by Amy Watts and Manuel Padilla
Haiti Project Co-coordinators
Staff and Organizational Capacity-Building
One of the goals this year is to provide training and support in Pax Christi Port-au-Prince’s (PCPAP) desire to be more intentional about their program planning and evaluation. While they have been working tirelessly on their various programs at SAKALA, rarely have the staff taken the time to map out their goals and work plans on paper. Many of us know just how challenging this can be in our own organizations. This week, we had the opportunity to meet with various program managers and their teams (sports, education, ecology, and logistics) in order to go over the importance and process of program planning and evaluation. Our discussions were rich; in the process of discussing the nitty-gritty of goal-setting and program description writing, broader questions surrounding topics of organizational structure and communications came to light and the staff were empowered to ask questions and start a dialogue with the administrative staff. In the coming week, each of the program managers will work on filling out a program planning document and then have the opportunity to share their ideas with other staff and receive feedback at the beginning of June. We hope this process will assist PCPAP in their own organizational development as well as serve them well when applying for future grants.
Another request we are fulfilling is planning an all-staff training and team-building day at the end of this month. The purpose of this training will be to give an opportunity for the staff to renew their spirits with one another and for the mission of SAKALA (and have a little fun in the process!). In our planning for the day, we’ve been blending together activities that explore components of peace-building, nonviolent communication, and problem-solving skills, while providing space for the staff to better understand and appreciate each others’ roles on the team.
English Classes for Young SAKALA Ambassadors
As some of you know who have visited SAKALA, the kids gather each day after school at the community center building. Various activities abound–from tutoring to sports to gardening–depending on the day. While we’ve been here, we have been meeting with the children a couple of times a week to teach them some simple English. The idea came from Daniel Tillias, Director of Pax Christi Port-au-Prince, who said that when English-speaking foreigners come to visit the program, he wants the children to be able to interact with them and be ambassadors for the program.
The kids have been very enthusiastic so far and are amazing us with how quickly they are learning. Next time your group is at the SAKALA site, be sure to ask “How are you?” “What do you like to do?” and “Where do you live?” and see the impressive responses you receive! One of the highlights thus far has been teaching them the game ‘charades’ in order to have them practice new English words and phrases.
Supporting Peace Education Facilitators
Always at the heart of our collaboration with Pax Christi Port-au-Prince has been the focus on peace-building and the support of their desire to weave peace education into every aspect of their programming. This trip’s main goal has been to work with those staff of SAKALA who have been chosen to be the first facilitators for the new peace education curriculum. We are enthusiastic about the potential of these facilitators and believe their dedication to being peace educators is strong. This coming week, we’ll spend two full days with them as we explore the peace education framework, a Paulo Freire style of facilitation, and make plans for the first lesson.
We’d like to extend a huge thanks to all those on the Pax Christi USA side who assisted us in taking the desires and ideas from PCPAP and contributed to the development of the curriculum. The participants of the year-long program will learn the stories of famous peacemakers and explore the links to their own lives and skill-building for peacemaking and mentorship in Cite Soleil and Haiti.
A Special Note Regarding the Pax Christi USA Conference
Many of you are attending the upcoming Pax Christi USA conference in Atlanta next month. We hope those of you involved with SAKALA, or who are eager to connect and contribute in a deeper way, will take the opportunity to connect with one another during the weekend. Some members of Pax Christi Florida are coordinating this effort. Please listen for when the time is scheduled to gather together over a meal during the conference. Also feel free to email us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the collaboration between PCUSA and PCPAP and explore how you can contribute to the important peace-building work in Cite Soleil.