November 16, 2016: As the initial investment in our newly-formed collaborative, we invite the School Sisters of Notre Dame to partner with two new rural communities on La Gonav where we are planning expand. The new communities are Tipalmis (SSND delegation members visited and stayed in this community in April) and Nan Mango (southeast of the community of Matènwa, which the delegation also visited).
The Model Community Initiative is inspired by a vision of what distressed rural communities can become. This vision includes children, their families, local institutions, and the natural environment. In Tipalmis and Nan Mango, civic, religious and grassroots leaders will seek to achieve the following goals, with the support of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Beyond Borders:
- every child has access to quality primary education, and local schools demonstrate significantly improved educational outcomes for students, including a 15% increase in reading scores as established by the Early Grades Reading Assessment;
- every child grows up at home, safe and free and surrounded by a loving family and community;
- every family -- even the most impoverished -- can sustain itself with dignified work and access to sufficient food and clean water;
- every institution and the entire community enjoys effective and just governance;
- women and girls live free from violence and discrimination and increasingly share power and opportunity equally with men and boys in their communities and homes, and, the natural environment heals and grows verdant and productive
The collaboration between Beyond Borders and School Sisters of Notre Dame will focus on two communities on Lagonav, Nan Mango and Tipalmis.
Schools Not Slavery is a vision of what life in rural communities can be:
- Every child enrolled in a high-quality school where they are treated with respect
- No child sent away to live with another family where they may become enslaved
- Vulnerable families get the help they need to earn a dignified living and provide for themselves
- Every woman and child is living free of domestic violence and discrimination
The arc of this partnership is five years. During the first year the prospection process leads to meetings with community leaders, followed by community-wide Open Space gatherings, and social mapping and wealth & child welfare ranking to establish baselines for measuring progress and for helping the community to identify the most vulnerable among them. The selection and training of child rights trainers leads to the launch of the six-month ESK child right training for 100 to 200 adults in each community. Schools in each community join the school network and begin receiving training and school gardens are started. Depending on the community, livelihoods and adult literacy work may commence. Hurricane Matthew delayed the launch of a number of activities by more than a month.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame will not be the exclusive source of support for these two communities. Rather, the SSND commitment will be used to encourage the engagement of other institutional and individual supporters and partners. SSND network members are welcome to join in this partnership, if they were so inclined.
Along with our long-term program and funding partners, the Kellogg Foundation is now providing funding to the Matènwa school to encourage the systematization and documentation of their teacher training. Also, the Lagonav Haiti Partnership secured funding for school gardens in 10 schools with support from the Matènwa school.
The vision for Lagonav that grassroots community leaders and Beyond Borders share is one in which the island as a whole becomes a model region for all of Haiti, and that before the end of this decade every community, school, and family will be part of making this transformative vision increasingly real.
Expanding the Model Community Initiative to these two new communities represents the next step in this effort. We invite the School Sisters of Notre Dame to partner with these two new communities as they advance this shared vision, one that is rooted in expanding opportunity and justice for all.
-S. Arlene Flaherty, OP
Director, AMSSND JPIC Department