Haitian Youth Tackle Local Challenges through IRI’s Ideathon Model

  • Sergio Uribe Henao, Roger Mitchell

On July 7, the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse shocked a nation and the world. This tragic event has added another layer of political challenges to existing simultaneous crises (insecurity, economic, food, and health, among others). Despite this, Haitians continue to show tremendous resilience and a desire to overcome their communities’ challenges through collective action, collaboration, and personal initiative. This blog is a reflection on the impact that locally led actions can have on communities around Haiti, even amid national tragedy.

From August 2020 to February 2021, IRI partnered with Banj, a Haitian tech startup with a proven track record of developing online training programs through its large traditional and social media networks, to adapt IRI’s Ideathon model and implement it in nine communities across northern Haiti. The Ideathon model offers a space for young leaders to design, pitch, and implement projects together and with their community leaders to promote sustainable youth-led solutions to community challenges. Furthermore, these initiatives provide young adults with the opportunity to engage in meaningful political and socio-economic development projects.

In Haiti, these activities were branded Programme d’Ideathon Communautaire (Community Ideathon Program) and referred to by the acronym PIC, meaning “summit” in French, to engage more youth. Throughout the communities of Sainte-Suzanne, Limbé, Milot, Bas-Limbé, Pilate, Vallières, Perches, Port-Margot, and Pignon, 661 young Haitians engaged in hard and soft skills trainings, held completely online, that foster leadership and address civic and political apathy among this growing demographic. These virtual trainings covered topics such as leadership and teamwork, community building, action planning, and project sustainability, and were recorded and disseminated on social media for all to freely watch and were viewed over 72,000 times. Following the trainings, 243 participants developed and submitted 61 project proposals, of which nine were selected and rewarded with personal coaches and seed funding to implement their social innovation projects. The following video showcases the successes of these activities and projects.

Given the Haitian people’s collective resilience in the face of crises, and their eagerness to find solutions to local challenges, IRI is currently implementing the second iteration of the PIC program in two of Haiti’s northern departments and will be expanding its reach to the South department later this year.

Up ArrowTop