Haiti: Partnership with Ayiti Community Trust and PADF to Strengthen Haitian Environment, Civic Participation and Entrepreneurship

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (April 15, 2019) - The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and the Ayity Community Trust (ACT) have signed a new partnership to drive innovation, inclusion, and job creation in local communities in Haiti. The partnership will mobilize additional resources for community empowerment and resilience to improve the quality of life for Haitian communities.

"Haitians are extraordinarily innovative, and there are many promising opportunities to improve lives in Haiti,” said Katie Taylor, Executive Director of PADF. “We are very proud to partner with ACT to create sustainable development and self-reliance through local initiatives.”

The ACT and PADF will collaborate with USAID-funded community-led funding and development programs through the Organization of American States (OAS), the Participatory Community Development (CDD) program and the Small Grants Facility (SGF), which build the capacity of local organizations, strengthen community development, and support promising local solutions.

Areas of cooperation may be expanded to include broader water and sanitation, livelihood enhancement, economic development, environmental, land and natural resource management, resilient communities, community empowerment and capacity building.

About PADF: The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) seeks to create a just, peaceful, and prosperous hemisphere where every person has the opportunity to thrive. PADF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established by the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1962. We partner with and enable civil society, governments, and the private sector for the greater good of the region.

About Ayiti Community Trust (ACT): Ayiti Community Trust ACT is the country's first endowment fund. Built on Haiti's strengths and focused on the local needs of Haitians, it provides resources for sustainable solutions. ACT is registered in Haiti and operates as a grant-making community foundation. The fund will provide sustainable support to Haitian organizations in Haiti through three interconnected pillars: environment, civic education and entrepreneurship. Registered as a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, ACT was incubated by The Miami Foundation, the largest community foundation serving Miami for more than 50 years.

Community Driven Development (CDD): CDD is a three-year program funded by USAID, granted to the Secretary General (SG) of the OAS and implemented by PADF. The program aims to strengthen citizen participation between local authorities and civil society by identifying community development and investment priorities to stimulate employment growth, improve service delivery and better meet the needs of local people. The broader objective of CDD interventions is to support long-term local governance and capacity development in Haiti. The response from the SG, OAS and PADF is also aligned with the Government of Haiti's local governance priorities to increase local self-government, capacity and access to public services, as well as specific water and sanitation strategies, which emphasize decentralized systems run by the local community.

Small Grants Facility (SGF): The SGF aims to provide sub-grants to local organizations at the national level to sustainably build their capacity to achieve key development goals in specific areas of the program such as natural resource management, economic growth, basic education, community development, disaster preparedness, civic participation and social inclusion, subject to the availability of funds for each of the program areas. SGF is a 5-year project of the OAS, funded by USAID and implemented by PADF.

PADF and OAS Celebrate Project Successes During Haiti Board Meeting

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (May 10, 2018) – The Pan American Development Foundation’s (PADF) biannual board meeting was held on Thursday in Port-au-Prince, with opening remarks from Michele Sison, Ambassador of the United States to Haiti.

Ambassador Nestor Mendez, Assistant Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees opened the meeting by celebrating the ongoing collaboration with PADF: “I am proud of the partnership between PADF and the OAS to advance our common goals.”

Ambassador Sison outlined the priorities that PADF and the United States share in Haiti, such as advancing education, security, stability and diaspora engagement.

“PADF is supporting Haiti in achieving the country’s development goals,” said Nadia Cherrouk, PADF Country Director. “We continue to see major opportunities to contribute to Haiti’s prosperity by investing in youth, inspiring business growth and supporting community development.”

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., represented by PADF board member Federico Gonzalez-Denton, renewed its dedication during the meeting with a $100,000 check to support vulnerable populations.

Board members and Washington DC-based staff attended the meeting on a weeklong trip to Haiti. They visited PADF project sites, including schools, businesses and communities that PADF has served through its dedicated work in sustainable development.

During the meeting, entrepreneurs who participated in the USAID-funded LEAD program shared how PADF provided capital and technical assistance which resulted in the growth of their businesses. The entrepreneurs were selected to participate in a 6-year business investment program that generated $33 million in sales and created over 18,000 jobs in Haiti.

The Pan American Development Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, brings together many stakeholders to improve livelihoods, empower communities, strengthen civil society, support human rights, protect the environment and respond to natural disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean. Established by the Organization of American States in 1962, PADF has worked in every country in the region. In 2017 PADF reached 10.3 million people through sustainable development initiatives in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

100 Young Haitians Graduate with Vocational Training

It was a celebration of opening doors.

