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THP’s National Network of Schools: An Upstream Solution to Poverty & Development

The Haitian Project, which has been providing quality secondary education in Haiti for three decades through Louverture Cleary School outside Port-au-Prince, is embarking on an ambitious plan to develop a network of 10 schools, one in each governmental district of Haiti.

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North Kingstown, RI—February 4, 2018—The Haitian Project (THP) is embarking on an ambitious plan to develop The Louverture Cleary Schools Network in Haiti—a national system of 10 schools, one in each governmental department, providing 3,600 students with a rigorous, tuition-free Catholic secondary school education and supporting 1,200 alumni on scholarships to Haitian universities each year.

The Haitian Project, which has been providing quality secondary education in Haiti for three decades, sees this endeavor as a game-changer for Haiti—a way for the country to finally have the human capital necessary to emerge as a successful nation out of the poverty and chaos that has gripped the second oldest republic in our hemisphere for over two centuries.

THP President Deacon Patrick Moynihan has led the organization since 1996 when his older brother, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, encouraged him and his family to make Haiti their destination as a missionary family.  Deacon Moynihan is quick to point out that not only is education transformative for the individual, it is the best way to address chronic challenges with rule of law, poverty, health and environmental degradation. 

“Given Big Philanthropy’s over-emphasis on health, and corporate America’s frenzied focus on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance issues), I am concerned that education is getting lost,” Deacon Moynihan says.  “There can be little success addressing these issues around the world without greater support for education, especially where it’s most needed.  It is human capital, properly informed, that ultimately makes government work, justice prevail, protects the environment, makes economies grow in an equitable fashion and allows for the efficient and sustainable delivery of healthcare.”

The Network builds upon the success of THP’s existing Louverture Cleary School (LCS), a tuition-free, Catholic coeducational secondary boarding school located just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, serving 350 students. In a country where children are more likely to die before the age of five than finish high school, LCS’s historic pass rate on Haiti’s national exam is 99 percent-four times the national rate. Thanks to THP’s university scholarship program, LCS graduates go on to attend and graduate from university in a country where less than one percent of the population holds a university degree.

Upon finishing university in Haiti, Louverturians are highly sought after by local employers for their education, ability to speak four languages and leadership skills. Having come from families earning less than $1,000 a year, alumni are earning an average of $12,000 annually just a few years out of university.

Most importantly, in a country where 70 percent of college graduates leave the country, 90 percent of LCS graduates remain in Haiti. This is by design and embodied in the school motto: What you receive for free, you must give for free (Mt 10:8). Louverturians are committed to remaining in Haiti and building strong families, strong communities, and a stronger country for themselves and their children.

Ensuring the proper integration of the new schools into their communities and regions is a top priority for THP, which envisions the new schools not only as significant positive contributors—economically, socially and environmentally—in each of the new locations. To achieve this, THP has attracted the enthusiastic assistance of a group of experts and advisors, many of whom now serve on THP’s Site Evaluation and Advisory Team (SEAT), which is charged with selecting the sites for the new schools and developing the community integration plans. This group includes a former U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, a retired army colonel as well as experts in renewable energy, water solutions, agriculture and architecture.

"Too often external groups, no matter how well intended, merely replace or even diminish the capacity of the area that they enter,” says Deacon Moynihan. “Our hope, based on what we have learned from working and living for over three decades in the same community, is to add to and enhance what is already successful in the communities who have invited us to locate schools in their area."

At a time of increasing concern for the environment, including growing awareness of massive accumulations of plastic in the world’s oceans (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be twice the size of Texas,) THP sees education as an upstream solution to environmental degradation and climate change. For over 20 years, LCS has taught students about the importance of environmental stewardship. While Haiti currently lacks the infrastructure to properly manage its waste, students at each of the new schools will continue LCS’ practice of cleaning the campus, recycling, composting and properly disposing of trash—thus keeping plastic out of the oceans in the first place.

What will be new are increasing opportunities for students to be exposed to emerging green technologies as a part of their normal maintenance activities. Together with SEAT and members of the Haitian private sector, THP plans to use the Network as a platform to pilot innovative and sustainable energy and water solutions that will begin to turn the tide of environmental degradation and pollution in Haiti. Solar microgrids, flywheel energy storage technology and biogas solutions are just a few of the ideas under consideration. Meanwhile, the current campus is already 100 percent solar energy sufficient, making the pursuit of these new opportunities the next chapter in a long history of sustainable growth.

While full of excitement and promise, the ambitious undertaking is not without its challenges. For starters, THP will eventually need to raise over $10,000,000 each year to operate the Network, which can be a challenge in the current philanthropic environment. Deacon Moynihan notes, “We are going to have to move education higher on the list of things people choose to fund when helping developing countries. Currently, the split is about 80 percent for immediate services and relief—the majority of which is health-related—and less than 20 percent for education and social institution-building. That mixture has proven ineffective at creating systemic long-term change. If we can increase the amount going to education, we can be of better assistance.”

At $73,100,000, the initial investment required to construct the schools and cover the start-up costs for the project is also no small feat. “We have to find the funder (or funders) who is fully engaged in philanthropy at the top end and convince him or her that EDUCATION is the right catalyst—that it’s the best multiplier by far,” said Deacon Moynihan.

THP is confident that the payoff for Haiti will be significant and that the Louverture Cleary Schools Network will be nothing short of a catalyst for robust institutional and economic growth. The projected cumulative earnings of graduates over a 40-year period underscores this point. At over $9 billion, the impact of graduates from the Network will be transformative. For comparison, Haiti’s GDP in 2017 was approximately $8 billion.

This transformative change is a major topic in THP’s new Network campaign video, Education Works. It is partly why the film’s producer, nationally renowned message-maker Tad Devine, called the Network a “demonstration project” with potential to change how philanthropy interacts with developing countries around the globe.

 

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Media Contact:  

Colby Bowker, VP of Communications
The Haitian Project, Inc.
401-500-0287 / c.bowker@haitianproject.org

 

About The Haitian Project: 

The Haitian Project through its support of Louverture Cleary Schools, a national network of tuition-free, Catholic, co-educational secondary boarding schools in Haiti, provides for the education of academically-talented and motivated students from Haitian families who cannot afford the cost of their children’s education in order to maximize their potential and enable them to work toward building a Haiti where justice and peace thrive.

 

www.haitianproject.org