Announcing a Strategic Partnership to Improve Classroom Instruction in Haiti MDG2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

September 2012, Maryland –  WebFirst, Inc. and the HavServe Volunteer Network (HavServe) have formed a strategic partnership to improve classroom instruction and better evaluate teachers by collecting student data in rural communities in Haiti, using mobile technology for the upcoming school year. WebFirst will be designing, developing and implementing an elementary school data system for rural communities in collaboration with HavServe in Haiti and will expand data collection for multiple student outcomes and help educators and stakeholders find areas for improvement.

The goal is to improve data collection and analysis, which is needed to comply with the Millennium Development Goals 2 in Haiti and HavServe CEO, Joyce M. Hunter believes it will accomplish three major goals on the country’s education reform agenda:

  •  The data collection will help evaluate the effectiveness of teachers and administrators,
  •  Provide information to help legislators make well-informed decisions and
  • Predict primary school students difficulties to improve learning and encourage career readiness among students.”

The data also will be available for legislators and other stakeholders, so they can address educational issues with an accurate picture of student challenges and performance in rural communities. Carline Brice, HavServe, Executive and Founder along with Kristin Derry, HavServe Education Program Coordinator will launch the data collection project in September 2012 and look forward to the metrics it will produce. “I am proud of the work of HavServe in Haiti to promote access to primary education for all children and we are working  to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for education reform in rural communities in Haiti,” Ms. Brice comments on the program. “Utilizing mobile technology and the use of high quality data will increase the ability of stakeholders to improve instruction and student outcomes.”  “We are very excited to be working with HavServe in applying mobile technologies to helping increase access to education in Haiti,” said Sanjay Patel, President and CEO of WebFirst, Inc. 

“We feel strongly that mobile will play a key role in helping organizations to streamline data collection and assessment efforts, while increasing their ability to deploy resources where they are needed most.”  WebFirst and HavServe look forward to this partnership that will empower villagers with the education, training, and basic services necessary for them to play an ever-increasing role in determining their own futures and creating a sustainable Haiti.

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Patricia Mercado from Columbia Contribution to Achieving MDG2: Achieve universal primary education

I am Patricia Mercado, a Colombian citizen who has lived in Washington D.C. for more than 10 years. I completed a BA in Marketing and Advertising in Colombia and came to the U.S. to complete my MA at Johns Hopkins University. I am currently working as a Marketing Officer at the OAS Staff Federal Credit Union. Last month, I started my volunteer activities in Lebrun, Haiti with HavServe to get the insight of the 5 schools’ situation and gather ideas from the community to implement the Character Education Program in September 2011.

1. What motivated you to seek a volunteer opportunity in the Village of Lebrun, Haiti?
After listening to many incredible stories from people who had volunteered in Haiti, how powerful and inspirational their experiences have been, and how slow the progress have been on the ground to help Haiti help itself, I decided to look for some volunteer opportunities and make my own contribution. Furthermore, I wanted to have the ultimate volunteer experience and my trip to Lebrun, Haiti has been more than that.

2. What was most frustrating or challenging to you during your volunteering placement?
I will say that the most frustrating part was the language barrier. There were so many things I wanted to ask and learn about Haitian culture, the people’s feelings, ideas, problems, etc. It is a slow process but I am learning bit by bit from the community. The time spent in Haiti has proven to be so valuable! Haitians are so patient and helpful; they always tried to communicate with me and be helpful. Their attitude is incredibly uplifting despite all the hardship; they are so happy and relaxed that their enthusiasm is very contagious. They always had a smile on their faces trying to do their best with what they have and what they know.

Also, being in the Village I had the opportunity to learn about the problems and needs that people have, and I found myself constantly thinking of different ways to help. Unfortunately, there are so many things that need to be done that I got frustrated at times, knowing that I have to focus only on the Character Education Program. Anyway, after all, everything cannot be done at once. It will take time to see the results and the impact; the key is consistency!

3. From what you observed during your experience, what are the three most important characteristics of a successful international volunteer?
Openness: It is very important to immerse yourself and adapt to the local culture and the way of life. Successful volunteers should be engaged, attentive, open, and be able to adapt to the local environment while showing respect for the Haitian way of life.

