October 2013 Mission To Haiti

Ayiti Now Corp was in Haiti during October 2013.
The primary objective was to distribute the textbooks to the restavek recipients. As always I looked for new opportunities to serve the recipients of Ayiti Now Corp.

Ayiti Now Corp visited USAID in Port Au Prince and met with the office dedicated to education.

In short, it seemed they were seeking donations… their budget has been reduced and are unable to sustain their programs… I believe food, hygiene, sanitation, textbooks and teacher training are intertwined in any education effort in Haiti targeting marginalized children. At USAID they seemed unwilling and unable to provide, develop and share anything meaningful. My impression was that USAID has nothing tangible of value up and running, zero results and lots of organized paralyzing mental confusion of a capable team lost in an unstable and inconsistent politicized policy.

Sometimes the more effective answer to an unwanted beggar is the request for help, I was the beggar, I pleaded on behalf of my recipients and comprehensively shared what Ayiti Now Corp does in Haiti. Great stuff, most people that develop an understanding of our programs are intellectually moved, the professionals, like the ones at USAID, double their note taking! At the end, USAID like everything around is a tribal network made of personal visceral links flowing under the institutional bureaucracy. I know the value of what I do and I understand that there is no quick fix. USAID will be a consistent stop (to ask resources) during every mission in Haiti.

550 books between recreational books and textbooks were added to the Book Bank.

The kids were particularly eager to get their hands on the recreational books. In fact, I must plan to increase the budget and the quantity of recreational books. While the kids take the opportunity to read this books without programmatic or institutional constraints, I would like to work with the teachers on a strategy to incorporate literacy circles. After extensive observation, I felt that going from zero recreational reading opportunity to pushing demanding literary circles was not a good experience for this recipients. I think the recipients need to feel free to manage the recreational books independently to eventually understand those books as a valuable resource that can be furthermore utilized in a literary circle format. I am envisioning them establishing their own flow with the recreational books, nothing demanded of them. I will take some time to investigate their experience and utilize this step to seamlessly navigate the dynamics of a literary circle.

The biggest dream I have on my schedule

is to develop an E-learning platform for the teachers’ continuing education.  I have spent countless hours on this project and I think I know most of everything I need to successfully execute this program. I still need to raise all the funds I need to actually bring to the recipient teachers a sustainable comprehensive solution which includes energy and hardware. If you have any interest or experience with an E-learning program and would like to be part of this agenda please let me know.

The 7th and 8th graders received the textbooks and a tutor.

During the meetings I had with the students, one of them suggested a tutoring program. That was music for my ears. Cassandra continues to surprise me with how focused she is and how well she knows what is important for her success. I interviewed 5 candidates, some were referrals and same were responding to a flyer we had posted around Saint Marc. The students had one session with the candidates so the students had the opportunity to evaluate their potential tutor. The tutoring program is every school day from 2:30 to 4:30. The students and the tutor meet at AEMSA. The tutor is required to keep a daily log of each student homework. I can’t wait to measure their academic progress.

The students that requested tuition assistance received a tuition program.

The only students I am focusing on are the ones at AEMSA, a school in Saint Marc with a track-record of assisting marginalized children of poverty. I am happy to provide a well structured contractualized and supervised tuition program requiring the recipients’ attendance and academic performance. Daphnide, the new team member in Haiti, will review their report cards as well as their tutoring program.

Ayiti Now Corp demanded accountability.

The teachers I work with are underpaid and they would like basic tools to perform their work. I have provided teachers’ bonuses since 2011. I have equipped them with didactic materials and access to continuing education. Money is an important element of anyone performance. Teachers in a state of poverty can’t perform as well as if the salaries were sufficient. Ayiti Now Corp it is not their employer but I am responsive to their needs as long as I receive an overall acceptable degree of accountability. My budgets are miserable but I always stretch the dollars. The accountability I require is based on basic values: honesty and good intentions. The underpinned mission of Ayiti Now Corp to serve the marginalized children of poverty by investing in their education is one of the parameters I use to develop the relationship with the teachers. If I am unable to progressively grow the teachers’ accountability, the entire success of the programs is undermined. The teachers are at the frontline and while I do not suggest policy I do require them to be accountable for everything they do, or they don’t, concerning the programs.

Ayiti Now Corp has been willing to terminate the programs at AEMSA.

This extreme position I take has forced the teachers to honor a minimum degree of intellectual honesty. This solution became a new platform of mutual respect of each other interests. I represent the interest of Ayiti Now Corp programs serving a specific demographic, the teachers are the most important enablers which role can’t be compromised by continuing or regressing into a dysfunctional relationship for the sake of fulfilling hope. Agreements are agreements, programs are programs, everything can be revised together as long as intellectual honesty shapes the continuum. Demonstrating my will to terminate the programs unless honesty prevails has enabled Ayiti Now Corp to contractualize the reciprocal expectations and to institute accountability as the main vector for the future.

The book bank for the 2013-14 school year was 100% successful.

This distribution was perfectly executed in record time and efficiency. The teachers have a better understanding of the book bank program and the synergy required for the ultimate academic success of the recipients. The teachers’ performance remains at the center of evaluation and achievements. I don’t just GIVE books to poor children, I set a standard for the entire AEMSA community. I manage the book bank program not as a passive charity effort but as a self-empowerment tool to be deployed at its maximum potential to increase quality and social value or “return” on investment. Mutiny and desertion find zero compassion. The children I serve will never be a hostage or used as leverage to influence the expectations of the book bank program. Accountability is paramount and weak links are out. A big Welcome to Daphnide, the Haiti “Boss La” working with Ayiti Now Corp.