Tap Your Diaspora - Build a Website

  • Posted on: 12 April 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf
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Every county has a Diaspora.  The governments of some countries such as El Salvador actively encourage their Diaspora to participate in the country by voting, investing, and applying (or runnning for) government positions. Haiti is behind the curve in this respect.  However, the Haitian Diaspora has knowledge, skills, and resources with which to make a difference.  The Internet is an excellent way to engage them.   An entrepeunerial individual from Thomonde where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer has created Thomonde.com.  It could be a model for other Diaspora communities.


No one website will reach all of the Haitian Diaspora.  It is too large and too diverse.  The Diaspora in Montreal and Paris is much different than the Diaspora in Miami and New York City.  However, websites focused on particular villages and cities have a lot of potential.  They could keep citizens abroad aware of what is happening, catalogue businessses and philanthropies to inevst in, and provide a forum for discussion. 








The Internet has never been more accessible in Haiti.  Thomonde even has an internet cafe.  I very much like the idea of Thomondoise both in Thomonde and abroad debating and collaborating on development related issues through the internet.  Chat rooms, message boards, calendars of events and open forums would be very good tools to incorporate. 








It has never been clear to me exactly why, but the center of gravity for the Haitian diaspora from my part of the Plateau is Boston.  It would be nice to see a collection of websites for villages/cities on the Plateau such as Thomonde, Mirebalaise, and Hinche form a webring with Diaspora organizatons in Boston to encourage broader discussion.  








I appreciate that Thomonde.com has sections in Kreyol, English, and French.  Throw is a smattering of Spanish and that is Haiti for you.  The website has a blog you can find here with discussions on everything from religion to managing local water supply.  The links can be found here.







Maybe you know of other Haitian villages or cities with websites?  If so, please post them in the comments section.  It would be interesting to see how many there are.  More every year, I hope!


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