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


The organization provides the public with detailed information about the money received for the canal and how it is used

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For the construction of the Ouanaminthe canal, the organization « Project For Haiti » (P4H) has received $194,505 from more than 2,000 Haitian and foreign donors since September 2023 via its official website.

Several individuals collect money for the initiative, but few disclose how the funds area actually used.

P4H insists on transparency.

Through its website, a user who clicks on « donate » comes across a detailed Excel report explaining the use of the money collected, with signed purchase sheets for the majority of expenses.

A screenshot showing part of the P4H report.

For example, on September 19, 2023, P4H purchased 1,000 bags of cement and iron bars from « La Main Divine matériaux de Construction » for US$15,641.

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

On several occasions, P4H distributed money to workers and people associated with the project. Such as the distribution of amounts ranging from US$100 to US$200 to journalists on March 9, 2024.

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

Several individuals collect money in the name of the initiative, but few disclose how the funds are actually used.

Expenses incurred for the dozens of P4H members involved in the project, paid with donor money to visit the canal – such as plane tickets worth several thousand dollars, notably with low-cost airlines such as « Spirit Airlines » – are also available to the public.

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

For Berthrude Albert, co-founder of the organization, the « seriousness » of P4H’s commitment and the « concern for transparency » have been the key words in the team she leads.

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

At the entrance of 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 engage the public.

« Kanal la p ap kanpe » (KPK) rallies Haitians inside the country as well as 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. A project which stopped around the death of former president Jovenel Moïse.

Twelve hours after sharing a video on September 18, 2023 on Albert’s TikTok account – a doctor in agricultural education and communication – P4H says it has raised more than US$18,000.

« I was blown away! » Berthrude Albert told AyiboPost.

About fifteen members of P4H came together and ventured into these efforts for the construction of the canal, described in November 2023 by AyiboPost as one of the most important popular solidarity movements in Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake.

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

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

With about 50 employees in Haiti and abroad, this structure intervenes in the field of education in Haiti.

According to Bertrhude Albert, ongoing communication with the Ouanaminthe Canal Committee has enabled P4H to determine the main needs on the site.

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

A technician working in the construction of the canal. | ©Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

Emiles Joseph has been the organization’s general manager since 2013.

For the official, participating in the construction of the Ouanaminthe canal is in line with 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, the director general continues, « the construction of the canal offers farmers in the Northeast the opportunity to increase their production under improved conditions, which promotes this essential food. »

According to the expense report, published on the official website of the structure, the money collected enabled the purchase of 2,000 bags of cement, 7 tons of iron, and about 20 trucks of river pebbles. More than US$39,000 was distributed to the volunteer workers.

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

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

One recent AyiboPost article raised questions about the expenses made by the canal committee.

Read also: Exclusive | Bizarre expenses for the Ouanaminthe canal

The Massacre River, into which the canal connects, represents a dark spot in the memories of Ouanaminthe’s border residents.

In 1937, it was the scene of a massacre of more than 20,000 Haitians and black Dominicans, orchestrated by the 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, sparked strong protests on the Dominican side.

Faced with the demonstrations of force by the DR’s president, Luis Abinader, local organizations and personalities alongside the Haitian diaspora decided to get vehemently involved to support the Ouanaminthe locals’ initiative  on the construction site.

The second largest market for exports from the Dominican Republic, Haiti received more than US$1 billion worth of products from its neighbor in 2022, 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 called on the diaspora, because we thought the initiative deserved we all get involved. This is to contribute to our country’s food sovereignty, » 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 Northeast.

The farmers of this region did not stop there.

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

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

According to Bertrhude Albert, P4H has already provided nearly $25,000 in materials for the construction of the canal, which is expected to reach 5 kilometers.

Specialists are concerned about the technical weaknesses of Ouanaminthe’s work. According to the latter, any shortcomings can be corrected, but the initiative is now facing a budget problem.

« We are hard at work, says Albert. And we trust the studies carried out when the canal was launched [in 2018]. »

By Wethzer Piercin

Cover image: Haitians create the atmosphere every day around the canal. September 2023 | © Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

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Wethzer Piercin est passionné de journalisme et d'écriture. Il aime tout ce qui est communication numérique. Amoureux de la radio et photographe, il aime explorer les subtilités du monde qui l'entoure.