Empower Program for Social Entrepreneurship

RESPE: Haiti Project

A team of four Tufts students traveled to Haiti during winter break to conduct an initial community needs assessment in Balan. They were accompanied by Professor Alix Contave, who teaches in the Urban and Environmental Planning (UEP) program, and Jackson Compere, now of Partners for Health.

From the Students' perspective, the results of this assessment were overwhelmingly positive: the team created a trust- and respect-based relationship with the community, the community created a sister organization to the Tufts team to serve as advisors and facilitators, and the team got a very clear understanding of the community's priorities for its self-development. The students brought that knowledge back to Tufts, and in addition to sharing their experience with the Tufts and Somerville communities, they have worked on engaging Tufts resources that would support the community's plans. They have assembled a team of engineers (from Tufts Engineers without Borders), public health experts, and community leaders to return with them this summer for a three week comprehensive needs assessment trip, which will culminate in a community summit where they will share their findings with the community and together develop a development platform for Balan.