RESPE: Haiti is a student initiative through the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership whose mission is to partner with the rural community of Balan in northern Haiti and support its local development projects. Through community- guided research and respectful collaboration, students in RESPE work on development initiatives, conduct independent research, learn first-hand about issues facing Haiti's long-term development, and help raise campus awareness. RESPE is comprised of two branches: RESPE: Boston includes student, academic, and Diaspora members in the Boston area and RESPE: Balan includes Balan's resident members.
Since January 2008, RESPE: Boston has worked with RESPE: Balan to pursue joint research initiatives based on the community’s priorities and needs regarding development, commerce, gender issues, education, healthcare, and social networks. Through community-led research, health has emerged as RESPE: Ayiti's principal focus.
RESPE: Boston’s current goals include raising money to create a community health center and maternity ward, develop professionally-run health workshops, and creating community health networks that draw from Balan’s immense social capital. RESPE: Ayiti has partnered with several organizations to conduct research and implement projects, including InternetBar Organization, the Christian Haitian Entrepreneurial Society, the Haitian Coalition of Somerville, and Tufts Engineers Without Borders.
In addition, RESPE shares Balan's story with the Tufts community and greater Boston area to increase awareness and dialogue about Haiti, health, development, and opportunities for student engagement and research initiatives. Ultimately, RESPE aims to harness the intellectual, academic, and human resources of Tufts University to support Balan's self-empowerment and self-development.
WEEKLY MEETING: Wednesdays at 9:00 pm in Cabot 102