Individual Project for Illiterate Women - One participant from the “coaching’ program has initiated a literacy programme for illiterate women who work in local markets. Now, they are excited to write their names on the board.
31 August 2007
Haiti is going through a new period of hope and action. UNIFEM, the Gender Unit of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and two local NGOs work to assure that a firm commitment to the democratic processes and an increasing awareness of stable social and economic policies will respond to the needs of Haitian women.
Municipal elections scheduled to take place from 2007 to 2008 have
a very important role in building Haiti's decentralization process.
They provide a rare opportunity for women to enhance their political
participation as leaders both at the provincial and community levels.
The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) has provided a grant which
supports a two-year initiative entitled "Supporting Women's Political
Participation in Haiti". The project is implemented by UNIFEM, MINUSTAH
Gender Unit and two local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Famn
Yo La and the Center for Commitment, Responsibility and Capacity Building
During the first week of the program of 'coaching', a team of consultants visited women participants in their regions to observe how they interact within their constituencies and to review what types of progresses they have achieved in developing their own projects. Participants proudly showed to trainers their concrete results based on knowledge and experience gained during the training programme on "(how to enhance) your coaching skills". One of the most successful stories is Mrs. Ruffine Labbe, a trainee who is running a school called "Oganizasyon Fanm Lavale" for illiterate women in La Vallee de Jacmel, south of Haiti. In a couple of months, 32 illiterate women have learnt to sign with their names, thus gaining in confidence and self-esteem. This results from the personal investment and dedication of Mrs. Labbe who has taught those women to become independent and to take responsibility for themselves. Ms. Puechguirbal, Senior Gender Advisor of MINUSTAH, organizer this project, comments that "Such initiative would help reinforce the work of women community leaders by instilling a new confidence in their own capacities, thus displaying to other women strength and determination".
During the second week of training, participants learnt a tool called a SMART approach i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound in order to develop and optimize organizational strategies. Divided in small groups, women participants learned various elements of being a good leader, such as determination, vision, strength, team player and creativity, and also identified obstacles in becoming such a leader. In addition, they discussed and exchanged views on how to overcome difficult challenges. By introducing more active and participatory approach, this project is certainly an innovative action in Haiti. As a result, each participant can utilize her new skills to benefit her family and her community, becoming more confident about herself. At the same time, participants have established strong networking groups with the aim of helping each other and, beyond, women who would like to enter into politics. Establishing an effective networking is another key tool in empowering women and their organizations in Haiti.