Patience: The pace of life in Haiti is slower than in the U.S. or in Columbia, for that matter. I think that in order to be effective and maintain a positive attitude, volunteers should focus on the process rather than immediate results. We have to get to know the people, understand them in order to help and have the desired impact.
Flexibility: Be able to do the tasks or work on the project assigned to you as well as helping in other areas whenever you can. There is so much work to be done that it is helpful to be ready to lend an extra hand whenever possible.

4. What kind of impact did you have on the community of Lebrun in Haiti?
My trip was to help introduce the Character Education Program to the 5 school directors and teachers, and I was pleased to note that the program was very well received by the local schools. During the workshops the 5 school directors and 35 teachers expressed their appreciation and enthusiasm for the training, and they are looking forward to help the HavServe Team of volunteers implement the program for the upcoming school year. They shared with me that they are inspired and motivated to keep helping the children in the community, and the Character Education concept shared during the teachers workshop is needed and will be helpful to all children in the village.

I also got involved into the recycling program by collecting trash with the local community leaders. A key facet of the Character Education Training will be raising awareness about caring for the environment through ongoing activities such as separating garbage and recycling materials, developing a system to dispose of the collected materials, etc.

5. How did the people in the Village of Lebrun, Haiti perceive the role of international volunteers like you?
My feeling is that international volunteers are well received by the local community because the HavServe team has done a wonderful job building trust among the community and identifying leaders that support the different projects that are in place. My observation is that the local community is participating in all aspects of the ongoing projects, and during the town hall meetings they contributed with ideas and shared other needs to be considered in community-led development. They are actively engaged in participating in all training and workshops and are willing to do their part to help their community.

Their biggest concern is that the HavServe team will continue the ongoing projects and keep working with the community because they have seen so many people come in and out of the community and disappear without making any real impact.

6. What did you learn about yourself during your experience?
Wow! I learned so much about myself and from the local community! I learned about the culture, the past and current situation, and had the opportunity to visit some beautiful places. I am now convinced that Haiti is a beautiful island with amazing people who are facing some very serious difficulties.

Finally, I am now aware that we can help Haiti help itself with some creative projects and don’t really need a lot of resources to help because they are ready to do their part once they understand the process and the objectives of our presence in the community. I am now more appreciative of all the things I used to take for granted. While working with the other volunteers, I learned how to build solar ovens, how to start a square foot gardens, how soccer is uniting the Lebrun community! I am looking forward to go back to continue this amazing experience!

Thanks for being a part of this,

PARTICIPATE HERE: https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/patriciamercado/charactereducationsfundraisingpage

Volunteer SpotLight: Catherine Fortin from Canada Contribution to Achieving MDG8: Develop a global partnership for development

Get to know Catherine Fortin and her volunteer work with HavServe in her own words.

I was born and raised in Montreal and I moved to Vancouver two years ago. I am a native French speaker, and I also speak English and Spanish. I am presently studying translation, and I would like to work as a professional translator in the future.

What motivated you to seek a volunteer opportunity with Havserve?When I learned that HavServe was looking for someone to translate documents from English to French for the teachers in Haiti, I thought it would be a good opportunity to help Haiti. I enjoy doing translation and I want to get as much experience as I can. It is nice to help others while doing something that you like.

What was your contribution to the HavServe programs/projects in Haiti?I translated some documents about the organization that need to be presented to the government of Haiti.

How do you perceive online volunteerism?I think it is important to help with whatever you can do, even if it is only something small. Online volunteerism allows you to help others no matter where you are located.

What did you learn about yourself during your experience?I find it very rewarding to do something useful.

Volunteer Spotlight: Manoel Da Silva from Brazil Contribution to Achieving MDG2: Achieve universal primary education

Volunteer SpotLight: Soccer for Development (HS4D): HavServe’s Youth Soccer Program (HYSP)

Soccer for Development brings together Mano’s biggest passions. Coming from the Northeast Region of Brazil, soccer was his ticket to a higher education in the United States, where he earned a B.A. in Business Administration. During his college soccer career in the US, he was honored as an All-American Player, and before coming to the United States he played for several clubs in Brazil. The game also opened the doors to a Master of Business Administration degree with focus on International Development.

