On trip to Haiti, President Clinton visits several sites where renewed investments and partnerships have made a difference
On a trip to Haiti this Monday and Tuesday, President Clinton visits several sites where Foundation investments and partnerships have made a difference and begun yielding results.
The Clinton Foundation has been actively engaged in Haiti since 2009, focusing on economic diversification, private sector investment and job creation in order to create long-term, sustainable economic development. In 2013 the Haiti team provided approximately $1 million in grants and investments to support Haitian entrepreneurs, small businesses, and farming cooperatives, helped to facilitate more than $30 million in foreign direct investment into Haiti, and continued to provide capacity building and access to markets for Haitian businesses and the Haitian Center for Investment Facilitation.
On Monday, President Clinton visited the Union Des Apotres – Prodev School, which was built by Digicel as part of their CGI commitment to build 150 schools throughout Haiti. The school has also had significant support from NRG Energy, Urban Zen and Happy Hearts Fund. It is currently the only solar powered school in Cite Soleil.
The Clinton Foundation made a grant to the school last year for Earth Day to support a tree planting activity and Earth Day celebration, which has evolved into a school garden program that will help add fresh, nutritional content to school feeding programs. In addition, the Foundation linked the school with NRG Energy, which has helped build a new canteen and a solar canopy for the school that is expected to produce enough energy to meet 100 percent of the school's power needs.
Digicel also announced this weekend that they will soon be topping off their $45 million Marriott hotel in Port au Prince. Digicel and Marriott’s partnership, facilitated by the Foundation, has brought new investment and new training opportunities to Haiti.
Marriott, working with the Minister of Tourism, will soon announce the youth who have been selected for their Hospitality Leadership Development Program. This group of 10 young Haitians has interviewed (with the Ministry and with Marriott) for internships at the JW Marriott in the Dominican Republic and will begin working at this location when it opens in a few months. The youth will return to Haiti with newly learned skills and on-the-job experience to pursue a new opportunity -- to be a member of the team at the Haiti Marriott as it prepares to open in February 2015.
Later on Monday, President Clinton visited the Haiti Coffee Academy (HCA) in Thiotte, one of Haiti’s primary coffee growing regions. The Clinton Foundation has contributed over $150,000 to the creation of the Academy, and the Foundation has been working to promote Haitian coffee to US and international buyers to revitalize the industry. Coffee is the main source of income for more than 100,000 farmers in Haiti.
Yesterday, the Clinton Foundation announced a $28,000 grant to Fonkoze, the leading microfinance organization in Haiti, to provide literacy training programs to up to 600 small-holder farmers and others in Thiotte.
Today, President Clinton visited the recycling collection and bailing center of Sustainable Recycling Solutions Haiti (SRS). The Clinton Foundation worked to help relaunch SRS last year with a joint $250,000 investment with Todd Wagner.
In just the past three months SRS, working with their network of collectors, have taken over 10 million bottles off the streets. In addition, the Foundation has worked with Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park who co-founded SRS, to bring more visibility to this project. Eco Wear has partnered with SRS to buy plastic bottles to create a variety of consumer products, including merchandise for Linkin Park.
In addition, Giant Dragon, which has recycling operations in Hong Kong and the Dominican Republic, has partnered with SRS and announced that it has committed to purchasing a minimum of 4 million pounds of SRS plastic over the next year.
Today, President Clinton also visited Industrial Revolution II (IRII), a new apparel manufacturer in SONAPI Industrial Park that invests 50 percent of profits into their workers, their families and the local community. IRII currently employs over 100 people, primarily women, and with increased orders and business they have incredible potential to expand.
Garments constitute 90% of Haiti's exports, earning $800 million a year, and the sector currently employs 31,000 people. The Foundation has been working with IRII’s founding partners – Joey Adler, Rob Broggi, Richard Coles, and Matt Damon – for close to three years, helping them work through issues in Haiti and connecting them with potential apparel buyers.