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200,000 dollars received for the canal: P4H insists on transparency

  • May 16, 2024
  • 13
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The organization provides the public with detailed information about the money received for the canal and its use

For the construction of the Ouanaminthe canal, the organization “Project For Haiti” has received $194,505 from more than 2,000 Haitian and foreign donors since September 2023 via its official website.

Several individuals collect money in the name of the initiative, but few communicate on the actual use of the funds.

P4H insists on transparency.

Through its website, the Internet user who clicks on “donate” comes across a detailed Excel report explaining the use of the money collected with signed forms for the majority of expenses.

A screenshot showing part of the P4H report.

For example, on September 19, 2024, P4H purchased 1,000 bags of cement and iron bars from “La Main Divine Construction Materials” for the initiative for 15,641 US dollars.

The purchase sheet is available through a PDF document linked in the rapport.

On several occasions, P4H distributes money to workers and people associated with the project. Like the distribution of amounts ranging from 100 to 200 US dollars to journalists on September 3, 2024.

Each time, the organization makes the beneficiary sign a form to certify receipt of the amount.

Several individuals collect money in the name of the initiative, but few communicate on the actual use of the funds.

Expenses incurred for the dozens of P4H members involved in the project, such as plane tickets worth several thousand dollars, particularly in low-cost companies like “Spirit Airlines” paid with donor money to visit the canal, are also made available to the public.

The names of donors as well as the amounts paid by them are not made public for “practical and confidentiality reasons”, according to P4H officials who say they managed the funds received themselves.

For Berthrude Albert, co-founder of the organization, the “seriousness” in P4H’s commitment and the “concern for transparency” were the main keywords of the team she leads.

“We wanted to keep the trust of our donors and give something great to the country through this channel,” Albert continues to AyiboPost. Even today the organization continues to receive donations and “very positive feedback”.

At the entrance to the CODEVI company in Ouanaminthe, young people are collecting funds for the progress of the construction of the canal. September 2023 | © Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

Albert uses social media like TikTok to mobilize the public.

“Kanal la p ap kanpe” (KPK) rallies Haitians inside the country and in the diaspora, on the sidelines of a conflict between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over the resumption of the construction of a canal on the Massacre River . Construction stopped around the death of former president Jovenel Moïse.

Twelve hours after sharing a video on September 18, 2023 on the Tiktok account of Albert, a doctor in agricultural education and communication, P4H says it has raised more than 18,000 US dollars.

“I was dazzled! » declares Berthrude Albert to AyiboPost.

Around fifteen members of P4H join together and venture into these mobilizations for the construction of this canal described in November 2023 by AyiboPost as one of the largest popular solidarity movements in Haitiafter the 2010 earthquake.

Read also: “Kanal la Pap Kanpe”, one of the most important popular solidarity movements in Haiti

Created in 2011, Project For Haiti is a non-profit organization based in the north of the country.

With around fifty employees in Haiti and abroad, this structure operates in the field of education in Haiti.

According to Bertrhude Albert, constant communication with the Ouanaminthe canal committee allowed P4H to determine the main needs on the site.

Between September 2023 and May 2024, the organization is spending a total of $175,000 on work on the Ouanaminthe canal.

Emiles Joseph has served as general director of the organization since 2013.

For the manager, participating in the construction of the Ouanaminthe canal is a continuation of P4H’s actions in favor of education in Haiti.

“In order to achieve an optimal level of performance, the learner must have an adequate diet,” he explains.

However, continues the general director, “the construction of the canal offers farmers in the North-East the possibility of increasing their production under improved conditions, which promotes this essential supply. »

According to the expenditure report, published on the structure’s official website, the money collected allowed the purchase of 2,000 bags of cement, seven tons of iron, around twenty truckloads of river pebbles. More than US$39,000 was distributed to volunteer workers.

This P4H initiative to raise these funds takes place in a context linked to insecurity, kidnapping and a dark history of corruption in Haiti in recent years.

On February 7, 2024, two trucks carrying stone pebbles to the canal were stolen by unidentified individuals.

And recent article of AyiboPost raised questions about the expenditures made by the canal committee.

Read also: Exclusive | Bizarre spending on the Ouanaminthe canal

The Massacre River into which the canal connects represents a dark point in the memory of the border residents of Ouanaminthe.

In 1937, it was the scene of a massacre bloodshed on more than 20,000 black Haitians and Dominicans, orchestrated by Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo.

A bone of contention between Haiti and the Dominican Republic since 2021, the resumption of construction work on this canal in August 2023 on the Haitian-Dominican border had sparked strong protests on the Dominican side.

Faced with demonstrations of force from the President of the DR Luis Abinader, local organizations and personalities and the Haitian diaspora decided to get involved vehemently to support the Ouanaminthais initiative on the construction site.

Second largest market for exports from the Dominican Republic, in 2022, Haiti receives more than a billion dollars worth of products from its neighbor, more than half of which consists of agricultural and agro-industrial products.

Read also: Haitian filmmaker at odds with Dominican actors over 1937 massacre

“Through P4H, we appealed to the diaspora, because we said to ourselves that the initiative deserved that we all get involved. This is to contribute to the food sovereignty of our country,” explains Albert.

At the end of the project, the 2.6 km long canal will irrigate nearly 3,000 hectares of the Maribaroux plain in the North-East.

The farmers of this region do not stop there.

In April 2024, the inhabitants of the locality of Malféty, in Fort-liberté, launched work on a second irrigation canal.

Just like the first one, this one is already getting attention.

According to Bertrhude Albert, P4H has already provided nearly $25,000 in materials in the construction of this canal which should reach five kilometers.

Specialists are concerned about the technical weaknesses of Ouanaminthe’s work. Any defects can, according to the latter, be corrected, but the initiative is currently facing a budget problem.

“We are hard at work,” assures Albert. And we trust the studies carried out during the launch of the canal construction work [en 2018]. »

Par Wethzer Piercin

Cover image: A view of the canal construction with members of the population observing the construction work. September 2023. | © Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

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Wethzer Piercin