We have completed our second full year as a 501c-3 organization and are proud to report investing nearly $350,000 in programs in Haiti during 2014.
We were honored to receive a grant of over $40,000 for our maternal health program through the generosity of the Presbyterian Women Thank Offering. This has funded badly needed repairs at the Bill Rice Clinic and the rollout of prenatal clinics in remote villages. Our medical director, Dr. Saintange LaPointe has resumed a training protocol for our community health workers under the leadership of our new senior nurse, Mr. Francky Charles.
Through a partnership with Reach Now International and StopHungerNow, we are able to sustain a lunch program at 25 cents a meal. We received two containers of fortified rice meals valued at $70,000 for only the cost of shipping the containers from the US to Port au Prince and then to LaGonave (approximately $9,500 each). However, with over 1,700 children, it takes many, many quarters to fund this program. We held our first crowd-funding campaign through Indigogo and exceeded our $10,000 goal by nearly 25%. It is critical to find sustained long term funding for this program and that is a key goal for 2015.
Also significant was a system-wide comprehensive teacher-training program held late this summer, the first formal training program in over five years. For the first year, all of our schools had a basic selection of textbooks and school supplies.
Our organization includes Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Anglican and other churches and organizations primarily in Georgia and South Carolina. We partner with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti in the areas of economic development, education of children and adults and healthcare on the impoverished island of LaGonave, home to more than 100,000 people.
Through the support of partners and outside fundraising, we support 10 primary schools, 1 secondary school, a medical clinic, 22 community health workers, an adult literacy program and a goat project and other activities. We consider the partnership a ministry of presence, accompaniment and economic development.
We strive for the highest level of financial effectiveness. We have no paid staff and all volunteers fund their own travel expenses. We fund jobs for over 190 Haitians on an island where employment opportunities are virtually non-existent. Our administrative costs are less than 1 percent of funds raised.
- Dr. LaPointe and Francky Charles attended a training conducted by Vitamin Angels in the fall.
- Sarah Taylor, a seasoned midwife, made two extended trips to Haiti to work with Soisilia Bertrand and Vilana St. Cherie in setting up our prenatal health program and monthly maternal health clinics in remote villages.
- Francky Charles has accepted responsibility for de-worming all school children.
- There were over 15 partner trips to Haiti during the year
- We purchased a new motorcycle to facilitate transportation for Franky Charles as he will travel among 10 communities to deworm children and administer vaccines and the Medika Mamba program.
- A Haitian-American medical laboratory expert revamped the lab at the Bill Rice Clinic and is providing a blueprint for development of lab protocols
- Jean Thony, supervisor of the goat project, conducted 2 training program for a total of 52 farmers, each of whom “graduated” with a pregnant doe.
- The lay leaders of the ten churches came together to revamp the adult literacy program which is now strengthened and intensified. This process was led and managed by Haitians.
- More than 60 people from 8 states representing 20 partner churches and affiliated organizations attended our annual meeting in July.
- We raised more than $7,800 through website donations and another $12,000+ through an indigogo crowd funding campaign. We are now an official participant in AmazonSmile and received $5,500 in corporate matching fund donations.
We move into 2015 with optimism and the sober awareness that our goals are lofty. To paraphrase Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health, we go to bed at night worried that we have over-promised and wake up in the morning believing that we have not promised enough. The LaGonave Haiti Partnership is a ministry of accompaniment. We are in a long-term relationship, through years of ample rain and harvests and years of drought or devastating storms. We strive to provide our Haitian partners with the tools they need to build better lives for themselves.
We thank all of our supporters – past, present and future – for their investment in the people of LaGonave. We pledge to continue to be good stewards of the monies entrusted to us and to be good partners with our friends in Haiti.