The Ayiti Community Trust will award funding for projects or programs that demonstrate meaningful and measurable impact with a Haitian-driven focus touching three pillars:
- Civic Education
A focus on Water provides an example of how The Ayiti Community Trust approach works.
Effective integrated management of Haiti’s precious natural resources creates conditions that strengthen climate resiliency, improve livelihood opportunities, and raise long-term economic prospect for generations of Haitians.
Haiti continues to be most vulnerable to climate change with more than 50% of the country in danger of desertification according to the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). Fertile land is becoming desert in part due to socioeconomic factors, limited capacity, and lack of resources. Environmental degradation such as water pollution and deforestation also significantly weaken the natural systems needed to mitigate the effects of climate change. Techniques and approaches with proven effectiveness in different regions must be implemented across the country. ACT seeks to support models that promote environmental renewal with the ability to be replicated in other parts of the country.
Increased access to tools and knowledge for entrepreneurship that support a lucrative livelihood, creates employment, and contributes to sustainable economic growth in local community.
Although Haiti demonstrates an enduring entrepreneurial spirit, several challenges have stunted the development of this key sector in the economy. According the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), these challenges include: Decades of political and economic instability, eroded governance, and environmental degradation — all exacerbated by the impact of natural disasters. The private sector is further inhibited by the brain drain of many of the most educated either out of the country – and, if remaining in Haiti, migrating from rural to urban. ACT seeks to increase Haitian entrepreneurial productivity using efficient, cost-effective and sustainable strategies to enable entrepreneurs to remain engaged as they revitalize their local communities.
Widespread civic education among Haitians, grounded in historical and culture values, would positively impact the quality of life in the community while building a robust civil society.
The last couple of decades have seen a decline in Haitian civic engagement. As Haitian social entrepreneur and ACT Board member Abner Septembre (founder of APV in TiGoave) explains, “ Young people seem to be overwhelmed, disarmed, stunned and just generally waiting for the moment to leave the country. One has the impression that most of them no longer have a sense of civic responsibility. This is the life serum that communicates a strong sense of belonging with a desire to fight to build their country or change their own lives.” Because people who possess the requisite knowledge, skills and motivations are best able to sustain a democracy, ACT seeks to empower Haitians by granting support to community-building activities aimed at emerging local leadership development, reclaiming the public realm, and imparting a sense of responsibility for communities.
An Initial Focus on Water
The Ayiti Community Trust believes in innovative models to improve water availability, accessibility/distribution, and environmental renewal/protection and all in integrated and sustainable ways. This approach is necessary to address the multifaceted and wide-ranging challenges, including:
- Lack of effective integrated management of this precious natural resource.
- Inadequate government investment in water and sanitation infrastructure.
- Increasingly depleted existing resources due to deforestation and climate change.
- Water affordability.
- Inability of water utility agencies to provide safe drinking water or even water for basic use to burgeoning urban areas.