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Building Thriving and Sustainable Community Ecosystems in Haiti.

FCH-ESPWA begins to directly invest within local communities of the Grand’Anse Region on education, health and community development.

Photo of Karuna Kline
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The Circles of Caring model is designed to nurture communities from a holistic perspective in order to address and meet the needs of children, their families and communities. Each circle is carefully crafted to come together to create real and lasting change. Utilizing the Circles of Caring model, developed by the International Child Resource Institute, FCH-ESPWA will focus on the following core activities to bridge the areas of peace, prosperity and planet. Circle One: Comprehensive Early Childhood Education and Care - FCH-ESPWA, along with its partners, will identify already existing early childhood education and care programs within Grand'Anse and work to implement improvement and expansion projects including, but not limited to: curriculum development, teacher and school management training, parent training and the built environment of schools. Circle Two: Child and Family Health - improved nutrition, food production and security through implementing the creation of kitchen/community gardens, which can be linked to schools and/or local health clinics/hospitals and can also be used to teach children and community members about the environment, vocational training, promoting community engagement and empowerment, improving community health and nutrition. FCH-ESPWA will also work to implement child and family health centers on the sites of early childhood education and care settings. Looking first to connect early childhood programs to already existing local health clinics and supporting their expansion. Circle Three: Sustainable Community Building and Development - FCH-ESPWA and its partners will implement local committees focusing on implementing projects rooted in the communities priorities to train and build the skills of local workers in projects that will also serve the larger community and region of Grand'Anse. For example: agriculture, road building and maintenance, the creation of village market places, resiliency and disaster preparedness.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The beneficiaries are the community residents of the Grand'Anse in Haiti. The Grand'Anse is one of Haiti's 10 departments. It is Haiti's bread basket and its last green reserve. The department consists of 12 communes and has an estimated total population of around 468,000 (Geohive 2015). Around 34,000 people live in the department's biggest city, Jeremie, which has been heavily impacted by Hurricane Matthew. 84% of the department's population live in rural areas (IHSI 2009; HaitiCulture). Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods pose major threats to the Grand'Anse. As far as the region's economy is concerned, 72.3% of people are in the bottom two quintiles of socio-economic well-being. The Grand'Anse is remote and lacks infrastructure. Child and maternal health coverage in among the lowest in Haiti. 14.5% of children under five are underweight for their age. As of 2014, only 35% of the population has access to improved water source. Secondary school attendance is below 13.5%.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our idea is unique because it focuses and invests in holistic, comprehensive and transformative change that is deeply and truly community led. FCH-ESPWA provides an open and inclusive platform for Haiti-led community-driven development and mobilizes local and international philanthropic resources to accomplish the following: 1. Strategic grant making focuses on sustainable long-term capacity building and optimal asset development. 2. Partnership and network development to promote effective peer-learning, resource sharing and resource allocation. 3. Leadership development of individuals, organizations and regions to ensure a long-term investment and commitment in nation-building. Our Community Leaders Network represents a key civic infrastructure that will be at the core of the execution of this "for the community, by the community" initiative. The program we propose is anchored in the priorities that were set by the region through FCH-ESPWA's participatory process.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

FCH-ESPWA is structured as a national network of regional funds; our vision is to foster thriving Haitian communities with justice and opportunities for all; nurture and support Haitian leadership focused on national self-determination and collaborative development.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

