On January 12, 2010, an earthquake shook southwestern Haiti and leveled much of the capital city, Port-au-Prince. As a result, 87% of Haiti’s higher education institutions were impaired or completely demolished. A large segment of Haiti’s emerging skilled professionals were killed. An uncalculated number of professors, professionals and students have fled Haiti after the earthquake, contributing to the brain-drain of a critically needed people for the country.
The earthquake compounded a problem that already existed: a shortage of skilled and highly-trained professionals. Higher education must be a priority for Haiti’s rebuilding and long-term development strategy.
In response, Just Haiti collaborated with its coffee grower associations to initiate a university-level scholarship program for students of agronomy and business at accredited institutions of higher education in Haiti. Association members and members of their immediate family are invited to apply.
Annual tuition and fees for university education in Haiti can total up to $1,200. In exchange for $1,000 annual tuition assistance, scholars spend four weeks with grower communities each summer, working with farmers in the student’s area of specialty. The goal of this program is to support the grower associations in two ways: 1) promoting opportunities for rural students from under served areas to obtain higher education and 2) strengthening overall coffee production and income through ongoing formation in farming techniques and business practices. Scholars are chosen based on national test scores, financial need, and a phone interview with a Just Haiti board member.
Scholarship recipients agree to work for 4 weeks of summer vacation with grower communities and author a report based on this work experience. Given satisfactory academic progress and fulfillment of commitment to the grower communities, the scholarship is renewed until the scholar’s studies are completed.
In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which devastated vegetation in 4 of our 6 grower communities, our current students will play a critical role in implementing an extensive replanting and restoration plan coordinated by our Just Haiti agronomist, US church partners, and growers’ associations.
With this scholarship program, Just Haiti hopes to make university study a viable option in the rural areas where we work. Just Haiti only commits to a student if scholarship funds exist to support the student annually for the duration of his or her two, four, or five-year program. To date, the generous support of individuals and church communities has made this opportunity possible for six students representing three of our grower communities.
Your contribution will help us to sustain and expand our program!
In addition to verification of academic standing and parents' grower association membership, each scholar interviewed with a Just Haiti Board member.
Dachna Doll represents the APPCA association in the Carcasse region.
In her first summer internship, Dachna participated in a reforestation project and nursery repairs in Carcasse, Anette, and Capafou, responding to regional drought and damage brought by Cyclone Erika.
Jimson Guerrier, linked to the KDB association in Baradères region, has assisted in establishing seedling nurseries in Fond Tortue during his summer assignments.
Both Dachna and Jimson will begin their fourth year as agronomy students at the Université Notre Dame d’Haiti (UNDH) in Les Cayes this fall.
Jhon Jimmy Noel, representing the OPCDEL association in the Belladare region, began his agronomy studies at Université Quisqueya in Port-au-Prince in Winter 2016.
Casimir Blanchet and Marie Loudia Bruce have ties to the KDB association and come from the Baradères region. Both are third year agronomy students.
Casimir attends UNDH in Les Cayes, while Marie studies at the Université Episcopale d’Häiti in Port-au-Prince.
Our newest awardee, Ernst-Gerry Barthelemy, is from Ansdeno and began his studies in business at UNDH- Port-au-Prince in Spring 2017.
We supported Historique Matthieu during his final year of studies at UNDH. During his internship, Historique established a relationship with the growers of Fond-Gondol, documenting soil degradation in this community for the purposes of crop improvement.
This collaboration continued as he successfully completed an in-depth research project, on “The regression of coffee plots in the third section of Baradères,” which serves as a prerequisite for the granting of his agronomist’s license. Historique remains in touch with us via facebook. “I can not find the words to thank you,” he shared in a recent message.