Mano has been on Soccer for Development missions in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa. One of these endeavors is the Play4Development initiative, sponsored by Young Connection, the community of young professionals at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Moreover, Silva is the grassroots campaign Director for love.fútbol, an organization which mission is to develop simple, safe soccer fields for children in impoverished communities worldwide. Also, he wears the hat at the Many Hats Institute (MHI), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the conditions for children and youth worldwide.

 Award:

All American Soccer Player – NSCAA (2005, 2007)

Region player of the year – NSCAA (2005, 2007)

Most Improved Student at Bryan College (Class of 2008)

Certificates:

B.A. Business Administration (Bryan College); Minor in Spanish

M.B.A International Development (Hope International University)

Click on the links below to explore various opportunities to support the Haiti Sport for Development (HS4D)™: HavServe’s Youth Soccer Training.

 http://www.havserve.org/soccer.php

https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/HaitiSoccerProgram/sport-4-development-4-haiti-soccer-program

AOMusic and HavServe Unite to Support Haiti Contribution to Achieving MDG2: Achieve universal primary education

Los Angeles, CA (February 8, 2011) – AOMusic and Havserve Unite to Support the Children in the Villages of Haiti.

On the eve of their third album release, AO Music’s founder Richard Gannaway announced an alliance with the non-profit HavServe, founded by Carline Brice, to support the organization’s music initiatives for the children of Haiti. AO Music’s new release “…and Love Rages On!” features several children’s choirs, but none from Haiti – yet.

Gannaway, whose works have fused the voices of children from around the world, sees this as a natural partnership. “I’m really inspired by the prospect of this campaign making a difference in Haiti’s villages,” Gannaway said, adding “The international presence of children in our compositions has broadened in scope over the years, and often the choirs we encounter come from a cultural backdrop of challenge on several fronts – but none like Haiti. There is something extraordinary in the Haitian people – a tremendous spirit of prevailing that is tested time and again, seemingly without pause. Music and dance often become the great counterbalance to generations of adversity in a developing nation like this, and it is our honor to work with these children. Such blooms of joy and hope are what fuel the sound of AOMUSIC. HavServe’s sustainable initiative in Haiti is hybrid and progressive, which we also strive to be; it’s a good fit all around.”

HavServe supports sustainable development, one village at a time, through goal-oriented, volunteer-staffed projects aimed at empowering rural villagers. HavServe recognizes community-based development as a moral, strategic, and economic imperative and fully embraces the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as an effective benchmark for improving a country through its villages.

Brice applauds this initiative by AO Music as an innovative partnership, stating, “It is my hope that this alliance can serve as a model and will inspire many other entertainment companies to get involved in similarly meaningful collaborations in the area of music, sports, and the arts in general, which enrich the lives of kids around the world.”

In the first stage of the alliance, AO Music will direct their fans to HavServe’s secure fundraising location on FirstGiving.org, in an effort to raise $5000 to launch a pilot program for which Gannaway will travel to Haiti to work with the children and to capture the uniquely joyous sound of Haitian music. The organizations are using a customized AO Music page and widgets from the secure fundraising site Firstgiving.org to safely collect and track donations; see the site at https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/AOMusic4Haiti/havserve-volunteer-service-network.

Ultimately, HavServe’s goal is to repeat the music program in villages throughout Haiti on an ongoing basis to focus and uplift the tens of thousands of children displaced by the earthquake in 2010. Within five years, the partners resolved to create a “best of the best” Haitian children’s choir to perform throughout the world, and to be featured on future AO Music albums.

Children’s choirs from around the world are an important element in AO Music’s unique world fusion sound, along with deep rhythmic textures and the dynamic multi-layered vocal tracks of Miriam Stockley. Their latest album “…and Love Rages On!” contains music from five children’s choirs, two in the United States and others in Africa, China, and The Republic of Georgia.

Beyond financial support, HavServe and AO Music also seek “Angel” volunteers with music expertise to help with on-site training in Haiti for a week or two at a time over the next few years. Equally important are donations in the form of new or used instruments, and music teaching materials like sheet music. Interested parties are welcome to email bethhilton(at)theBcompany(dot)com for further details, or to visit the websites listed below for more information.