The Grand'Anse is a region of rich beauty and it is a last great reserve of Haiti's environment, tradition and culture. It is a region of incredibly resilient, dedicated and motivated people and also a region very much left behind; a region with great need. Our inspiration are the people and places of Grand'Anse and the question "How do you make Haiti whole again?" It takes more than one solution, it takes long-term investment, long-term vision and patient and comprehensive action.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Building Community Ecosystems: 1. Building Peace - through creating increased stability as a result of the systematic and equitable inclusion of community stakeholders through a bottom-up participatory decision-making process engaging leaders from diverse sectors, socio-economic classes, and all political backgrounds, and through ensuring that children and families have what they need to not only survive, but thrive. 2. Building Prosperity - through building and supporting a system of sustainable philanthropy and development in Haiti and by supporting the continued improvement of local conditions which will allow for increased employment and economic development activities and opportunities, including vocational training. 3. Building Planet - through promoting and implementing resilience, disaster preparedness and sustainable community development projects that effectively promote improved environmental practices.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Consortium des Organisations du Secteur Prive de l'Education/Consortium of Private Schools Networks (COPSE) - is a structured national platform which regroups and represents the associations of the non-public sector of education. The International Child Resource Institute (ICRI) - is a global non-profit that works to improve the lives of children and families around the world. And many others: -L'Association des Ecoles Privees d'Haiti -Le Groupe de Reflection et d'Action pour l'Education -L'Association des Centres de l'Enseignement Prive de Delmas et de Petion-Ville (ACEPDEP) -La Founation Haitienne de l'Enseignement Prive (FONHEP) -Groupe d'Appui aux Parents d'Eleves (GAPEL) -La Federation des Ecoles Catholiques Prives (FECAP) -Le Bureau Anglican de l'Education en Haiti (BAEH) -Reseau d'Enseignement Professionnel et d'Interventions Ecologique (REPIE) -Hopital Saint Antoine, the Grand'Anse regional hospital -The Grand'Anse Chamber of Commerce -AMAGA (Grand'Anse Mayors

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

1. Established regional and international network 2. Very inclusive network from all points of view 3. Inclusive and comprehensive planning to support a different development approach model 4. Niche: first institution of its kind 5. Strong regional presence and good international reputation 6. Dedicated and consistent leaders, at all the levels 7. Mobilization of a large number of motivated volunteers, at all levels 8. Launching of a critical movement 9. Ownership of concept and vision

Geographic Focus

The Southwest region of Grand'Anse, Haiti

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

36 months: 1-12 - Activities will include identification of sites for pilot roll out, material resources needed for each program, and intensive training for project leadership. 13-24 - Pilot year - we will conduct pilot projects in three communes to test out activities and establish and conduct monitoring and evaluation practices. Year two will also focus on incorporating feedback and applying necessary structural adjustments. 25-36 - Building momentum by establishing new project locations

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Attachments (2)


Synthesis Report on the Participatory Diagnosis on the Communes of the Department of the Grand'Anse. Regional Planning Process conducted with the collaboration of The Haitian Community Foundation Initiative and ESPWA.

Matthew Report Jan 17 draft.pdf

Community Needs Assessment conducted for the Haitian Community Foundation with the support of ESPWA and the Global Fund for Community Foundations.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Bagalana Ali

Great idea

Photo of Sophie Lyman

Hi Karuna, I love the focus on holistic, community eco-systems, for the people, by the people. Our consortium is also working towards that goal through the sale of locally manufactured renewable energy cooking solutions (solar and biogas), with inclusive, human-centered design provided by a University's BioScience students. The BioScience program focuses not only on clean cooking, but also on improved agricultural techniques (such as using biogas digester bio-slurry as fertilizer) and other ecotechnologies to create a a community ecosystem. I'm sure we would have a lot to learn from each other. Check out our project at:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Karuna Kline great to have you in the challenge. I'd love to understand in more detail how your model works and how your different circles of impact fit together? I think there could be some really interesting ways to visualize the work you are doing. Dima Boulad any thoughts or questions?

Photo of Karuna Kline

Hi Ashley,
It's great to be participating this this innovative platform and approach!

First, ICRI believes that no lasting change can be made for children, families, or communities without true local ownership of programs or projects or change making.
Second, without the integration of key community leaders, parents, and those who experience the challenges sought to be corrected, the potential for successful results is significantly diminished. Third, change will not be sustainable without a deep understanding of local cultural imperatives and their impact on all aspects of program planning, development, and implementation.

The Circles of Caring model takes into account decades of work in the field and witnessing the fragmentation of services for the most challenged children and families. Time and again ICRI has seen that laser focused approaches to development either does not work or works in a minimal capacity. The true successes happen when communities are viewed as a whole and how the parts effect each other. This model seeks to address the core areas of basic needs whether they be on the individual, family or community level. Just a few examples: How do children learn and succeed in school if they are hungry, sick, or mistreated or if the school does not provide developmentally appropriate practices and environments? How do parents go to work if there are no adequate schools to send their children to or someone to provide appropriate care? How do community members work if there are no sources of sustainable income? How do community members access healthcare in remote areas where there are either no roads or they are in terrible disrepair? How do communities recover after natural disasters when they don't have either the physical or civic infrastructure to withstand the storm? The Circles of Caring model looks to take all of this into account with the community defining the specifics of how it will happen on the ground. Again some examples of how the Circles interact and can play out:

