Two years after the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the country is attempting to rebuild with the help of development proposals prepared by citizens. These efforts, known as roadmaps, or “cahiers de charges,” have been endorsed by elected officials across the country as a way to demonstrate that they are listening to citizens and have set specific goals for reconstruction and development efforts.
Haitians’ primary concerns are the economy, education and security, but many people have been unaware of government efforts to address those issues. NDI has helped connect citizens and government officials through a series of dialogues across the country that have included civil society representatives and local authorities, such as mayors, city councilors and other officials. Through these dialogues, the participants developed 10 roadmaps, one for each of Haiti’s local government jurisdictions, known as “departments.”
These discussions opened the door for citizens to work with decision-makers to address the issues identified in the cahiers. And during 2010 legislative elections, the cahiers guided discussions during 15 debates, helping candidates understand the reconstruction and development needs in each department.
After the elections, NDI helped Haitian community groups, called Initiative Committees (ICs), follow up with members of parliament (MPs) to encourage them to act on the priorities outlined in the cahiers that they supported during the campaign.
In a statement to the Senate in October, Prime Minister Garry Conille cited specific proposals from the cahiers (see sidebar). Likewise, a group of senators and deputies went on national television to ask the new government to use the cahiers recommendations to make sure citizens’ needs are addressed.
In July, IC leaders began presenting the cahiers to legislators at public forums organized at the departmental level and have reached almost 30 MPs to date. These forums were conducted in eight departments: Artibonite, Center, Grand'Anse, Nippes North, Northeast, South and Southeast. Through these efforts, legislators discussed the recommendations with citizens, local authorities and grassroots groups. Follow-up meetings have underscored the interest and demand for continued interaction between elected officials and citizens.
- Read local press coverage of the cahiers in Le Matin and Le Nouvelliste (in French)»
- Read the English translations of both news articles»
- Post-Election Haiti: What Happens Next?»
Published Jan. 4, 2011