July marks the end of the year in the Partnership. We gather for our annual meeting, this year in Atlanta, to report on budgets, visits made over the year, and, most importantly, on the needs as stated by the people of Lagonave. It is by their direction that we begin to plan programs and strategies for the following year.
Over the last year, at their direction, we have educated two Community Health Workers to become midwives. We have begun a program for women and children. We have expanded a clean water project and we have continued to expand our children’s nutrition program to include more remote communities. During that time we have also had two remote clinics in communities that had not had local medical service before.
All of these projects give us more opportunity to talk to the people who need and receive these services so that we can expand, fine tune and tailor them to fit the needs of each community.
The important thing we learn every time we do this is that the people of Lagonave may live in isolated areas, but they know what they need. The women can tell you why they die in childbirth. The men can tell you what their struggles are with agriculture. The teachers and parents know what their children need to learn. The challenge is access and how to deliver services in a way that can be owned and sustained by the people themselves.
So, as we gather, we are writing reports on the past year, and writing projections for the next year based on what we have learned. Our Partnership does not sit in the US and decide what Haiti needs. We collaborate with the people of Lagonave to bring sustainable services to the island in the form of jobs, resources and education.
So, if you can join us in Atlanta we would love to have you. If not, please know that we depend on your support to continue our work. This is not short term aid work, but rather a long term relationship based on good development practices. And, as so many people are eager to ask: Yes, we do see it making a difference!