Haiti Revitalization Featured as Model for Community Approach to Development

The World Bank has released its report on the ABCs of the Community Approach to Development. With over 270,000 people affected by improved access to services like water and plumbing, safer streets, and cleaner neighborhoods, PADF's PRODEPUR project in Haiti was featured as a model to follow. The following is an excerpt from that report.

Challenge

Crime and violence pose serious challenges to Haiti’s development. Poor urban neighborhoods in Haiti have been both victims and causes of explosive conflicts that combine demographic, socioeconomic, institutional, and political risk factors. Armed gangs in the country’s major disadvantaged urban areas—particularly those of the capital, Port-au-Prince—have used these areas as a base for kidnapping and other criminal activities. The negative activities of these groups extended across the capital and beyond, with damaging loses to human welfare and economic activity, and fueling high rates of violent crime.

Violence and insecurity in Port-auPrince’s disadvantaged urban areas in particular have undermined Haiti’s political process, fueled conflict, impeded economic activity, imposed costs on residents and businesses, increased migration abroad, and negatively affected development and reconstruction efforts following the 2010 earthquake.

Partly due to this crime and violence, living conditions in Cité-Soleil, BelAir, Martissant, and the other violent, impoverished areas in Haiti’s cities have ranked among the worst in the Americas. Amid high unemployment and acute poverty, malnutrition prevailed among residents.

Poor access to safe water and sanitation in these slums, as well as a lack of solid waste collection, threatened residents’ health and the environment. There were few public facilities or services and only a nascent presence of state institutions of any kind, including law enforcement.

Approach

The CDD approach, which grants control over planning decisions and investment resources for local development projects to community groups, was selected as a means to help mitigate conflict and violence in Haiti and to support stabilization in targeted slum areas by quickly providing improved access to basic services and income generation opportunities to beneficiary communities. IDA has committed US$53.2 million to the Haiti Urban Community-Driven Development Project (PRODEPUR in French). PRODEPUR operated in 10 of 17 “priority zones” identified by the government across five municipalities.

The government focused interventions in the priority zones to build political stability by restoring basic services and demonstrating visible improvements for the residents of these particularly volatile neighborhoods, which had high levels of violence and crime. Community-based organizations, through a participatory process, proposed, selected, implemented, and maintained subprojects that improved access to basic and social services. The project also introduced a flexible and participatory demarcation method to identify intervention areas as official demarcations barely existed.

Results

PRODEPUR helped improve the living conditions of more than 270,000 persons (as of February 2015) by supporting existing community initiatives to expand access to water, electricity, and sanitation services. The program also helped improve neighborhoods by constructing public spaces and rehabilitating roads and corridors, thus connecting residents to health centers, schools, and other services in nearby communities.

Under the project, 493 subprojects were implemented in targeted areas of Port-au-Prince and three other cities. In response to the January 2010 earthquake, with additional financing, the project immediately prioritized subprojects that addressed the disaster recovery needs of project communities, such as cash-for-work subprojects focused on the removal of debris from public spaces and cleaning of local drainage ditches.

These activities provided temporary jobs to over 5,000 people in the neighborhoods of Belair, Cité Soleil, Delmas, and Martissant. The additional financing funded a new component—Housing Repair and Reconstruction—that contributed to community-wide upgrading, including basic infrastructure and services which benefited approximately 24,800 urban households.

PRODEPUR also supported smallscale infrastructure and productive/ income-generating subprojects. Force d’Entraide Nationale pour le Développement (FENAD), a small brick-making factory, is one of the completed subprojects funded by PRODEPUR. When FENAD decided to start the business in 2010, it lacked financial and technical resources. Identified by PRODEPUR in 2012 as a promising subproject to support, FENAD put up more than ten percent of the equity capital and received US$20,000 in funding. Thanks to technical and administrative training from the program, workers and senior staff improved both the product and the management of the company.

By 2015, FENAD had grown to 40 workers from the community, 50 indirect workers, 1,500 bricks sold daily, and up to 150,000 Haitian gourdes (approximately US$3,200) in monthly profit. These numbers truly represent a success story for a company that started out with ten workers and sold at most 150 bricks daily. Today, in addition to being selfsustaining, FENAD has also bought its own land. “We worked hard; we paid one million gourdes (roughly US$21,000), using the profit we made,” says Chevelin Nicolas, the FENAD manager, proudly.