead the design and documentation of Academie Timoun, a new rural primary school for 250 children. The result was a unique collaboration, employing decades of collective experience, office-wide participation and top expertise at every stage of design.
After six months of active participation, construction documents were finalized. Work is now proceeding on the first classroom block. We see a lot of potential for similar collaborations in the future. Many profound thanks to everyone at BAR for their dedication, ingenuity and resourcefulness. We have loved having your staff here with us in Haiti.
Monitoring and Evaluation
A monitoring and evaluation system has been established, in collaboration with third party consultants Associates for International Management Services, to better track our projects.
Fourteen Haitians were trained to conduct surveys – a much-needed skill for a place where data and statistics are lacking. We're looking forward to tracking our long-term impact and thank AIMS for their invaluable assistance.
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Co-Founder and Executive Director