In the 2003 edition of the Randy McNally student picture atlas,
the first sentence to describe Haiti reads: By all accounts Haiti is a complete mess.
It's a narrow view that sadly reflects how much of the world views Haiti.
This project endeavours to offer students an expanded view of Haiti's dynamic history and culture, and aims to extract lessons from Haiti's experiences in the development process. We simply believe that students deserve a better first impression of Haiti and a more informed starting point. Haiti, a country too often misunderstood, dismissed or pitied, deserves better.
In 2001, with financial support from The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Foundation for International Development Assistance (FIDA) produced an eight-episode radio documentary titled In the Scars of Slavery that explored development issues in Haiti. It features interviews with men and women working for change in Haiti whose stories provide rich insights into Haiti's social, historical, political and economic past and present.
This project, Radyo Konesans Radio, transforms a radio documentary into a multimedia resource for teachers and students to bring these insights and lessons to the classroom. It consists of two parts:
An engaging multimedia web resource.
A comprehensive Teacher's Kit that includes 25 lesson plans, handouts and assessment rubrics.
We have called this project Radyo Konesans Radio. Konesans is a
Haitian Kreyòl word that means 'knowing, understanding and
awareness.' It's a word that enriches an often narrow concept of
Radyo Konesans Radio focuses on the complex issues in development by looking at issues including:
Good governance and civic participation:
from Columbus to present-day Haiti.
Globalization, economic security and the cooperative model.
Literacy and community development.
International cooperation, development and aid.
The Objectives of this project are to:
Engage students in developing a more sophisticated understanding of the complexities of the ethical, political and socio-economic dimensions of development in Haiti.
Assist teachers to integrate a global perspective in teaching.
This project is part of CIDA's Global Classroom Initiative, a resource for educators wishing to encourage Canadian youth to actively explore international cooperation issues.
FIDA is a non-profit organization based in Waterloo, Canada that works with agricultural cooperatives in Haiti to promote self-sufficiency. In Canada, FIDA undertakes a public engagement program that seeks to engage Canadians in a meaningful dialogue of international development.
Productive Cooperatives Haiti (pcH), FIDA's working arm in Haiti, was established in 1984 with the mission of helping people to help themselves by working in active partnership with cooperatives; ultimately economic and social life is enhanced through greater agricultural productivity and increased individual capacity.
Jill Careless worked in Haiti for two years in non-formal education and literacy programs with both children and adults. Her connection to FIDA-pcH began in 2000 when she was involved in the development of a new adult literacy program.
Jill studied International Development Studies at the University of Guelph and went on to work with youth programs in Lebanon. For five years she coordinated the Global Education Program at the YMCA of Greater Toronto.
When a story is told in Haiti, Jill says, the teller asks 'Kric?' and if you are ready to listen, you reply 'Krac'. This project gives us a chance to say 'Krac'. It gives us the chance to listen and in listening we develop curiosity and respect, which I think is a great way to approach something new.
Stephen Edgar has been taking photos of people in their environments for years, but Haiti represented a unique challenge: how to visually represent a country so rich in the intangibles of life.
He doesn't consider his work photojournalism nor portraiture-it is somewhere in between, and perhaps a little beyond. I enjoy the dance he says, the flirtation between the subject and the lens. Stephen loves to put the camera down every once in awhile and talk with his subject matter - maybe tell a joke or get in on some of the community gossip. His style worked well for him while on assignment with FIDA in Haiti. Listening to and respecting my hosts gave me access...not only to their home but to their soul...I was allowed into their hearts and to bear witness to the real Haiti.
Stephen works out of Toronto, Canada but is currently taking time to enjoy and photograph his lovely gal, Nadia and his two sons Devlin and one-year-old Ethan.
All photographs on this website are by Stephen, with the exception of those on pages: Haiti in Context and Religion.
The audio elements on this website are clips from In the Scars of Slavery, an 8-part radio documentary created in 2002 by Sarah Cardey and Betsy Wall. The series is available on CD by contacting FIDA Canada 519.886.9520
FIDA-pcH gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for in contributing towards the development of this project.
Rodrigo Barreda is a Toronto art director and designer specializing in the elaboration of educational and promotional material for the social sector.
His exposure to social communications began in Chile where he worked as press assistant and high-school student organizer under the Pinochet dictatorship. "I remember living in Santiago in 1986, we would get together with other teenagers and tune in to clandestine radio stations after midnight. We quietly listened, in the dark, to the faint transmitions coming to us from abroad. We would hear the news from South Africa and the struggles against apartheid, the fight in Haiti against the Duvaliers, it made us feel aacompanied, that we were not alone in our struggles, it inspired us to continue resisting."
Today, Rodrigos' passion for social development nurtures many exciting and succesful social marketing and educational projects, such as the Radyo Konesans website.
Maggie Steber is an internationally-known documentary photographer whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and book anthologies and exhibitions around the world.
Her work in Haiti over 15 years earned her the prestigious Alicia Patterson Foundation Grant and the Ernst Haas Grant. A collection of the Haiti photographs was published as a book by Aperture, Dancing on Fire: Photographs from Haiti.
Her work has appeared in National Geographic Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The London Sunday Times, The Independent, Newsweek, and numerous others. Maggie has a breathtaking list of honors, including the World Press First Prize in Spot News for coverage in Haiti. Among her many prestigious awards for photojournalism, Maggie received first prize honours from the World Press Photo Foundation for coverage in Haiti.
In recent years she has worked as a visual consultant advising newspapers worldwide on the use of photography and graphic design.She has traveled and worked in 43 countries.
You can see Maggie's photography in pages:
- Haiti in Context