SUMMARY: Haiti Onward (HO) embodies a design collaborative combining ancient wisdom with modern technologies to create new economies. Through innovative, multi-tiered collaboration, HO partners with local communities to establish state‐of‐the‐art sustainability training, demonstration and research centers where Haitian faculty and youth spearhead establishment of a just economy and viable ecosystem.
PROBLEM SPACE: Amidst historical and modern day complexities magnified by the January 12th 2010 earthquake, a unique set of conditions exists for collaborative design to address the pragmatic need to rebuild vital structures sustainably, while creating transparent and scalable solutions to the economic, environmental and social challenges facing the Haitian people.
SOLUTION: Moving beyond the 'one organization' development model, HO Building Sustainable Pathways initiative brings together 15 Haitian and international organizations dedicated to delivering content and curriculum that develops holistic, economically viable and scalable sustainability solutions. Haiti Onward’s collaborative design platform engages leading organizations and local stakeholders to yield community- and place-based outcomes informed by ecological, anthropological and climate change data from world-renowned scientists and researchers.
A central Sustainability HUB will occupy a rural, 300-acre parcel provided by the Haitian League in the agriculturally rich central plateau to serve as the central home for a state-of-the-art workforce/leadership training and research center focusing on the integration of modern technologies such as water purification, eco-sanitation, and zero waste and renewable energy systems; and ancient techniques such as permaculture, natural building and biodynamic farming. Access to micro lending; the development of carbon market and cottage industries; social entrepreneurial training and job placement services will create sustainable pathways and scalability.
The central HUB will contain a Community Knowledge Center to serve as a media base for community-led information gathering and sharing, and include community classrooms, cyber-café, yoga studio, and lodging. Demonstration and research sites for ecological design systems will serve as campus centerpieces of living whole systems and provide opportunities to collect and share data. There will be 9 regional HUBS – community centers that are living 'laboratories' for hyper local communities to develop their own solutions. HUBS and their participants are able to communicate with each other, with the broader network of Haiti Onward collaborators, and can incorporate a framework to learn from the larger community. This prevents the myopic, parochial approach to development that is so pervasive. This approach is also very inclusive; it seeks to engage existing NGOs, local and national government agencies, and community organizations of all kinds.