Notre Dame's History in Haiti

The Institute for Educational Initiative’s (IEI) Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) began exploring opportunities to support Catholic schools and the mission of Holy Cross in Haiti in 2006. When the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, ACE responded by helping to rebuild Basile Moreau, a K-12 Holy Cross School in Port-au-Prince, and also began a broader engagement with Haiti’s Catholic school system. Forming a sustained partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Haiti’s Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education (CEEC), ACE Haiti and its partners emerged as leaders in educational reform, research, and programmatic change in the Haitian context, especially in the field of early grade literacy.

In 2021, ACE Haiti formally joined the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child becoming the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child Haiti (GC-DWC Haiti). GC-DWC Haiti now drives cutting-edge education policy, practice, and applied research in early grade literacy, whole child development, social and emotional learning, nutrition, systems activation, and social enterprise. The team’s work has yielded promising improvements to student literacy outcomes and foundational skills while engaging the networks most central to Haitian children: the home, school, and church.





ACE begins exploring a partnership with the Congregation of the Holy Cross, which runs 25 schools in Haiti and has been an active presence there for the past 70 years.


The 2010 earthquake devastates Haiti, and Notre Dame pledges its support.


ACE Haiti rebuilds Holy Cross’ flagship school, Basile Moreau School in Port-au Prince.


Holy Cross launches a teacher training institute in northern Haiti.

ACE Haiti, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and Church partners conduct an assessment of Haiti’s 2,315 Catholic schools.

ACE Haiti receives a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to work with CRS and the Church to support the training of 1,000 teachers and the creation of governance structures in 200 schools. 


ACE Haiti supports the development and implementation of academic interventions at Basile Moreau School.

ACE Haiti receives a grant from Porticus to launch Read to Learn, an early grade literacy program in French and Haitian Creole in partnership with the Church and CRS, in 52 Catholic schools in the Nord and Artibonite departments.


Read to Learn yields the strongest improvement in student outcomes of any early grade literacy program in Haiti.

In collaboration with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, ACE Haiti supports the creation of the Model School Network in the Center Department of Haiti.


ACE Haiti secures a $13.3 million Global Development Alliance (GDA) grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Porticus, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for its Read Haiti program.

Read Haiti scales its early grade literacy program to 340 schools across five departments (Nord, Artibonite, Center, Sud, and Grand’Anse), ultimately serving 100,000 students.

ACE Haiti pilots social and emotional learning (SEL) programs in 20 schools in the North and Artibonite departments.


ACE Haiti begins collaborating closely with the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC), which joins the Institute for Educational Initiatives in 2019. 


In response to COVID-19, ACE Haiti and the GC-DWC develop a comprehensive distance learning radio program for students during school closures.

ACE Haiti closes out project work on Read Haiti.

ACE Haiti and GC-DWC secure a $16 million GDA grant from USAID, Porticus, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for 270 schools across five departments for its Strong Beginnings program. Strong Beginnings continues Read Haiti’s early grade literacy program and further scales the SEL program. Strong Beginnings also begins to test community-driven early childhood development and positive parenting interventions in five Innovation Communities in the Nord departments, reinforcing a community ecosystem with plans to scale these interventions to the rest of the schools in its network.


The Haiti Salt Project, a social enterprise committed to eradicating iodine deficiency disorders through the distribution of locally-produced, fortified salt, joins the GC-DWC.

ACE Haiti formally joins the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child, becoming the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child Haiti (GC-DWC Haiti).