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Spring 2012 - 61985 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Sustainability & Development in Haiti

Instructor(s): Eaton, David J.
Unique Number: 61985
Day & Time:
Room: Haiti - During Fall/Spring Intercession
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Topics for these policy seminars have included environmental and natural resources policy, health-service delivery policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, science and technology policy, international affairs, national security, urban and regional growth policy, and political campaigns.

 

Section Description

The RGK Center of Philanthropy, Volunteerism and Nonprofit Studies (the RGK Center) offers an opportunity each year for a select number of graduate students to spend twoweeks in a "nonprofit consulting" internship, providing leadership to a nonprofit organization in a preselected site in Latin America. Based on this opportunity, Professor Eaton of the LBJ School has organized a course in Haiti that is treated as a Spring 2012 course.

Both the village and the US nonprofit have agreed to work with 6 UT-Austin graduate students in January 2012 from the McCombs School of Business and the LBJ School. The academic program will begin with 7 class sessions during the Fall Semester 2011. The field study visit of two weeks will occur during January 2 to 14, 2012. The fieldreporting and paper submission will be done by the end of the Spring Semester 2012.  The graduate students will travel to Haiti during two weeks of January 2011 to help their counterparts (within Haiti and the US-based non-profit) to develop a plan to move forward to achieve at least some of the proposed projects. Graduate students will work for 10 calendar days to achieve the goals of the nonprofit consulting task. The schedule in Haiti is listed below.

The RGK Center and other units within the University of Texas at Austin (UT/Austin) will send a group of 6 students to Creve (in Haiti's Bombardopolis district) for field study and non-profit consulting. Creve is a village nested within mountainsabout 100 miles or 9 hours by dirt road, northeast of Port-au-Prince. The setting is as poor as can be: just subsistence farmers in a rural area with no electricity and no water. For more than a decade, a group of churches in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana have been contributing congregation members and money towards twice-annual visits to improve the community and the lives of its citizens. The accomplishments have been substantial: two schools built along with water wells; homes constructed; building of a small clinic and training of local nurses; a farmersí market area to encourage local farmers to sell to local customers; as well as sponsorships to support the schooling of hundreds of children annually.

The U.S.-based churches coordinate through a non-denominational and non-sectarian 501-c 3 nonprofit, the Concerned Christian Citizens of Cedar Creek Lake (CCCCCL), which is based near Fort Worth, Texas. Members have been working with The University of Texas at Austin's (UT-Austin) Regional Foundation Library to develop a list of potential donor foundations to help them raise funds to complement the donations of the existing volunteers in order to accomplish the next stage of the village improvement. They are helped by Precois Norcilus, a young man from the village who has not only graduated from college but now is a graduate student (sponsored by US volunteers) in Dallas.

The U.S.-based church groups work through a nonprofit organization in Haiti led by a local Haitian and a group of local citizens affiliated through a local church. Creve residents have been working to implement a second stage in community building with the help of the CCCCL and UT/Austin. During 2012 Creve residents wish to start a micro-finance loan program for women, initiate a community fresh water supply system, and develop a plan to improve the villageís infrastructure during future years. Some future projects include: work with local carpenters to construct and strengthen housing to withstand earthquakes; create a community library and acquire books to encourage literacy; invest in small-scale wind and solar power; construct a multi-purpose building that can house volunteers from the U.S. who come to work in the village; and build ahospital.

This January 2012 "nonprofit consulting" opportunity allows student to make a difference in a village whose citizens are poor trying to improve their lives. The US-based and Haitian non-profit organizations are prepared to implement ideas that UT/Austin students might develop. Costs of travel, food and other expenses would be covered in part by small grants from diverse donors associated with each of the participating colleges, as administered through the RGK Center.