Through his alliance with Musicians and Fine Artists for World Peace, HRH Prince Frederick von Saxe-Lauenberg, Royal Patron of HavServe, introduced the parties leading to this historic alliance between HavServe and AO Music. The B Company represents AO Music in public relations, and provides pro-bono publicity services to both Musicians and Fine Artists for World Peace (MFAWP) and HavServe.

“May I as Patron add my deep gratitude to Beth Hilton of The B Company and Richard Gannaway of AO Music for connecting with us at HavServe. The children are stars – an extraordinary constellation of youngsters who all radiate a limitless sense of energy with a zest and passion for life guided by their dreams for a better future. Their imaginations are fertile with aspirations of a world free from war, poverty, pollution and hunger. This project launched by AO Music to give Haitian children a chance — to be heard singing their music by the wider world — is to be saluted. I wish you all a successful and fruitful collaboration with Haiti and her children.”

Source: releasewire.org

Meet Carline Brice, HavServe Co-Founder Contribution to Promoting Volunteerism

Carline is a native of Haiti and the co-Founder of a volunteer-driven not-for-profit organization (HavServe) that supports community-led development through volunteerism in least developed countries.
 
Carline believes that volunteerism benefits both society and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity, cooperation, and reciprocity among citizens, and by creating opportunities to empower citizens to realize their potentials and shape the direction of their communities, their country, and the world.
 
Carline is inspired by the conviction that volunteerism within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals by local Haitians and international volunteers is a powerful means of engaging Haitians in implementing the 8 MDGS in their individual communities and in Haiti as a whole. Carline shared with me that people can contribute time, skills and knowledge through volunteer action, and these combined efforts can be a significant force for Haiti’s sustainable development. Carline strongly believes that if development in Haiti is to be effective and sustainable, the Haitians affected by poverty must take ownership of the development of their own communities and country.
 
According to Carline’s website, the “name, HavServe, comes from the understanding that if you have, you serve. If you have time, you serve. If you have compassion, you serve. If you have resources, you serve. If you have knowledge, you serve. Thus, HavServe aims to draw upon the skills and talents of those that have, to serve and to help implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through volunteering their time, resources, knowledge, and investing themselves in community-led development globally.”
 
Since the inception of HavServe, Carline has struggled to make her own little impact in the lives of Haitian children displaced by the earthquake of January 12, 2010 by launching a Pilot Project to promote the Millennium Development Goals for Haiti in the remote village of Lebrun and the Haitian society at large. She has been crowned by her friends and peers “A HERO FOR A BETTER HAITI” by many whom she has touched their lives. Her vision is to use sustainable volunteer actions to make Haiti a better place for the down trodden, a society free of poverty and access to education for all. She is a role model to all who come in contact with her.
 
I am nominating Carline, based on her selfless contribution, donation and dedication to the upkeep of women, youth, and children’s welfare in her community and the less fortunate in the society of Haiti as a third world country.
 
I am proud to know there are people like Carline who are standing up for the Millennium Development Goals for Haiti and her services are needed and should be recognized when we consider the common cause for the upkeep of the Haitian society in this time of Haiti’s history.
 
by Prince Frederick von Saxe-Lauenberg, Germany
endpoverty2015.org

Volunteer SpotLight: Meet Francia from Mexico Contribution to Achieving MDG1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Get to know Francia and her volunteer work with HavServe in her own words

Francia is a young professional from Mexico, who lives in Washington, D.C. where she is pursuing a Masters in International Development at American University. She has traveled throughout the world and volunteered both in Mexico and other countries. Francia speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Korean, and studying Haitian Creole. In February 2011, Francia volunteered with HavServe in the Village of Lebrun, Haiti to help 26 families start and plant their own Vegetable Gardens. The HavServe Team had the pleasure of interviewing this dynamic young woman and learning why she felt in love with the people of Lebrun, Haiti.

What motivated you to seek a volunteer opportunity in the Village of Lebrun, Haiti?

I was very busy with work, school, and life in general, and I needed something different to refresh my mind. I wanted to remind myself of my professional abilities and reorient myself by going somewhere different and applying my skills in a meaningful project. I had volunteered before in India and other places, so I knew how powerful a volunteering experience can be.

