“Haiti is a weed, it will bend but it will not fall,” stated Pierre Noel, Director of the Haiti Fund, in his opening remarks at the Haiti Funders Conference. The Boston Foundation hosted more than 110 participants from foundations, civil society organizations and U.S. and Haitian government officials in Boston for the two-day conference June 5 – 6, 2014.
The goal of the meeting was to learn from the experiences of funders in Haiti and to discuss and highlight effective development practices. Funders discussed advances in areas such as human rights, education, civic engagement and systemic change.
Laurant S. Lamothe, Prime Minister of Haiti, presented the priorities of the Haitian Government. He emphasized a priority on putting the country on the path of sustainable development and the need for the mobilization of the diaspora to contribute to the development of Haiti, beyond remittances and isolated endeavors.
Other presenters provided insights into their work in Haiti. Jenny Petrow, from the Inter-American Foundation, stressed the importance of coordinating with public leaders when giving grants in Haiti. A civil society organization may receive a grant that is larger than local public budgets.
Alix Cantave, Kellogg Foundation program officer, mentioned the importance of looking for systemic solutions that could scale up. ”Haiti is not a neighborhood. Whatever we do, we have to think about hot to scale up“
In the closing ceremony, most attendants agreed on the importance of continuing discussions among funders to share lessons learned and align work when reasonable. A key outcome of the meeting was that the Haitian Prime Minister promised to receive a document where funders collaborative lay out their priorities and recommendations on how to better work together with the government in Haiti.