Working together, with dignity and respect, for change.

Why a new leadership paradigm is key

We believe that jobs and conditions that give way to business development and economic growth are what will put Haiti on the road to success. We also believe that currently the ecosystem needed to raise up entrepreneurs in Haiti to be able to start and build small businesses doesn’t exist. Haiti ranks 181st out of 190 countries in ease of doing business and 188th out of 190 in ease of starting a business.

The ecosystem that will give way to new business start-ups, investment, and a flourishing economy has to be built. If Haiti’s approach to education does not change, a leadership paradigm characterized by abuse of power and a failure to inspire will be perpetuated and Haiti will not be able to create the necessary ecosystem — government policy, infrastructure, a trained workforce, etc. — for business and economic growth.

The key to Haitians changing Haiti is a new leadership paradigm characterized by collaboration, strong values, and vision. And the key to a new leadership paradigm is a different approach to education.

What We’re Doing

Together with the Children’s Academy leadership team and the community, Haiti Partners is pushing the envelope in collaborative leadership. Teachers, staff, and parent volunteers are learning to take greater leadership and responsibility as their part in realizing a big vision. Whether it’s structures of accountability like the school committee, leadership team or parent association, or in collaborative practices like teachers making decisions about new hires, what’s happening at the Children’s Academy is completely atypical for Haiti. The result is that people bring their whole selves to their work and engage enthusiastically to help carry out our shared mission.

There are a couple methods we use in particular to teach an approach to leadership completely different from Haiti’s norm. One is Open Space Technology, a meeting method through which participants self-organize to discuss and address the issues they identify as most important under a particular theme. Another is Touchstones, a discussion-based education method for diverse groups that teaches collaborative leadership through weekly, structured discussions of short, carefully selected texts.

Strong partnerships support our goal of establishing a new leadership paradigm at the Children’s Academy and elsewhere. Haiti Partners is a proud member of the WorldBlu network, and has made the Worldblu List of Freedom-Centered Workplaces eight years running. The Children’s Academy has also made the list for the last two years. To make the list every employee takes a survey gauging the organization based on 10 principles of freedom-centered leadership. We have also worked with and drawn inspiration from Barrett Values Centre to become a more values-based organization and to better integrate positive values into the education that our schools provide.


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