LOCAL-Haiti is the implementing partner of AMURT-Haiti. Their mission is to strengthen local capacities through participatory approaches while fostering universal values.
You could also support them by enjoying a fantastic ethical journey on U2GUIDE! In order to do so, just to make sure to enter #LOCALHAITI upon booking. Which ever destination you choose, U2GUIDE will pay back 5% of the amount of your transaction to LOCAL-Haiti ! Just remember to enter their code!
Interview with Demeter Russafov, Program Director at LOCAL-Haiti!
Could you describe LOCAL-Haïti in a few words and your role within the organisation?
Demeter Russafov: LOCAL-Haiti (Local Capacity Alliance) is a Haitian non-governmental organization building the capacity of individuals and organizations through a participative approach while promoting universal values. Our integrated grassroots strategies of community development and empowerment focuses on a vulnerable and isolated corner in the northwest of Haiti, while our teacher training and pedagogical development programs seek to initiate innovative shift in teaching on a national level.
I am the current Programs Director of LOCAL, and one of its founding members.
Is there peculiar moment or a specific story that moved you?
In 2011 I remember hiking on a rocky trail in the NW Artibonite mountains, when I crossed path with some peasant women on donkeys going in the same direction as me. We entered in a deep conversation, and at one point this willowy old women who has been on her donkey for more than a day under the hot Caribbean sun began singing a song that went as this, “Women carry this country on their shoulders, and it is women who hold the key to its salvation”. This stayed with me till today, and played a big role in my own strengthening belief in the power of women to pull their forces together and find solutions to all challenges they face individually and collectively.
What are the current projects of AMURT/LOCAL-Haiti ?
Our main branches of intervention are Innovative Teacher Training, Environmental Protection and Sustainable Agro-Forestry, Women’s Empowerment and Leadership, and Rural Entrepreneurship. The NGO was awarded the special prize at the 2014 Digicel Foundation Entrepreneur of the Year competition, in recognition for its innovative social approach in building women’s leadership and self-sufficiency through Self-Help Group organizational structures. Our projects focus on building capacities from the bottom up, helping organize the most vulnerable of communities while at the same time promoting change from the top as well. LOCAL-Haiti is one of the implementing partners of the Center for Innovative Continuing Education (CICE) created jointly with Haiti’s premier academic institution - University of Quisqueya, the Ministry of Education, and AMURT-Haiti. As such we try to influence the shift in pedagogical methods in the country through introducing replicable child-centered curriculum.
What are the main challengesAMURT/LOCAL-Haiti is facing right now?
Haiti is mired in a very deep socio-economic crisis which presents a multitude of difficulties to individuals and organizations alike. Additionally, the political gridlock, government inefficiency, and geographic isolation and vulnerability of the communities we seek to empower combine to provide a context that is rich in challenges and constant mishaps. Additionally, it’s difficult for a small Haiti-based NGO to access partnerships and funds that allow us to expand the scope of our strategies.
What made you decide to join U2GUIDE?
We joined U2Guide because we were very drawn to its innovative platform of linking individuals to organizations worldwide who are doing good work. We believe in its socially progressive outlook and methodology, and are confident that online venues such as this will play an increasingly important rule in linking people with good intentions and curiosity to experience cultures with grassroots organizations doing good projects under the radar.