University of Notre Dame Haiti-Hinche

Partnering to foster sustainable and significant contributions to the health, well-being, and futures of Haitian citizens

Years of chronic under investment by the Haitian government in Haiti’s health and education sector have led to poor developmental and career outcomes for generations of families and learners. Today, two-thirds of the Haitian labor force does not have formal jobs, and multigenerational cycles of poverty limit younger generations’ opportunities to thrive. A staggering gap in Haiti’s middle management workforce leaves many Haitian-based companies without the essential, skilled employees that would enable a company to thrive and contribute to Haiti’s economy. 

 

Approach 

As part of its Social Enterprise Initiative, the GC-DWC’s partnership with the University of Notre Dame Haiti-Hinche (UNDH-H) seeks to fill knowledge gaps by providing Haitian students with robust opportunities in bioscience, entrepreneurship, and technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Leveraging the GC-DWC’s years of experience working in evidence-based global development, the partnership is poised to ensure these evolving initiatives become true centers of excellence through long-term capacity development, knowledge-skills transfer, and management coaching. 

 

Progress, Goals, and Impact

To date, UNDH-H has established several engaging and relevant opportunities for Haitian students:

BioScience Laboratory and Program: UNDH-Hinche has developed Haiti’s very first Bioscience program, equipping the country with the initial resources and infrastructure to cultivate locally-led solutions to complex health challenges. Notably, UNDH-H has already established itself as a leader in combating Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) and Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDDs), two diseases that frequently impact the lives and livelihoods of Haitian families. Initial investment for these ground-breaking developments came from the Kwansans Foundation and the McKenna Family of Chicago. 

Now, through strategic collaborations with the GC-DWC and the ETH Zurich Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health, the Bio Science Laboratory is amplifying its current efforts to address LF and IDD with goals to establish its lab as a nationally-recognized center of excellence for public health testing and research while simultaneously providing unprecedented training opportunities to form the next generation of Haitian researchers and scientists.

Social Entrepreneurial Center (SEC): The SEC provides a unique opportunity to equip Haitian students with the entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to create small- to medium-sized businesses that drive locally-led development efforts and employment opportunities in Haiti. Simultaneously, the center’s practical approach to business development in Haiti will ensure students graduate with the business wherewithal to become effective, contributing employees of any business. At its core, the center recognizes that when equipped with the proper resources, Haitian students not only thrive but become leading innovators in their communities. The center will partner with the GC-DWC’s Social Enterprise Initiative team to support the development of several exciting private sector initiatives in Haiti, which will ultimately contribute to educational sustainability. 

Through the generous support of the Kwansans Foundation, the SEC is 50% completed. 

Architectural rendering of the social entrepreneurial center
Architectural rendering of the future social entrepreneurial center at UNDH-Hinche.

Technical and Vocational Education Training Center: Working directly with underserved youth in the GC-DWC’s network of 340 schools, UNDH-H’s TVET Center will develop and offer practical training tracks that equip youth with the necessary skills to return to their communities and find work in their parish communities. Initial tracks include offerings in retrofitting shipping containers into portable libraries with computers, digital materials, play-based learning materials, and much more for the communities in which youth live. Students will not only gain construction skills but will also acquire relevant tech-based skills. Long-term, the TVET Center will have the opportunity to tap into other GC-DWC and community-based projects including but not limited to teacher training, community outreach, and franchise management.

With goals to establish UNDH-H’s bioscience lab as a nationally-recognized source of cutting-edge research and its entrepreneurship center as a hub of locally-driven innovation and change, UNDH-H’s commitment to robust, innovative education recognizes Haitian students’ capacity to become future leaders and changemakers in Haiti.