On Friday, 92 young Haitians walked across the stage to receive their diplomas in technical fields such as solar panel installation, cosmetology, cooking, tile installation, smart phone repair, textiles, and motorcycle mechanics. These young adults, nearly half of which were women, are now prepared to make a confident step into the work force.

The graduation ceremony was the final event for the yearlong SETEN program, sponsored by the Haitian Red Cross and the American Red Cross.

Unemployment continues to be a challenge for Haiti, threatening livelihoods among Haiti's vulnerable populations. 

"Projects like SETEN help strengthen the country's economy," said Nadia Cherrouk, PADF's Haiti Country Director. "By equipping these young people with good tools to cope with the job market, we are helping them to participate positively in the country's economy."

Haitian publication Le Nacional reports that the President of the Haitian Red Cross, Dr Guiteau Jean Pierre, also attended the event and offered some words of encouragement for the young graduates.

"These young people must be role models in their community. They must keep hope for a better tomorrow for themselves and their families. They must also show dynamism and solidarity," said Dr Guiteau.

As part of participating in the SETEN program, the young adults had the opportunity to attend seminars and workshops on community development and market needs. The project aims to facilitate trainings like this in order to inspire better overall wellbeing and civic engagement as each person becomes an agent of change in their respective communities.

Between Haiti's young adult training and empowerment programs, PADF has facilitated the successful training of nearly 600 young adults. PADF applauds the drive and determination of these young adults to refine their craft in a technical field.

More Projects in Haiti

LEAD Entrepreneurs Manufacturing New Local Jobs

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How two Haitian constructors have fought the odds to keep business local, boosting the area's economy by taking advantage of LEAD funding.

In Haiti, infrastructure projects are one of the largest employers in the national economy.  Even though aid from other countries boosted the construction/manufacturing sector after the 2010 earthquake, aid has decreased considerably in recent years. Regardless, the demand for quality, affordable, locally-produced, disaster-resistant buildings still remains.

"Locally-produced" is key. Hundreds of retail stores purchase construction material from foreign wholesalers before importing and reselling the material in Haiti. Very little construction material is produced locally, leaving a lucrative market valued at $70.91 million to manufacturers overseas.

It could be a huge market for Haiti, but that money is getting shipped off the island. Haitian construction/manufacturing companies face very few regulatory issues. Two companies have taken advantage of the situation and placed themselves as a permanent part of Haiti's construction sector.

The USAID-funded LEAD program is proud to sponsor two construction/manufacturing enterprises that have served Haiti by producing and constructing locally. The two businesses have been highly successful, independently creating over 1,000 jobs and generating over $5 million in sales. Here's a peek into what makes these enterprises so special:

A home designed and constructed by Veerhouse Voda, S.A.

A home designed and constructed by Veerhouse Voda, S.A.

Veerhouse Voda, S.A.

The 2010 earthquake was devastating, turning buildings into piles of rubble on the ground. Veerhouse Voda S.A. established in 2012 as a result of the earthquake, upon the premise that they could build build a new type of steel construction that would prevent future natural hazards from becoming disastrous. The foreigner CEO, Brendon Brewster, has faced setbacks and unique obstacles, like getting loans from local banks and convincing international investors to invest in a place as volatile as Haiti. After Veerhouse Voda leaped through hurdle after hurdle, they soon found the support they were looking for when they participated in the LEAD business plan competition.

Since winning the US-funded grant, Veerhouse Voda has attracted other investors, enabling them to open a steel frame manufacturing plant in Port-au-Prince. Veerhouse Voda serves its clients by offering a business model that reduces costly material and engineering expenses. Aside from quality construction, their clients appreciate their transparent and open way of doing business.

Their structures are Eurocode compliant, hurricane and earthquake safe, energy efficient, and allow for quicker construction than traditional methods. Veerhouse Voda sells its manufactured material to local hardware stores, thereby building local economy.

They also offer trainings for "affiliate builders," or their partners, on using a variety of steel frames they produce in new engineering techniques.

The company grossed only $360K last year, but this year they have six construction contracts totaling $3.9 million. Major construction projects include a therapy center, rehab center, dialysis center, hospitals, and schools.

Aside from their construction projects, Veerhouse Voda is launching several socially-oriented projects, including an educational program on Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). They also train other construction companies on how to use the EPS construction method, thereby disseminating their disaster-resistant construction methods.

As of August 2017, Veerhouse Voda has created 931 jobs and has generated $3.6 million in sales. Veerhouse Voda takes pride not only in its many building projects, but more importantly on the thousands of lives its projects have changed.

