“Good Neighbor Project” Helps Habitat Santo Community Work Toward Independence
December 1, 2012
Last April Haiti Partners began a partnership with Habitat for Humanity International to work for six months with the community in their Santo housing development (read blog post here). The objectives of this project included working closely with residents, other community members, and Habitat staff to strengthen their capacity to collaborate using the Circles of Change method, and then to facilitate the creation of a self-governing body, a code of conduct, and a detailed governance plan, to ease the community’s transition toward autonomy and independence.
This week we’re pleased to announce that the project has concluded and it was a great success. Participants decided to create an independent organization – “Citizens Dedicated to the Development of the Habitat Village at Santo” (Creole acronym: SIDDEVAS) – with elected committees to manage the community’s affairs and to implement the code of conduct that they developed. In an effort to support them, Co-Director John Engle will serve for two years on the newly established Ethics Committee and Abelard Xavier will be an organizational representative on the Village Council.
We were thrilled this week to be able to distribute the finalized governance plan to Habitat staff and SIDDEVAS leadership members. It was especially exciting because this week was also marked by a visit to the Santo community from President Jimmy Carter and some 600 volunteers to help finish the construction work that began after the 2010 earthquake.
Thank you to Habitat for Humanity International for showing confidence in this project as a real, lasting development strategy, and to everyone who made it a great success, especially the community members at Santo!