Building Unity

Last weekend, Solisyon Kominote Yo had a field excursion with its youth group and financial literacy group. We included pertinent discussions while having some time for laughter and exploration while visiting Fort Liberte. UJANE – Union de Jeunes Association de Nord Est – and AJF – Assosasyon de Jeunes Formateurs – linked together for a day filled with inspiration and practical lessons.

UJANE met to discuss the progress of their bracelet business as they were able to sell USD $120 worth of bracelets over the past few months. They identified the following points to focus on in order to improve their business:

  • Design: Bracelets of single color sell more
  • Impact: Important to collect data to measure their impact – i.e. how many bottles they have collected (1 plastic bottle makes 2 bracelets, and on that same day we collected over 20 plastic bottles!)
  • Marketing: Enhance story-telling component – create a tag to accompany the bracelet that tells their story.
  • Branding: Need to create a brand name

They also asked some important questions, on whether they could have access to a more regular market to sell their bracelets. Unfortunately, right now the only transport we have for the bracelets are those who travel to and from the States.

We also shared with them a handmade tool that allows them to cut the plastic more efficiently, which they will build in the coming weeks.

They are very excited about this entrepreneurial opportunity and recognize the opportunity it has to remove plastic from the environment through art! They are eager to make more bracelets so they can participate in more trainings to learn a variety of pieces they can make out of the plastic.

Please reach out to olivia@cesolutions.org if you are interested in purchasing a bracelet.

We also had a meeting with the Association of Young Trainers, who had their monthly community savings bank meeting and revisited the rules within their group. They have been together for over 2 years and have accumulatively saved over 30,000 gourdes (USD $500)! They are eager to continue advancing their professional development and asked about an opportunity for an information technology course and an additional financial literacy train the trainer program.

SolKomYo encouraged them to use some of their savings from their community savings bank to jointly invest in a course they can complete together, an example of how SolKomYo encourages community actors to be agents of change and helps to identify innovative financing solutions to achieve their goals.

After these meetings, the group came together and we had a lively discussion around themes around respect, responsibility, and culture. Examples of prompts included: What is our role as youth in the household? What is the role of money and how can we manage it? Or what do we love about our culture and what must we do to value it? We all sat around a tree as we discussed these topics – to have an opportunity for youth to share and reflect on these subjects is an invaluable opportunity for peer to peer learning that SolKomYo strives to cultivate.

All in all, it was a day of exploration leaving with added insight into the future leaders of tomorrow.

 

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Members of UJANE discuss pertinent questions about life, culture, and their roles and responsibilities as youth. 

 

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SolKomYo’s Summer Empowering Youth in Ouanaminthe

Solisyon Kominote Yo kicked off the summer with our Youth Empowerment Summer Series – 16 youth from community organizations and local schools in Ouanaminthe are on their way to be the next changemakers in their community.

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Here are the 16 youth that are participating in our summer program – all from different schools in Ouanaminthe!

Solkomyo invests in youth to inspire them to be agents of change in their communities and provide them with the skill set to understand how to identify problems in their community and identify entrepreneurial solutions to address them. After the training, they will transmit this inspiration and knowledge to their peers and encourage one another that anything is possible.

 

 

We follow the Dream It Do It approach that Ashoka institutes for its changemakers, involving a series of trainings where students begin to identify the problems in their communities and design sustainable ventures to address them. Within these modules, we’ve included a series of skills-based training involving financial literacy, communication, leadership, and entrepreneurship. We’ve also included subject-specific discussions around climate change, natural resource management, and civil society, as these topics are priorities identified by the communities.

 

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The students participate in a training on entrepreneurship to understand that it is possible to design sustainable business ventures to solve the priority needs of the community.

 

We wanted to be sure the youth see real-world applications of this work, and included visits to social enterprises in the northeast of Haiti that are working to address societal and environmental problems, including our partners at SOIL, Green Charcoal, Thread International, and the local agricultural institutions we work with (social enterprises at heart!).

 

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The youth visit a community agricultural center to understand the importance of agricultural development and that farming is a social enterprise in and of itself.

 

The youth participants are dedicated, enthusiastic, respectful, and inquisitive. They are engaged in the topics and already have ideas of social enterprises including transforming waste-to-artisan material and community reforestation projects.

The combined activities allow for a summer both theoretical and practical for the students to find the means, knowledge, and aspiration to know that their dreams can become reality!