Expert Concept owner Monique Duperval presents on her company and LEAD.

Expert Concept owner Monique Duperval presents on her company and LEAD.

Expert Concept

Expert Concept S.A. is a woman-owned company that specializes in the construction of hurricane- and earthquake-resistant buildings. It constructs buildings using reinforced concrete or steel and provides electromechanical installation services. The company opened in 2006, but it wasn't until 2013 that it integrated into the metal structure construction market by opening one of Haiti's first metal factories. Its strategy is to offer specialized services that are usually outsourced to foreign firms.

After winning the LEAD business grant, Expert Concept had enough capital to open another workshop and since then, its production has increased significantly. The firm is part of the very few that offer quality construction services and products at an excellent price ratio.

In a highly male-dominated sector, Mrs. Monique Duperval, the CEO of Expert Concept, is the only woman in the country who is managing such a large construction/manufacturing company. The many successes of her projects have been acknowledged with awards all over the country. She's led the construction of schools, hotels, and the reconstruction of a college.

"The LEAD program's support has been a concrete bond," quips Duperval.

Expert Concept is now the only Haitian company that has a metallic structure workshop. With two strategically located workshops, it has been able to grow with more clients than ever. Expert Concept has created 275 direct jobs and generated $1.5 million in sales, as of August 2017.

More about our work in Haiti.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Port-au-Prince Entrepreneurs Receive Financing and Training

Residents of Canaan, a settlement that appeared on Port-au-Prince’s outskirts after 209,000 Haitians were displaced in the 2010 earthquake, are getting access to financing and job training.

It’s part of a $1.7 million project sponsored by the American Red Cross and USAID Haiti. PADF and Global Communities are implementing the yearlong project, called “Ann Bouste Canaan.” The goal is to promote equitable & resilient urban development by creating jobs and preparing people for the workforce.

One objective of the program is to train 150 young people in vocational schools. On June 13, youth completed their training. They received certificates in sewing, after studying for several months at a vocational school run by the nonprofit INDEPCO.

207 young Haitians received technical job training in a variety of fields.

207 young Haitians received technical job training in a variety of fields.

“Today I’m a new person,” said John Dolly Louis Charles, who was proud to receive his certificate. “I thank all the institutions that contributed to this project.”

John was part of the textiles training, but 200 others his age are training in computer science, floral art, and plumbing. Upon completing the two-month training, each trainee will be integrated into the program’s employer network.

The project, which started last July, has already made huge progress in training workers and equipping small businesses in Canaan.

Winning entrepreneurs celebrate their awards

Winning entrepreneurs celebrate their awards

In January, over 350 entrepreneurs applied to have their ideas brought to life in a business plan competition. After a 10-stage selection process, 29 businesses were awarded funding.

As a result of the funding, the winning businesses are expected to generate 400 new jobs.

An additional 30 small businesses will receive technical training on microfinance and accounting, including access to online credit.

Finally, 150 small business owners will get connected to microfinance institutions for financial services like micro loans and insurance.

The project is launching Haiti’s working class on an upward trajectory. Young people are training and becoming workplace-ready, and established businesses are receiving the financing and technical assistance necessary for long-term growth.

For young people like John, it’s a chance to have a livelihood. “I have a craft and I look forward to taking care of myself,” he says.

Urban Oasis: A Haitian Entrepreneur's Vision

Pink hibiscus flowers greet visitors to Lakou Breda, a hotel in northern Haiti's city of Cap-Haïtien. The gardens are full of fruits and vegetables and guests can see chickens, guinea fowl and rabbits roaming the grounds. It's an oasis in the city with historic significance as the home of Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the Haitian independence movement during the French Revolution.

At the heart of the hotel is owner Herold Decius, whose persistence and vision has created a sanctuary for the local community as well as for weary travelers. Lakou Breda also offers nature classes for young school children. 

Born in Cap-Haitien, Herold attended school in Canada, but longed to return to his homeland. “The day I finished university, I took a plane back to Haiti,” he says.

But starting a business in Haiti wasn't easy. “The loan at the bank is really expensive,” he says. “It's very difficult.”

Decius received a matching grant and technical assistance from the Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The program supports small and medium-sized Haitian business, allowing them to expand their operations, increase employment and spur economic growth. 

Today, the hotel includes 46 apartments and 10 bungalows. Decius is in the process of expanding the business to offer a full-service conference center and pool. Even before the construction started, the Haitan National Police came for a three-day conference.

“We’ll have the best conference room in Cap-Haitien,” Decius says. “It will be sold out.”

