Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

How Advocacy Can Help Rebuild Haiti

This report includes many good insights about advocacy and the role it can play when a government faces the challenges seen in Haiti. It reaffirms the importance of our new Civic Engagement Program, and also directly mentions the impact of the cholera case.

Part of the report is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Building Back Haitian Government Responsiveness: The Power and Limitations of Grassroots Advocacy

Daniel Moss, Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation
June 2014

I. Executive Summary

When ordinary citizens come together to press decision-makers for services and rights protections for the most marginalized among them – that’s the essence of social justice advocacy. When decision-makers can be held accountable to govern fairly, that is advocacy success.

In hopes of helping funders understand how bottom-up change for social justice occurs in Haiti – and encouraging their ongoing support – this brief report examines the state of grassroots advocacy in Haiti. Based on a modest number of cases, the report is not comprehensive but does offer insight into: how do communities and interest groups come together to exert pressure? What capacities do they require and acquire in order to implement an effective advocacy strategy? Who do they target to deliver changes? How is that pressure perceived by targets of advocacy campaigns? And crucially, how does one measure success and under what circumstances are efforts successful?

It’s no secret that Haiti is a challenging country for activists and advocates. Historically, the government of Haiti has not been responsive to citizen demands. Its capacity to deliver services and guarantee justice is limited. It’s not always clear who is making decisions in Haiti – the international footprint has been gigantic. For grassroots advocates to identify who has policy-making authority in Haiti – to create a power map of sorts – is not a simple task. An advocacy strategy might require several trips to Washington D.C., where decisions about Haiti are often made. This is no simple feat for a small women’s or peasant organization. Repression of activists is not uncommon, making advocacy a dangerous business. Grassroots organizations themselves are frequently divided in an often-fractured, sectarian environment.

And yet, despite these long odds, grassroots-driven changes do indeed occur…


Click HERE for the full text.

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