October 21, 2022
(Port-au-Prince) – Given the ongoing political, security, and health crises in Haiti, the role of civil society is more important than ever before. Considering this challenging situation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announces the official launch of the Civil Society Strengthening Program (CSSP). The goal of the CSSP is to strengthen the capacity of Haitian civil society organizations (CSOs), including faith-based organizations, local groups, and those working with the diaspora that are registered and operating in Haiti. As a result, participating CSOs will be better equipped to develop, implement, and monitor their advocacy and service-delivery activities to the highest quality standards.
Civil society organizations in Haiti play a critical role in social and economic development by providing essential services and promoting citizen participation. There is a critical need for increased collaboration between Haitian civil society organizations that will expand their impact and sustainability of services as well as their influence on public policy and decision-making. The CSSP will help support the establishment of a networking mechanism to promote the collaboration of civil society organizations. This networking will include groups working in the same geographical area or on common interests such as access to education, healthcare, water and sanitation, job creation, human rights, or anti-corruption.
The CSSP objectives include: 1) Strengthen the advocacy and administrative capacities of both citizen-support and service-provision civil society organizations: 2) Build comprehensive, efficient, and effective networks of CSOs at the national and grassroots levels; and 3) Support productive working relationships between civil society organizations and development actors including but not limited to local/central government, the private sector, and major donors.
With greater institutional capacity and active collaboration, civil society organizations will act as even more powerful catalysts to drive development and mobilize resources that provide vital services and promote citizen participation in democratic, social, and political change.
U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Eric Stromayer commented, “Civil society organizations represent the people’s interests in Haiti. U.S. Government support for USAID’s Civil Society Strengthening Program will reinforce Haitian organizations and networks to advocate for the people’s needs and rights and provide necessary services such as healthcare and education.”
The CSSP implemented by one of USAID’s key local partners, Papyrus, will work to build critical networks of CSOs at the national and grassroots levels to facilitate productive working relationships between organizations and other development actors. By strengthening the collaboration between Haitian CSOs, USAID aims to help these organizations develop a stronger, more unified voice to advocate for the human rights of Haitian citizens and equitable access to basic services. The CSSP’s Chief of Party Jean Succar notes, “I look forward to continuing in Papyrus’ tradition of working with civil society partners at this critical time in Haiti’s history. We thank USAID for this opportunity to strengthen the organizational capacity of civil society organizations to better advocate for much needed changes in their communities and we are ready to hit the ground running!”
Furthermore, as CSOs are essential providers of services and community leadership, the CSSP will also work to strengthen their institutional and leadership capacity. With more developed management, financial, and administrative capacities, CSOs will have a greater impact on improving living conditions and become a national voice advocating the people’s interests. USAID will ensure participating organizations are able to develop, implement, and monitor their advocacy and service delivery activities to the highest quality standards.
USAID’s CSSP activity will build on progress made by previous initiatives, such as USAID’s KONBIT activity, which strengthened the institutional capacity of local organizations and prepared them to assume responsibility of donor funds and implement USAID’s or other development actors’ activities. CSSP will facilitate more active collaboration and advocacy with government of Haiti entities and other resource partners in the country.
“The Civil Society Strengthening Program will reinforce Haitian organizations’ efforts and determination to solve their own challenges and create a more democratic future for their communities,” says USAID’s Mission Director Jennifer Link.