For years, Haiti has been plagued by political instability, economic hardship, and natural disasters, among other crises. IRI seeks to collaborate with grassroots civil society organizations (CSOs), local government partners, and young community leaders to support responsive local and national democratic governance, bottom-up community engagement, and citizen-led policy action.

A fundamental pillar of IRI’s efforts in Haiti is working to empower voices that are often excluded from the political process. IRI’s partners include youth, women’s groups, faith-based organizations, and other marginalized groups that seek strengthen their ability to provide important contributions to Haitian political discourse.

Due to their understanding of Haiti’s history, culture, and on-the-ground dynamics, these partnerships with local organizations are vital to IRI’s programming success. In a recent program, Fostering Democratic Transitions & Citizen Engagement at the Local Levels in Haiti, IRI collaborated with local partners to assemble community factsheets and to share their contents on local radio stations. These widely shared resources will serve to facilitate knowledge sharing in time for an eventual democratic transition on the municipal level.

IRI’s recent collaboration with faith-based organizations under its program, Elections & Political Processes Support Activity, is aimed at understanding perceptions within the religious community on political engagement and activism, as well as empowering communities to be effective stakeholders in the electoral process. By continuing to work with grassroots CSO partners, IRI hopes to increase its capacity to engage political, economic, and social developments. By providing these Haitian organizations with institutional best practices, resources, and tools, IRI works to solidify their ability to ensure electoral integrity.

To date, IRI has worked with nine municipalities in Haiti’s North and Northeastern departments to strengthen the democratic governance best practices and promote citizen engagement, especially the role of Haitian youth as agents of change in their communities. Through IRI’s Ideathon model, IRI and its local Haitian partners have provided space for Haitian youth to receive capacity building trainings, identify community challenges, and develop sustainable solutions to those challenges. These youth-led community projects are a source of inspiration and testament to the resiliency of Haitians as a whole.

IRI is evaluating the impact of these youth programs with the intent of expanding them to other parts of Haiti such as the Dominican-Haitian border. Additionally, IRI is laying the groundwork for a new community radio program in the same target areas of the country. Radio programming is a strategic investment in Haiti in light of the recent leadership vacuum and need to reinforce civic and democratic principles at the local level.

While facing numerous challenges on the political, economic, and social fronts, Haitians are dynamic and inspiring people that strive for a better future. IRI will continue to support our Haitian partners and the Haitian people as they tackle these current challenges work to build a better future.

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