Community Engagement & Service

Haiti Compact: Women and Youth Empowerment

Alternative Break Haiti 2013

The Trip
This trip will focus on the ways students can engage with the redevelopment process post-earthquake, specifically focusing on the role of women and youth in Haitian communities. We will explore the monumental challenges women and young people may face in society, and how the empowerment of these groups benefits society as a whole.

Haiti’s development needs were greatly exacerbated by the January 2010 earthquake. Now in the recovery period, many parties (both Haitian and foreign) have pledged to build and rebuild the country. This trip questions whether the attention given to such actors overshadows what Haitians are doing for themselves to better their lives and country. How can community-based, empowering movements be made sustainable?

The trip will explore the idea of sustainable development in Haiti through people as resources. In partnering with Fonkoze – a Haitian microfinance institution – and the Association of Peasants of Fondwa, participants will observe how grassroots organizations committed to the tangible empowerment of vulnerable groups have been successful. Participants will engage in a mutual process of growth with Haitian individuals who are learning to provide for themselves, their families and their communities.

American University is a founding member of the national Haiti Compact, a group of universities committed to empowerment and dignity in the rebuilding process in Haiti until 2015. The Compact also raises awareness on college campuses through activities such as Haiti Week, commemorating the earthquake in January, and fundraising efforts for grassroots organizations.

About the student leaders

Patrice Noel is a senior in the School of Public Affairs majoring in Political Science and Interdisciplinary studies, CLEG. She spent a semester studying abroad in Brussels, Belgium and participated in the AU Haiti Compact’s second Alt Break to Haiti in 2012.

Audrey Van Gilder is a senior in the School of International Service, focusing primarily on conflict resolution and sustainable urban development. She spent last year abroad in Paris, France, and participated in the AU Haiti Compact’s first Alt Break to Haiti in 2011.
Sample Itinerary(subject to change)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Travel from Washington D.C. to Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Friday, January 4
Explore Port-au-Prince
Travel to the rural town of Fondwa
Stay at local guest house

Saturday, January 5
Meet with APF representatives (a women’s group and University of Fondwa students)

Sunday, January 6
Complete community service project in Fondwa

Monday, January 7
Leave Fondwa
Arrive in Mirebalais, in the Central Plateau
Stay at hotel

Tuesday, January 8
Meet Fonkoze’s Cheven Lavi Miyo and Ti Kredi clients

Wednesday, January 9
Visit Fonkoze regional branch office

Thursday, January 10
Visit Sodo Falls, outside Mirebalais

Friday, January 11
Return to Port-au-Prince
Stay at local guest house

Saturday, January 12
Travel back to Washington D.C.

Location: Haiti

Date: January 3, 2013 – January 12, 2013

Student Leaders: Patrice Noel and Audrey Van Gilder

Staff Advisor:
Shoshanna Sumka

Cost: $2000

Cost includes airfare, lodging, travel insurance, food, transportation, guides, and activities. Cost does not include immunizations.