Grassroots Community Development in Borgne, Haiti.

Over Two Decades of Dedicated Collaboration

Haiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa (H.O.P.E.) has worked in the commune of Borgne in the Department du Nord, Haiti since 1995. It was formed in 1995 by a Haitian-American anthropologist who had worked with a Haitian immigrant in the U.S. on her research. The Haitian immigrant was from the commune of Borgne in Northern Haiti (a commune is a geographical subdivision similar to a county). The anthropologist conducted an exploratory visit to Borgne including a community assessment and local decision making process with community members in Borgne to form a local NGO in the commune. The anthropologist, Dr. Rose-Marie Chierici, today continues to serve as the Executive Director of the organization in a voluntary capacity with support from two other US-based senior management volunteers, all working in partnership with a local Haitian management team including a Haitian medical doctor trained in Cuba who has served as the administrator of HOPE community activities and clinical services since 2006. He is supported by a Community Outreach Coordinator who has worked with the organization for 18 years, first as a pharmacy assistant and then later as a community mobilizer in the cholera program. HOPE’s core community services are health prevention and clinical care. However, the organization also supports livelihoods and education activities in the community including supporting income generating groups and mobile schools for pre-k and kindergarten children as well as adult literacy programs.

From its inception as a non-profit organization in 1996, H.O.P.E has worked in partnership with the community of Borgne--with churches, farmer cooperatives, women and youth groups, local grassroots development organizations, the commune’s teachers organization, and the office and staff of the Mayor of Borgne. In fact, the original health clinic was located on the grounds of the Catholic Church’s rectory. Through these partnerships, H.O.P.E. has launched economic development projects (e.g. bakery, reforestation, a rice and corn mill, animal husbandry program, and cooperative gardens), worked with a teachers’ organization on programs such as teacher training and early childhood education. In 2006, H.O.P.E. significantly expanded the scope of community health services through a partnership with MSPP (Haiti Ministry of Health).

In 2006, H.O.P.E formed Alyans Sante Borgne (ASB), a partnership between H.O.P.E. and Haiti’s Ministry of Health, MSPP/DSN According to the terms of this partnership, MSPP/DSN retains oversight over medical decisions and negotiates relationships with ministry partner organizations such as PEPFAR, UNICEF, URC (a USAID subcontractor) which contribute some supplies and funding to ASB. H.O.P.E. brings its own partner organizations and provides technical support and funding and oversees the bulk of operations at ASB: we fund staff salaries and salary supplements as well as housing of personnel hired under contract with all ASB partner organizations, supply the bulk of medicines used at the communal hospital, mobile clinics and mobile hospitals, the satellite clinic in Petit Bourg du Borgne, and by community health workers in their posts. ASB operates the only health system in this commune of 80,000 and treats patients from a far larger geographic area attracted by the high quality and affordability of ASB’s services. We charge only a modest fee for services and patients are never turned away for inability to pay. Our roster of partners includes the American Red Cross, WomenStrong International, Haitian Red Cross, the GO Campaign, the James H. Clark Charitable Foundation, Yahoo Employee foundation, Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation, and Cure Cervical Cancer. We also collaborate with higher education institutions such as SUNY Geneseo, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Rochester, Hood College, SUNY Upstate, and University of Miami to provide service learning, internship and training opportunities for college, graduate, and medical students. We also have a loyal group of private donors whose contributions support the ongoing operating needs of the organization.

The partnership with the Ministry of Health has proven to be exceptionally fruitful. It resulted in the refurbishing and re-opening of the non-functional communal hospital in 2007; since then ASB has experienced a steady growth in the number of patients served and services offered. The various collaborations enabled H.O.P.E/ASB to increase the number of patients served by eight fold, from 400 patients/ month in 2006 to 3200/month in 2015, with an all-Haitian staff of over 130 that includes physicians, dentists, nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists, field personnel, support staff and administrators and a cadre of more than 2000 volunteers. Through its partnership with MSPP, H.O.P.E/ASB has steadily upgraded its HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis surveillance and treatment capabilities-- physicians and nurses provide counseling, testing, and prophylaxis (including during pregnancy), treat AIDS patients with antiretroviral drug and perform CD4 tests. We collaborated with Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) to provide psychosocial programs for patients living with AIDS and to victims of sexual violence. A Ministry of Health partnership with UNICEF brought both infrastructure and training programs on neo-natal and infant nutrition to Borgne.