Thank you for responding to our questions. With regards to your response to question 1:
Bridging the Gap Between Social Enterprise in Nepal and Community Organization in Haiti aims to combine both the concepts you mention: incorporating aspects of business into local organizations, while also providing capacity building support. We realize this will involve a shift in mindset but believe strongly that this is possible and necessary. There are several reasons for this:
Generation of their own revenues would allow local community-based organizations in Haiti to become more independent and self-sufficient, while improving their ability to engage in long-term forecasting and planning. This is particularly important given the lack of reliability of international funding and the fact that Haiti is only in the international conscience briefly when there is a crisis. The reality is that when funding ends, so do projects whether they should or not, which can have an extremely negative impact on the population that is supposed to be served by these initiatives. While there is still too much dependency on external assistance, the community leaders we work with in Haiti are gradually realizing that they need to be more self-sufficient and that they cannot and should not depend on outside help. This increased self-sufficiency will help mitigate the ups and downs stemming from external funding.
Additionally, it is not realistic to believe that the Haitian economy is substantial or stable enough for these organizations to completely support themselves through revenue generating initiatives. For example, a community garden might generate some income for certain projects, but not enough to reliably and consistently cover all operating costs. This is why we believe the two approaches should be combined with the goal being to empower these organizations with skills that will enable them to be stronger, operate more efficiently, better demonstrate their impact on the community and ultimately effectively improve the lives and access to services of many thousands of people. Transformation as well as support are essential for the long-term strengthening of these organizations. Meanwhile, as recent events in Haiti have shown, it is essential for organizations in fragile countries such as Haiti to have diverse funding streams and not overly depend on one source.
Question 2: We are absolutely planning to work on transfer of expertise from Nepal to Haiti and are looking forward to the possibility of sharing our knowledge and experience on both sides. We believe that this project is an incredible opportunity to really build a unique bridge between the two countries and this has the possibility to be incredibly beneficial on both sides. Meanwhile, in Haiti we will also draw on local expertise by tapping into two business incubation hubs that have recently launched in Port au Prince. We intend to draw on their knowledge and experience and to incorporate their learnings into our Haitian model.
Question 3: We agree that it is important to require participants to pay some fees. People (and organizations) tend not to value what is free. While this will necessitate a shift in mindset (not giving things away for free), we believe that this is important and we will work to structure the fee scale in close consideration of the market and organizations' ability to pay. However, the experience of Nepal Communitere with their current program has highlighted the need to continuously innovate to leverage donor funds to strengthen revenue streams for long-term sustainability.
Thank you so much for your comments. Haiti Communitere and Nepal Communitere are both part of Communitere International, which provides innovative disaster response based on the principles of the response, relief, and renewal. Haiti Communitere was launched following the 2010 earthquake and has evolved to provide response to ongoing needs in Haiti, while Nepal Communitere was launched following the 2015 earthquake there. When HC was launched in 2010, this was an entirely unique idea. HC and NC operate as separate organizations, however this project will build a bridge between Nepal and Haiti, allowing the two countries to learn a lot from one another. I hope that answers your question!