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Resilient Leaders Rebuilding Haiti

They gathered. They encouraged each other. They envisioned a brighter future.

That’s what the Partners Worldwide Haiti LCI Summit was all about, seeing a vision of hope and progress for all of Haiti.

The event was just a couple weeks ago at the end of May and it was an optimistic gathering of over twenty Haitian business leaders of the 10 city-based business networks of Partners Worldwide Haiti. They came together to develop priorities for their annual partnership plans for the coming year. Priorities included expanding the successful business training in Haiti, forming local mentor groups, and recruiting new Haitian entrepreneurs to this growing movement. Faithful business affiliates (BAs) sat with the Haitian business leaders, sharing their experience and encouraging the local visions and plans for a Haiti where businesses and people thrive. Partners Worldwide staff were often sitting in the middle translating between English and French or Creole (I also witnessed some very creative use of WhatsApp with Google translate for communications) as questions, dialogues, and prayer as partnerships honed the plans together for the coming year.

It was a beautiful view of the three-way partnerships in action. Not easy work, but powerful due to the deep relationships and respect represented at each table.

Some of these BAs have been coming for over ten years, as often as every other month to mentor businesses and walk alongside the Haitian leaders. They have faced challenges together, including the devastation of the 2010 earthquake and then the road to recovery.  Together, they have cast big visions and challenged the numerous Haitian NGOs and aid agencies to stand with local businesses to create 100,000 Jobs in Haiti by 2020.

And progress is being made—with 15,000 jobs created and sustained in the Haitian business networks and broader coalition of NGOs and businesses that have joined the movement to create 100,000 Jobs in Haiti.

But it isn’t easy progress. Businesses in Haiti still face a challenging environment of power outages, overflowing waste, corruption, fallen bridges, and now the current uncertainty of delayed elections.

Yet, Haitian business leaders are responding to these barriers with resilient optimism and innovation. For example, one entrepreneur from Cap-Haitien has a growing business based on an innovative product that improves waste decomposition—addressing a critical need for waste management in the region. Walking alongside faithful Haitian entrepreneurs like these are BAs and PW staff—a powerful vision of resilient leaders in partnership working together for a Haiti without poverty, where all have life and have it abundantly.