“PRODEP’s exemplary model of participatory community development could be a driving factor in the national rebuilding effort. In fact, it could facilitate recovery by providing a tool for consulting with different communities, including the displaced, on the prioritization of their needs,” states Michael Lecorps, General Director of the Bureau de Monétisation Programmes d’Aide au Développement. Operating in 10 departments, the project’s primary targets are the 59 poorest communes, and PRODEP will have brought support to an estimated 2,320,000 people by the end of 2010. CECI is taking part in the colossal efforts put forth since 2005, acting as delegated project manager of the national Participatory Development Project in Haiti on behalf of the Haitian government, with funding from the World Bank.
With the aim of improving the socioeconomic conditions of the rural Haitian population and local governance, CECI operates in 31 of the most underprivileged communes in the country, thereby reaching nearly 1,600 grassroots community organizations with over 150,000 members. One of PRODEP’s components is to provide funding for small-scale investments that are prioritized, implemented and managed by local organizations. Through this inclusive approach to participative management, CECI has supported the realization of more than 700 community subprojects, some of which were carried out in collaboration with CARE-Haiti. In this way, more than $10.7 million USD were injected directly into highly isolated and long marginalized communities. A recent assessment mission of CECI’s participation in PRODEP on the ground applauds the emergence of several small businesses that support the agricultural sector and notes that they are in fact generating additional income. Based on their visits and observations, the mission found a contribution to local economic development as well as immediate, observable results from all subprojects dedicated to improving basic infrastructures, health services and agriculture. The evaluation report also indicates a strengthening of grassroots community organizations. Taken as a whole, PRODEP’s activities created a tangible climate of social cohesion and contributed to the overall empowerment of communities. In order to sustainably develop agribusiness, PRODEP is also deliberate in its efforts to reinforce the organizational capacities of its beneficiaries. “In our opinion, [PRODEP’s] work has allowed organizations that receive its support to take another step toward autonomy and self management; it’s a model for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of our country,” Guypsy Michel, Executive Director of the Americas and Country Director for Haiti, reports. The cassava processing subproject in Acul des Pins is a good example. Initial support from PRODEP led to the construction of a workshop equipped with a grain mill and a press that in turn provided the Mouvement des Organisations des Paysans d’Acul des Pins (MOPAP) with the equity needed to build protective shelters for ovens. The project serves as a source of inspiration to stimulate citizen initiatives, increase local services, create jobs and safely manage communities.