Circle One:
-Provide quality early childhood education and care - we focus on early childhood because of the recognized vital importance of these early years and the foundation it sets for future success. Investing in early childhood is investing in peace, prosperity and planet for now and the future.
-Training - Teachers get better at their jobs and become continued valuable resources in their communities, and better able to meet the needs of the children they are serving. Parents - are empowered to own their children's education, this benefits the child, but also potentially opens up opportunities for employment for parents in the field of education and child care.
-It also provides a physical communal gathering point to house other vital services, such as a health clinic, vocational training center, or community garden.

Circle Two:
-provides easier and more regular access to basic health care services
-health education for families
-potentially another source of employment - community members can be trained as local practitioners for preventative health needs.
-growing food - increases access to adequate nutrition at low cost, also promotes sustainable land use practices, and food security, and acts as a resource which then allows a community to provide for itself promoting self-sufficiency and self-determination.

Circle Three:
-opens up new areas of work that is also relevant and needed within the community
-promotes civic engagement and empowerment
-promotes resiliency and sustainability
-other skill building and vocational training that is applicable in multiple contexts - growing food, building roads, creating market places etc... can be taken and used anywhere and can be shared in a wide variety of situations.

Thus far, ICRI has envisioned the Circles of Caring model through the image of concentric circles starting with children and their families at the core, where comprehensive care and education of both child and parent is the focus and all other circles build off of that core creating a ripple effect that is felt community wide and benefits the community as a whole. In addition, through this process, we seek to bring services "closer to home" and in many ways demystifying how community members access services. This is really an inter-disciplinary approach that not only creates ripples, but works to build bridges between the circles on a constantly evolving basis. Services are often kept in their own "silos" and this model works to "open things up". It allows people who are disenfranchised to step out of this by engaging in the circles. It also looks for cross-cutting opportunities where recipients in one circle can become providers in another circle.

I hope this helps to answer your questions please let me know if there is any further information that we can provide! We love to talk about and work with this model as we see the potential impact for the long term.

Photo of Kevin Adair

Thank you for drawing attention to a region of Haiti where attention and assistance are still greatly needed? My question for you is where are the financial sustainability portions of your plan? Have you considered entrepreneur development programs? Programs tend to succeed in Haiti if they have a specific income source(s) that is/are intrinsic to their program. Programs tend to fail if they are just waiting for the next donation in order to move forward. What can they make there that you could sell globally? How will you get the business(es) moving forward?

Photo of Karuna Kline

Hi Kevin,
Thank you for your great comments and questions! Indeed, this is a key piece that is in the process of being addressed. Our project is still in the initial stages, which we hope to pilot very soon, and we will definitely be working more to develop and implement strategies that will make it independent and sustainable for the the long-term. Actually, that is one of the major goals of the Haitian Community Foundation; to create long-term capacity building, as well as, a culture of philanthropy that is rooted at the community level. These decisions will have to be made by the communities themselves, in terms of what kind of work they want to do, but also what skills they want to build which would lead to other potential sources of intrinsic income. The exciting piece about this project is that it will be the community members themselves decided what is they want to create!

Photo of Karuna Kline

In addition, FCH-ESPWA and its partners have worked with the Grameen Bank model of micro lending for business development/vocational start-up and have worked in many similarly situated communities with strategic micro donations that are specifically targeted to income producing business start-up. As we we continue to identify income producing vocations and training approaches in Grand'Anse we will be able to sustain the micro lending and micro granting after the three year start-up period.

Photo of Allison Pinto

We also believe in coming together around babies as a great way for neighborhoods or local geographic areas to coalesce - and not just participate in, but actually lead transformative community change. Our approach is grounded in following the lead of "neighborkids," with a focus on their civic capacity and mental health. In the Lake Maggiore Shores neighborhood of St. Petersburg, the kids have formed "Neighborbaby Fan Club" as a means of taking up leadership, and have started connecting with both home-based child care providers and the formal child care centers that are located within the neighborhood. If residents in the Grand'Anse region would be interested in exploring ways to incorporate "neighborkid-led" approaches into their local efforts, it might be fun to connect them with neighbors in Central-Cocoanut and Lake Maggiore Shores here in Florida, USA! Here is the link to our submission: