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May 11, 2016

Girl Power!

Girl Power!

The Colorado Haiti Project (CHP) and our partners at St. Paul’s school understand that when a girl has the opportunity to go to school and finish her education that this access to knowledge and resources develops her mind, and empowers her to make her voice heard as a leader and active agent for change in her community.   We understand that she is more likely to marry later if she has more years of schooling, and her children will be twice as likely to attend primary school than if she had not received an education herself.


We understand that if we are to achieve long-term and sustainable positive change and development in Petit Trou that we need to scale-up our support to girls at St. Paul’s school and the surrounding community.  In April of this year CHP launched a five-year initiative aimed at increasing the number of girls who complete grades 1-9 at St. Paul’s school from 15% to 50%.  We know that 50% is too low, but, we also understand that to meet this goal cultural norms and economic practices must shift; and community buy-in for long term uptake will take time.   


Program Launched!


1)  Girl’s Support and Mentoring Program:  

In late March the CHP launched our Girl’s Empowerment (GEM) program at St. Paul’s.  Our first efforts focused on partnering with the Haitian Adolescent Girl’s Network to implement a detailed resource survey at St. Paul’s and the surrounding community.  The information from this survey will help guide program activities that we will conduct with the girls at school, and with their families and other community members.  It will give us a good picture of resources that are available to girls at the school and in the surrounding community, and highlight where there are gaps.  


Our next step will focus on training teachers and local female leaders at St. Paul’s, as well as at the high school in Petit Trou, to develop a program for girls ages 8-18 that will provide education and mentoring opportunities aimed at keeping girls engaged with school and their education.  Teachers will receive training and educational materials from Haitian instructors on how to better support girls at school, and more appropriately address the unique difficulties often faced by girls.  CHP will also pilot a peer education program using materials tested and proven elsewhere in Haiti that focus on healthy lifestyles and peer- to- peer support to resolve common problems.   


2)  Education and Outreach to Girl’s Families and the Broader Community:   

CHP knows that many times even if a girl is doing well in school and wants to continue her education, that she is often compelled to leave school by her family to help at home.  CHP is using our access to community leaders to disseminate key messages and information to the broader community around the importance and benefits of letting girls complete their education.  Community leaders receive materials and training to empower them to deliver messages during community events such as town councils, growth monitoring, markets, and home visits.  


Bringing in the support of community leaders, and coupling that with our girl’s empowerment activities at St. Paul’s, we hope to fundamentally shift the participation of girls in continuing education both at, and beyond St. Paul’s.  

The GEM Initiative is just one of several new educational and empowerment opportunities that CHP is supporting through our partners at St. Paul’s.  Only through your support have we been able to arrive at this position, and it will be only through your support that we will be able to continue to ensure that kids have all the opportunities they can to succeed and create a stronger Petit Trou de Nippes, and a better Haiti.   


Feb 12, 2016

The Future of Connectivity in Petit Trou, Haiti

Connecting St. Paul’s School

In Petit Trou, Haiti electricity and the Internet is very hard to come by. Right now, the only source of connection is through a phone data plan, which is not sufficient for classroom learning.

In the fall of 2015, with the help of a Microsoft team member, the Colorado Haiti Project began working towards computer literacy and connectivity. While we have yet to receive Internet access, we have started teaching up-to-date computer skills including typing, Microsoft Office and even an English Language program to students starting in 4th grade.  The students start each day with their typing practice. Right now they are all working on autobiographies in Word and a classroom PowerPoint.

This January, the teachers at St. Paul’s each purchased a computer through a matching fund from the Colorado Haiti Project. They expressed their concerns over the last year about feeling behind in their own computer knowledge and felt they would be better able to support their students with improved computer skills and Internet access. When they received their new computers, the teachers attended a four-day training seminar and learned about the same programs their students are using. They can connect to the Internet by traveling to a nearby community to further their work. The teachers plan to use the computers to research, track classroom activities, write up lesson plans and to help others to learn computer literacy.

Our hope is to have Internet access for the school during the 2016-2017 school year. In the meantime, the campus is preparing to take full advantage of the computer literacy courses, learning from their connected teachers and getting in lots of typing practice!

Thank you for you continued interest and support in our programs and we look forward to sharing our progress with you! 


Nov 17, 2015

Agricultural Education Takes a Big Step Forward for Secondary Students in Rural Haiti.

This fall, agricultural education took a big step forward in the secondary school of St. Paul's in Petit Trou de Nippes, Haiti. With the help of our new educator, Kenel Pierre, and visiting middle school teacher, Michael Jansa, classes began and both students and parents are involved.

Each middle school student receives one hour a week of ag. ed. and participates in weekly Saturday morning garden club. The students have begun their own garden and compost pile.  Soon to come will be chicken coops and a small nursery to start different varieties of trees.  In spring, the teaching team has an ambitious goal to start a goat project.

Kenel brings a different insight to teaching after spending a year in the US getting his master garden certificate.  During his time in the US, he worked in a Portland, OR middle school specializing in experiential learning.  This exposure has help Kenel bring hands-on learning to the students at St. Paul's. Everyone has their hands in the dirt or wrapped around the handle of a shovel!

During Kenel's first week on campus, he held a parents' meeting to talk to the families about what the students would be learning and doing in their agriculture classes.  Approximately 100 people showed up for the meeting!  And Kenel received valuable input from them on what was most needed for the students to help with the family's gardens.

We have also had the priviledge of expertise from an agricultural consultant, Agronom Emerson, with much experience and training in Haiti. He was with Kenel and Michael during their first week of classes and will continue to check in throught out the year to ensure a consistently high quality program.

We are thrilled that the 7th, 8th and 9th grade students have agricultural education as part of the curriculum now.  In a rural, agrarian community, it serves the whole family to have a child learning the newest and best practices in agriculture.

PS- Younger students have been spotted and accepted into Saturday morning Ag. Club.  I guess the WHOLE family is excited about ag. ed.!

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