This Week’s Top Stories About Haiti
In many countries, associations, civil society organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the social and solidarity economy, and grassroots community organizations play an important role in local development. They are at the heart of the community. They are the ones who know best what the issues are and how to solve them. Their role is critical for sustainable development and for the country’s social, economic, and intellectual progress. According to Xavier, “associations are often carriers of long-term demands that better ensure the sustainability of the development of territories than carriers of interest short-term, even speculative” (Xavier, 2002, p. 18).
The latter try to take care of certain needs of citizens not satisfied by the State. Human and social factors are their priorities. Consequently, they are actors of local development and have an essential role to play at the economic, social, environmental, cultural, and educational levels in these environments.
Unlike other countries where the elderly are the majority in voluntary associations, in Haiti, due to growing unemployment, it is the young people. Volunteers or volunteers from local Haitian associations have always been at the forefront. We can cite the volunteers and/or volunteers of the Haitian Red Cross, scouts, Adventist Youth, Kiro, Volontariat pour le développement d’Haiti (VDH), associations, and member organizations of the Haitian Coalition of Volunteers (COHAIV).
According to Fritz Dorvilier, in the thesis on the organizational learning and dynamics of local development in Haiti, the associative dynamic between peasants in Haiti is a way of understanding the social reality which gives rise to other strategies of transformative actions. The support networks back home have had a real impact on their communities.
To illustrate the above, Saint-Marc is one of the municipalities in the country that brings together associations with increased development, with the support of NGOs, the town hall, and in partnership with the Ensemble Pour Haïti Rhône-Alpes, for the local development which has been an international association since 2010. The services offered by the EPH association (Ensemble Pour Haïti) to the beneficiaries of its projects really contribute to local development and the improvement of the living conditions of their beneficiaries.
What the law says
The Haitian law of 1997 legally recognized that any group of less than three people can freely form an association without prior authorization or declaration. But it can enjoy legal capacity if the group meets the legal conditions at the level of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor of Haiti. This law authorizes foreign associations to intervene according to the social utility of their projects. There is one condition: the foreign association must submit documents certified by the consulate of its country to the town hall of the area where it wishes to operate on the territory.
The 2006 bill on local Haitian authorities, passed by Parliament in March 2009, proposes a law that establishes the organization and functioning of Haitian local authorities, with a view to the adequate and equitable provision of public services to the population, regional development, and the strengthening of participatory and representative democracy (MICT, 2009).
The 2006 decree of law on the general framework of decentralization, the operating principles, and the organization of local Haitian authorities recognized in its articles 73 and 74 that the mission of local authorities is: civic, economic, social training, and culture of citizens.
- Role of for-profit and non-profit companies as well as civil society in local development policy
For-profit and non-profit enterprises allow the creation of wealth through the establishment of micro-enterprises, viable economic activities allowing people to have access to basic services such as health, education, food, housing, leisure, etc.
In Haiti, where are we?
In September 2015, the countries voted for 17 sustainable development goals that replace the 8-millennium development goals at the UN. The first goal aims to end poverty and fight against inequalities in all their forms and everywhere in the world.
Haiti is one of the Caribbean countries where there is a great need in terms of development. In a country where there is a large population living in rural areas below the poverty line, the issue of local development is very important to meet the needs of the population. Faced with needs unmet by public and private institutions, which are necessary for the proper functioning of an environment and citizens, associations must directly impact communities and their inhabitants through their projects.
This inexorably presupposes innovations in rural Haiti, where the majority of the population lives. This population has not stopped growing and has unlimited needs in the face of limited resources. Despite the enormous funding efforts of international NGOs in local development in Haiti, they have encountered difficulties that can be summed up in an approach due to the lack of knowledge of the real needs of the Haitian community. Suppose the results expected at the level of local development are unsatisfactory. In that case, this observation helps to explain in part why the NGOs then take paths that are not in the political plan of the State and local associations that know the reality and the real needs of their territory.
In Haiti, the actors of development at the local level are very heterogeneous: the mayor and the municipal councilors, the decentralized services of the State, the central government, the local NGOs, the associations, the religious organizations, the organizations of Vodouisants, etc.
In less developed countries where the State cannot meet the people’s basic needs, there is a high unemployment rate. The lack of development is characterized by social distress and is manifested by the inability of populations to satisfy basic needs such as food, access to drinking water, health care, clothing, proper housing, education, and having hobbies.
Local development through associative activities leads to the enhancement of several economic, political, and cultural sectors. Acting on the flow of poverty, the associations are considered key players in improving the living conditions of citizens.