The 3 Leg Pilot Project is an initial step in fulfilling the grand vision of Haitian Spiritan priest, Father Joseph Philippe. This vision, the 3 Leg Program, will bring wealth to rural Haitian communities, with the goal of raising up the entire country. To put it simply, the 3 Leg Program entails Haitians Transforming Haiti One Community at a Time.
Father Joseph Philippe is the founder of Association of Peasants of Fondwa, Fonkoze, the University of Fondwa, and the Sisters of St. Antoine of Fondwa. He envisions the creation of wealth in rural Haiti via the 3 Leg Program.
Photo courtesy Floating World Pictures
Leg 1: Community Organization A rural community forms a Local Development Committee (LDC) which is trained by an animator who receives monthly training by the Association of Peasants of Fondwa (APF).
Leg 2: Human Resource Development The LDC chooses secondary school graduates to attend the University of Fondwa (UFondwa), Haiti’s only rural university, on a grant provided by Raising Haiti. Three students are enrolled: one to study agronomy, one veterinary medicine, and one business management, all subjects needed in rural settings, where 75% of Haitians reside. The university students sign a contract that they will return to their home communities after graduation to work with the LDC to bring wealth to the area.
Leg 3: Economic Opportunity The LDC is given seed money to begin local businesses to increase wealth in the community.
The 3 Legs, each equal in importance, are:
The 3 Legs Pilot Project’s goal is to initiate the 3 Legs Program in 6 rural communities in 5 Departments. The chosen communities include Medor, Gwo Mon, Sarrazinis, Paredo, Boury and Haute Voldroque. Each community had been evaluated by APF and found to meet specific criteria demonstrating its readiness to participate. Each community had an LDC and animator, except Medor, which formed an LDC and hired an animator at the beginning of the pilot project. Each community’s LDC chose secondary school graduates to compete, via the UFondwa entrance exam, for attendance the university. The exception to this was Medor, which already had 4 students attending UFondwa.
Edner Charles received his agronomy degree from UFondwa. He is the APF 3 Leg Pilot Project Coordinator. He is also responsible for training each community’s animator.
APF’s Pilot Project Director, Edner Charles, UFondwa Admissions Director and Agronomy Professor, Chouloute Jerome, Fondwa’s Physician, Dr. Elizabeth Brea and Raising Haiti Co-Executive Director, Dr. Sue Carlson visited each community, except Haute Voldroque, which was omitted from the visitation schedule due to political unrest. Haute Voldroque’s LDC, animator and students came to the meeting at Boury so that the Haute Voldroque community could be enrolled in the pilot program. David Hoffman, Raising Haiti Co-Executive Director attended the meeting at Boury.
At each community potential students were given the UFondwa entrance exam. Those wishing to enter the business school were tested in General Knowledge, French and Math. Those wishing to study agronomy and veterinary medicine were tested in these same subjects as well as Chemistry and Biology. The exam lasted 3 hours.
After the exam the APF, UFondwa, and Raising Haiti representatives conducted a meeting with the students, the LDC, the animator and other community leaders. Each meeting was similar. Father Joseph Philippe and the 3 Legs Program were discussed.
Edner Charles described local development. He said, “Money from the Haitian government seldom goes to the rural areas. Rural Haiti must organize to lift itself up. The 3 Leg Program, with its emphasis on local organization, is a way for rural communities to do this.”
He told the story of a person from the outside coming to a community. This person observed the local women walking great distances to collect water and thought that the community needed a cistern, which he financed and built. When he returned shortly after its installation, he discovered that the cistern was irreparably broken and wondered what had happened. He learned that the women broke the cistern on purpose; they did not want it. Walking to get water was the one time of the day when they could leave the house. They looked forward to the quiet time and the fellowship they felt with their friends when collecting water. In other words, the people living in the community know what is best to develop their section.
Edner said, “In the time of slavery Haiti’s motto was ‘liberty or death’. After the revolution the motto changed to ‘life or death’. Now the motto needs to be ‘organization of death’. Working together we can conquer the world.”
Chouloute Jerome addressed the students, saying, “This is no joke. Only the best students are chosen. If you are accepted to the university you will have to study very hard.” He reminded them that the grant to go to UFondwa is for the community, not the individual. Each person receiving a grant is required to return to the community after graduation to help raise wealth for the area. If the graduate chooses not to return to his/her home community the tuition must be paid back in full.
The 6 communities in the 3 Leg Pilot Project they are on their way to the 3 Leg aspiration:
Each has an LDC
Each will have students studying agronomy, veterinary medicine and business at UFondwa
With time, each LDC will be given seed money to start businesses to raise wealth in the community.
Chouloute Jerome received his agronomy degree from UFondwa and currently is an agronomy professor at the university as well as the Director of Diaspora Outreach, the Director of Student Work-Study Programs and the Director of University Admissions.
1718 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 201 • Washington, DC 20009
PO Box 21624 • Washington, DC 20009
phone: (202) 800-7077
Raising Haiti Foundation is an authorized business name for Association of the Peasants of Fondwa, USA Inc., a District of Columbia 501(c)3 charitable entity.