After arriving in Haiti in mid-June we’re off to an amazing start. Not only have our projects taken off, but our executive director, Andrew Chaggar, has been selected from among 2,500 applicants as a Vodafone World of Difference winner. Vodafone's support will not only bolster Andy, but provide a huge boost for EDV. Andy's Vodafone win would not have been possible without your support - so thanks so much.
During our first month on the ground in Haiti we’ve spent time building connections in the community, begun a long-term sustainable building initiative, and run a project which protected an orphanage for disabled children from flooding.
But it isn’t the small project we’ve completed or the large project we’ve begun which are most exciting for us – it’s the relationships we’ve developed with community members and local groups. These partnerships give us the greatest opportunity for a successful programme here in Port au Prince.
Many community members have told us the same thing: We appreciate the aid that’s given to us, but we need permanent change and skills, not hand-outs. That’s exactly what we aim to provide.
Our sustainable building project and its integration within the local community is a great example of how we can affect long-term change. The project aims not only to create buildings in a sustainable way, but also to teach residents how to build using locally available, affordable materials like earth, rubble, and the by-product of processed sugar cane called baggasse.
While the buildings we create are important, this project hinges on the community contacts we’ve been fostering since we arrived here. By involving the community in every step of the building process and training residents how to build with materials which are readily available to them we can empower communities to meet their own needs and direct their own recoveries.
We’ve already involved local women’s groups, schools, student groups and community organisations to begin planning workshops and skills trainings centering not only around sustainable building, but also on health, education, and community mobilisation.
When we include community groups in all our activities, even the smallest project can become a vehicle for building local capacity. That in turn lets us create more sustainable, self sufficient communities – and that is our ultimate goal.
Keep an eye out in the coming months for more EDV projects here on Global Giving. If you'd like to learn more about what EDV is up to in Haiti, please visit us at www.EDVolunteers.org. And of course, please give generously here on Global Giving to support community-based, sustainable recovery in Haiti.
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