Haiti is a country that has faced many challenges, including political crises, poverty, and food insecurity. To respond to these issues, a network of citizens launched a platform for change known as Kafou Lespwa (Crossroads of Hope) with the goal to transform Haitian society into a more equitable and prosperous community. The group invited Reos Partners to guide them using the Transformative Scenarios Process (TSP) which empowered participants to share their views on current realities and created scenarios for different possible futures. TSP enabled the group to widen their system understanding and to hold strategic conversations for change.
The project has received national attention in Haiti and its leaders are recognized as credible, trusted outliers within this very polarized space. They are using their learnings to reach new audiences and raise awareness of Kafou Lespwa with an open invitation for citizens to join their collaborative movement towards a more just society.
Creating a Platform for Hope in Haiti
In this video, Manuela Restrepo of Reos Partners is joined by Kafou Lespwa leaders Charles Clermont, Naed Jasmin Désiré, and Tamara Guerin Barrau to reflect on their collaboration and the role of hope as they work to build a better future for Haiti. Watch the conversation or read the highlights below:
SPEAKERS: Tamara Guerin Barrau, Entrepreneur, Financial Specialist, Social Activist
Charles Clermont, Entrepreneur, Financial Literacy and Leadership Development Educator, Community Builder
Naed Jasmin Désiré, Lawyer, Social Activist
On their inspiration to join this initiative
CC: I’ve been fighting for many, many years under different circumstances to bring changes to my country. I’ve realized one thing: we cannot think in terms of reform. We have to think in terms of transforming.
NJD: Growing up in Haiti, I was familiar with turmoil, political instability, lack of basic infrastructure and services, and wealth conditions…I was feeling particularly helpless. I was reconsidering my civic engagement. I was asking myself if any of my contributions or sacrifices were worth it. When [Charles] presented the project, I was touched by the optimism. I believe that systemic change could really happen in Haiti if a lot of people would get together and work on it.
On bringing different perspectives to the conversation
NJD: It was very important to include people who could effectively represent our fractured society. There are all sorts of stereotypes that divide us. We had to bring everyone to the same table in order to prove that it is possible and necessary for Haitians, despite their glaring differences, to come together to build a common ideal for this country.
CC: It was important to put together people that are diverse and create a whole system team. People didn’t know what to expect. That’s a good part of the methodology of Reos Partners. Nobody knew when the first workshop started who was going to be there. It’s so important to put together people who thought they would never collaborate…Then we started working. The learning process that took place during the workshops is absolutely invaluable. You put those people together — some are happy, some are kind of suspect — but they find the middle ground, the jiving together, the working together, the learning together, the praying together — this is the real secret, the recipe.
TGB: It is very evident that today we are seeing the fruits of this labor that we did together. Despite the difficulties that we’re going through right now, it’s really nice to see that there are different initiatives that are taking place whether it be in the education, political or economic sector, where people are working together to solve the challenges we have…We’ve created a type of environment where it’s more like a family…. We continue to work to get to that vision that we established together.
On the role of hope
NJD: Hope is an essential resource that we cannot do without in a country like Haiti. We have a duty to not let hope die by continuing to commit ourselves and proving to our compatriots that there are still people concerned about the wellbeing of this community and they can join us in order to change the situation. Complaining is not an option. Lamenting is not an option. We owe that to future generations and also to our ancestors. There’s no way we are going to give up. It might take time, but we are committed to being this light for everybody else who has the same passion and the same interest to change Haiti and make it a better place to live.
TGB: We are all involved in systems or realities where there can be continuous improvement. Wherever you are around the world, there can be some type of improvement that is brought to society. I believe that hope is the driving force for us to move consistently towards improvement.
On the support from Reos Partners
CC: We needed Reos to help us collaborate together with people who agree that they want to solve this complex situation, but don’t know how to do it. Moreover, people who do not really trust each other, or know each other, people who believe that they will never be able to collaborate. Reos said, “We are going to show the world that contrary to current opinion, Haitians can collaborate.” We learned that you do not change a complex system or society by force. We need to learn how to facilitate system transformation, to become transformative facilitators.