In addition to funds, LEAD is providing Decius with technical support in tourism, administration and marketing. 

For Decius, the secret to becoming a successful entrepreneur is never giving up. 

"You have to adapt," he says. "It’s like driving from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien. You know where you want to go, but you have to adjust your course to avoid potholes.”

LEAD Expo Celebrates Entrepreneurs

Port-au-Prince, Haiti — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) celebrated the success of dozens Haitian entrepreneurs supported by the LEAD program at a large exposition at the Karibe Hotel on June 8, 2017.  Through the LEAD program (Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments), USAID has provided 45 Haitian and diaspora-led entrepreneurs with the capital and technical support needed to grow their business. Implemented by the PADF, the program supports long-term economic growth in the region.

Each company was awarded a grant after successfully completing a business plan competition. Together, these enterprises have created more than 13,600 jobs in Haiti and are on track to create a total of 18,000 jobs by the end of the year.

“We congratulate the entrepreneurs here today,” said Brian Shukan, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. “You are the leaders of Haiti’s new economy. The LEAD project’s investment in these innovative entrepreneurs has unlocked millions in private capital. As their businesses grow, we anticipate that they will continue to attract financing from banks and equity investors, driving further economic development.”

Since 2011, USAID has invested $7.4 million in businesses in various sectors of the Haitian economy, unlocking $12.7 million in private capital. LEAD has also delivered more than 10,000 hours of training to entrepreneurs to build their capacity and improve business operations. Together, LEAD supported businesses— from the sanitary paper production plant to the solid waste processing plant, have generated nearly $ 28 million in sales.

“It’s inspiring to be in a room with so many dynamic and creative Haitian entrepreneurs,” says Nadia Cherrouk, PADF country director. “Their businesses are a testament to what can be achieved through hard work and persistence. Through LEAD, we are helping Haitians realize their business goals and creating a network of innovators. These entrepreneurs are paving the way to a more prosperous Haiti.”

The event included a business-to-business networking session to help the entrepreneurs forge important relationships with financial institutions, service providers and sector experts. 

About LEAD
USAID’s Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) project aims to attract investments in Haitian SMEs and increase the development impact of remittances. LEAD operates in the following three development corridors: Cap-Haïtien, Saint-Marc, and Port-au-Prince. The project is implemented by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). Since 2011, LEAD has awarded grants ranging from USD$50,000 to $200,000 to 45 small- and medium-sized Haitian enterprises, allowing them to expand their operations and increase employment.

The American people, through USAID, have been working around the world for over fifty years in humanitarian assistance and economic growth. For more information about USAID programs in Haiti, visit our website: www.usaid.gov/haiti 

About PADF
PADF is a nonprofit organization that brings together many stakeholders to improve livelihoods, empower communities, strengthen civil society, support human rights, protect the environment and respond to natural disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean. www.padf.org

Leveraging Investments with the Haitian Diaspora - USAID

"Today, more than 62 million Americans—a full fifth of the nation—are first or second generation diasporans."

Presented by a recent USAID report, this statistic exposes the potential of diaspora engagement in the United States. Although they may live far away, much of the diaspora population is still closely connected to their country of origin.

Click on the photo to read the report.

Click on the photo to read the report.

The report, released by the U.S. Global Development Lab, highlights several successful engagements of diaspora populations. Funded by USAID, our Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) program is featured for rallying the Haitian diaspora in the United States to support Haitian businesses.

The LEAD program has demonstrated a successful model for developing small- to medium-size enterprises in Haiti. Read more about the LEAD program.

Haiti is Open for Business: Lead Expo 2017

Haiti’s entrepreneurial spirit was on full display at an Expo showcasing Haitian- and diaspora-led businesses in Port-au-Prince on June 8. Dozens of businesses received funding and support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) program, which is implemented by PADF.

With the theme “Engines of Economic Development,” The LEAD Expo was a chance for entrepreneurs to network and display their products to members of the public and private sectors as well as potential investors. U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Brian Shukan congratulated the entrepreneurs on their success. “Today we celebrate you all as you display Haiti's economic potential,” he said in his remarks. Several of the LEAD entrepreneurs also spoke about their experiences running businesses in Haiti.

In total, the 45 LEAD enterprises have stimulated the Haitian economy by creating 13,695 jobs and producing $27.9 million in sales.

LEAD aims to facilitate the mobilization of investment capital from the diaspora and other sources and to increase the impact of that investment in small businesses and community-based social enterprises. Since 2011, USAID has invested $7.4 million in businesses in various sectors of the Haitian economy, unlocking $12.7 million in private capital.