7/1/13 – Stories from the Field: This guest post was written by Ana Carolina González, a student in the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA program who has been working with Haitian salt producers.
We left Colorado expecting to have a hard time in Haiti trying to work with a complicated cooperative business model. We had been struggling for almost 2 semesters to understand ESPRI-Sel and trying to sell the idea to others.
It took less than 2 days in Anse Rouge, Haiti to have a completely different, more positive perspective. We will not be working with a co-op model, but rather a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), where ESPRI-Sel will be operated as a social enterprise with part of its revenue going directly back to the community.
We witnessed all the work AMURT has done in the region and we feel very confident ESPRI-Sel will have a positive impact on the community. It has the potential not only to create more jobs, but also to improve the working conditions of the salt harvesters, most of which are local women. Eventually we expect to increase access to iodized salt for the average Haitians, thus improving public health.
It has been a great experience to be in the field and actually see and understand what we have been working on, and it has been very rewarding to work with such gracious hosts as everyone in AMURT. In a country where NGOs come and go without really integrating with the people, it has been impressive to see how AMURT is involved with the communities they work with. Instead of imposing solutions, they work with communities to strengthen local capacities and come up with answers that include the people and can be sustainable without external intervention. As a previous GSSE team found, there are in fact some bright spots in Haiti.