I also love to help others, although this time I wanted to do it on a higher level. I’ve volunteered with other organizations but found that they were not focused and not able to offer me a chance to fully unleash my skills. I felt that HavServe was much more focused and that the Vegetable Gardens project in the Village of Lebrun would let me apply my international development expertise. It turned out to be true, and I had a very energizing and positive experience.

What was most frustrating or challenging to you during your volunteering placement?

First, while I don’t think it was frustrating, there is something that surprised me. The Haitians are very relaxed, and the culture is much more laid back than what I’m used to. I knew from the preparation with HavServe that this would be the case, but to experience it firsthand is the only way to fully understand how different the Haitian culture really is. In my work with the people in the Village of Lebrun, I found them to have very different expectations about what work is all about. They’re hard working, but things just don’t get done as quickly as I’m used to.

Second, language barriers were apparent at times, but one of the local youth working on the pilot project, Jimmy, speaks fluent English. So that was not so difficult.

From what you observed during your experience, what are the three most important characteristics of a successful international volunteer?

First, you need to be a good listener. You can’t help if you don’t listen to what people truly need. It takes a while for them to open up, so you need to build trust. I worked very hard to learn about the community so I could show how much I cared. When the locals saw my efforts it helped build our relationship. HavServe helped me get ready for building those relationships but, again, you need to experience it to fully understand it.

Second, you need the ability to adapt to a different living standard. I come from a comfortable background; I have family and friends who are always there to support me. However, while I felt very comfortable and supported in the Lebrun Village, I was in a new place far from home. I had to learn to adapt to a new environment and do things that local people do at work. When I was working just like them to understand their struggle, I was able to advise them that it could be done in a better way. Not only that, I learnt new skill sets like by doing farming work.

Third, you need to be proactive. You have to be out there. I had a great experience because I was always observing, speaking to people and trying new things.

What kind of impact did you have on the community of Lebrun in Haiti?

I think the Village is very pleased to see people coming to help and support them. However, in going there I helped to build that excitement even more. I showed them how easy it might be to build a vegetable garden to feed a family of six, and I think that is important.

I also helped to convey the sense of opportunities that exist. The Village of Lebrun is very remote, and I think I helped to show them that there is a world beyond it. Along my volunteering journey, I connected with the Local Haitian people, especially young people, and helped them to broaden their horizons.

In terms of my work, I helped to make the local staff more efficient. I was not there for long, but by working hard every day I think I showed them there are different ways of doing things that make life easier. It’s good to try new things. For example, together with Julie, another volunteer, I helped them put together vegetable garden package to nearly twenty six families, and taught what I learn of organic farming, and helped local Haitians organize their work and their planning process in a more efficient way.

How did the people in the Village of Lebrun, Haiti perceive the role of international volunteers like you?

Haiti has seen a lot of people coming in and out lately, so they’re used to foreigners. But when they found out that we were volunteers and realized how hard we were working to help them, they became very appreciative. They appreciated that we had focus and purpose, and realized how valuable it was to have two professionals come to their community to share our skills. Beyond that, the local community also saw that they could really grow faster, with the support and know-how transfer from the international volunteers.

What did you learn about yourself during your experience?

I learned so much! I learned that I can build an organic vegetable garden from the beginning to the end. In my life in Washington, DC, I don’t have much room to be free, but in Lebrun I had the opportunity to be creative and to design every part of the Vegetable Garden Project with the local community. I have skills that I did not know I possessed. I also felt very empowered by how much I could give to the community and inspire the youth, girls, and women. It was very touching to see how appreciative the locals were. I also met other volunteers and learned about different lifestyles and ways of thinking. This has helped me become a worldlier person and widened my network. For example, I became very close with Julie, another volunteer from California, and now have new friends in Haiti. We are bonded by our great experience in the Village of Lebrun, and Julie is staying in the village for three months to teach English and Music. I am so excited about my experience in Haiti, and I am looking forward to help as many Haitian families in the Village of Lebrun as possible have their own vegetable garden and fruit trees.

Click HERE to Visit Francia Personal Fundraising Page