Haiti Networking Event- Miami, FL (March 15)

  • Posted on: 9 February 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Rotary Club of Miami hosted the first Haiti Networking Event last October in order to bring together organizations that provide assistance to the people of Haiti. The forum allowed for a greater understanding of the extent of aid being provided in various geographic areas of Haiti. More than 40 attendees, representing over 20 organizations, exchanged information in hope of developing partnerships. Several organizations had similar needs and concerns although many had different resources. This meeting became the perfect opportunity to promote discussion and collaboration to further expand projects in Haiti. The next networking event will be hosted by the Rotary Club of Miami and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines on March 15 in Miami, FL.

During the previous event each organization had the opportunity to present their work while placing markers on a map of Haiti to indicate the regions they serve. What I found to be the most prosperous part of the forum was the identification of each organization's services and needs. Although it should be of no surprise that funding tops the list of needs, it became clear that maximizing the effect of each dollar was a valuable outcome of this meeting.

Another common need among the groups was that of partnerships- in various forms. The Haiti Networking Event identified the following examples: Food for the Poor seeking a partner to establish fishing villages in communities, Operation Green Leaves looking to bring their environmental curricula to organizations working to educate children, One Village Planet wanting to establish connections among coastal communities interested in reestablishing a shoreline of protective mangroves, and a number of organizations with an interest to develop a cadre of volunteers. The Global Health Council and the United Nations Association identified advocacy as a need to support government policy change on global health and debt forgiveness (HR 2634).

The upcoming Haiti Networking Event hopes to address the following ‘next steps': unify communications, share information, foster partnerships and collaborations, involve Haitian government officials, reach out to other groups with similar interests, and develop a directory of all particpating organizations.

Partnerships are an integral part of developing successful service projects by way of sharing ideas and resources. The Haiti Networking Event was possibly the first event of its kind in Miami. It is also interesting to note that during this meeting views began to evolve on what type of aid is truly beneficial for Haiti. Discussion of programs focused on community involvement, development work, and empowerment began to increase as people moved away from the concept of volunteer missions.

If you are interested in attending this event on March 15 or would like more information please email Kathy Beckman at Kathy.Beckman@comcast.net.

~ Samira

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