Can you imagine what it would be like if attending school were a luxury and not a right?
For many of us, this is almost unthinkable. All children should be able to get an education. Unfortunately, this is often not the case in countries like Haiti. Due to the impoverished conditions that daily face the rural poor of Haiti, an education is out of reach for many children and young adults. It’s simply too expensive, not to mention that it takes these young people out of their communities. But that’s where Father Joseph and the University of uFondwa are working to make a real difference.
But positive changes are happening!
Unlike many post-secondary schools in Haiti, uFondwa offers financial assistance and scholarships to the rural poor that change the course of young people’s lives. And often, their communities as well. Through uFondwa’s Agronomy, Veterinary Medicine, or Business Management programs, students are not only able to get an education but also help raise their communities out of poverty.
The 3Legs Program
It is with great excitement that uFondwa is participating in the 3Legs Program, sponsored by the Raising Haiti Foundation (RHF). This program aims to transform rural Haitian communities for the better. It is the next stage in the evolution of the work of Father Joseph Philippe to lift up his fellow Haitians. The 3Legs program is designed to generate wealth within rural Haiti’s 572 farm-based communities, which comprise 75% of the country’s population.
The 3Legs Program is aptly named as it is composed of three parts:
Leg 1 is Local Grassroots Organization. The community forms a Local Development Committee (LDC), consisting of local elected officials, representatives of local organizations, and a professional experienced in grassroots initiatives. An Animator (community organizer) is hired and trained. This Animator educates the LDC on how to survey the community so they can write a Local Development Plan. Implementation of the plan is then initiated.
Leg 2 is Human Resource Development. The community’s LDC nominates secondary school graduates to attend the University of Fondwa (uFondwa), Haiti’s rural university, on scholarship. Three students are chosen: one to study agronomy, one veterinary medicine and one business management. Students promise to return to their home communities after they graduate, to work with their LDC to improve the livelihoods of all who live there.
Leg 3 is Small Business Development. The community’s LDC and uFondwa students, in consultation with uFondwa professors, begin to develop business plans that will help generate wealth in these rural communities, improving the standard of living for all residents. This part is being initiated this summer with a Business Development Plan Competition.
Here is how it works:
Six rural communities are taking part in the competition. Each team consists of the community’s uFondwa students, its Animator and its Local Development Committee members.
In the spring the uFondwa Dean and Assistant Dean at the school of business taught the competing students about the components of a business development plan and how to research a business idea that is viable for their communities.
The students have returned to their home communities for the summer break and are meeting with their Animator and LDC members. They are brainstorming small business ideas that will help their communities and will choose to focus on one idea.
The uFondwa business professors will visit each community during the summer to give further advice as the teams do the necessary research on their business concept and formulate a rough draft of a plan.
Once school reconvenes in October, the plans will be discussed with the uFondwa professors, who will offer further advice. After the business plans have been revised, the students from each team will present a formal proposal to a group of “judges,” consisting of uFondwa professors, Association of Peasants of Fondwa leaders, and a RHF Board representative. The judges will assess the plans, and the winning ideas will be provided with startup capital to put the plans into action to create real, self-sustaining small businesses that will help bring wealth to the winning communities.
How Can You Help?
Raising Haiti is actively seeking partners for rural Haitian communities that have achieved specific prerequisites and are therefore ready to focus on wealth creation through the 3Legs model. Such partnerships will be arranged with churches, other religious and social organizations, charitable foundations, universities, businesses, and individuals wishing to participate in this exciting, transformational process.
The financial aid and scholarships offered to students attending uFondwa are based on the generous donations of people like you. Donating is easy and only takes a minute of your time. Once you sign up, your contribution will be put directly toward scholarships for our worthy students. You can choose to donate weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. One-time donations are also welcome.
With your donations, we can offer scholarships to more students and make an even bigger difference in the rural communities of Haiti. Every dollar will contribute to uFondwa’s dream of empowering rural Haitians and creating a brighter future. Please donate today!
For more information on the 3Legs Program visit Raisinghaiti.org