Notre Dame’s Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child receives $3.4 million to support resilient education in Haiti

The Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC) at the University of Notre Dame has received three grant awards totalling $3.4 million to fund resilient education programming in Haiti. 

These awards — from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the LEGO Foundation and USAID — build on Notre Dame’s long history in Haiti and its ongoing commitment to strengthen Haitian education through the Institute for Educational Initiatives. The institute began its work expanding early-grade literacy after the 2010 earthquake and now serves 270 schools and dozens of Catholic parishes.

"With our partners in Haiti, we are building resilient child development and education systems that draw on the three pillars of Haitian society: the home, the school and the church,” said Kate Schuenke-Lucien, the director for Haiti and senior associate director for strategic planning at the GC-DWC. “These new awards allow us to expand our work, especially in light of the damage caused by the 2021 earthquake.”

The awards support the following projects:

  • Education Partnerships: Supporting Disaster Recovery and Catalyzing Long-term Education Systems Development in Haiti. Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and in partnership with Fédération des Écoles Protestantes d'Haïti and the Ministry of National Education, the GC-DWC is convening a series of virtual and in-person meetings in early 2022 to review and reimagine how education actors can build a more resilient education system in Haiti. Situational analysis of earthquakes, school closures, student attendance and parental needs will be studied, and a common vision with response objectives articulated by participating stakeholders. The final report generated by these meetings will be used to guide education priorities for funders in 2022 and beyond.
  • Systems Activation in Emergencies: Leveraging the home, school and church to address early childhood development in Haiti. Funded by the LEGO Foundation, this is an 18-month response to chronic and systemic challenges facing the education system in Haiti that were exacerbated by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Southern Haiti in August 2021. The GC-DWC, in partnership with Catholic Relief Services and the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education, is working with communities in the South department to support school earthquake recovery and integrate a robust package of interventions for children and their families based on two core programmatic pillars: focusing on relationships and activating the system closest to the child. Beginning last December, the consortium introduced radio programming for distance learning, outreach and training for parents of children ages 8 and younger and early childhood development programming, including hot meals for students. The GC-DWC will also establish community resource centers in five parish communities to link school-based learning activities to parent programming and engagement.
  • USAID Crisis Modifier for Strong Beginnings. Funded by USAID, this crisis modifier allows GC-DWC to build on its Strong Beginnings project and supply additional resources to Haitian learners in light of political protests, school closures and frequent earthquakes. The additional funding will allow GC-DWC to build temporary learning structures, provide psychosocial support to parents and deliver nutrition support for families.

“The GC-DWC is excited to partner with Haitian educators, administrators, leaders and donors to respond to urgent needs in Haiti and build a stronger foundation for education moving forward,” said Neil Boothby, the director of GC-DWC and a professor at Notre Dame. “We hope these investments will go a long way toward creating pathways for learners to bright futures.”