Partners in Progress addresses the issue of limited opportunities and resources for self-determination and the dependency this creates on external development agendas and resources. The Haitian government provides almost no support for rural communities that would enable them to develop skills and resources for advancing their own development priorities. Agricultural extension, for example, has virtually ceased. Most rural development support comes from NGO or faith-based organizations, usually in the form of short trainings in technologies that are prioritized from outside. Though well meaning, this typically results in initiatives that are poorly suited to community needs.
PIP’s initial focus was to link community organizations, primarily in the region of Fondwa, with technical expertise and funding to support health care, education and economic development. We learned that this type of support was not having lasting impact or building the capabilities of communities to become self-sufficient. Decision-making about development priorities were made by a select few and therefore did not lead to growth and innovation. In order to promote more inclusive decision making and to address the capacity building needs of our partners in community organizing and project planning and management, PIP began working more as a collaborative partner in sustainable development initiatives.