For Immediate Release

Title: Haiti’s Novel Decentralization Program Gives a Voice to the Heartland: Hundreds Gather at Community Cafes to Help Shape Their Future

President Martelly drives KPP community-based decentralization through innovative asset-based participatory approach

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, April 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Hundreds of citizens in the Haitian cities of Jacmel, Leogane and Port de Paix have now participated in the Ministry of the Interior’s innovative Community Cafes, the first phase of a comprehensive community decentralization program called Katye Pam Poze (KPP).  

In addressing the enthusiastic gathering of more than 100 people at Leogane, President Martelly spoke about Haiti’s KPP as the cornerstone of his administration’s National Decentralization Agenda. “Since the beginning, I have held a vision for a decentralized Haiti, and now we have a program under way to turn that vision into reality, with citizens participating in decision-making that affects their communities. My government and I are fully committed to making our communities safer and more prosperous, one neighborhood at a time,” said the President.

“I am extremely pleased with the turn-out, people’s openness and willingness to make a difference in their communities and to personally commit to making it happen,” said Haiti’s Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul, who leads and organizes the community cafes in his role as chief implementer of President Martelly’s community-based decentralization program. “This is exactly the purpose of Katye Pam Poze, to bring decision-making closer to the people while promoting good governance, boosting economic development and job creation, and delivering public services as efficiently as possible.” 

Katye Pam Poze was launched mid March 2012 in Jacmel and followed by Leogane and Port de Paix. Seven additional Cafes are slated to take place in order to cover all ten of the country’s departments.  The community Cafes are a key component of KPP’s participatory approach.  They consist of a dialogue session between central and local government entities, and citizens, designed to identify the most pressing local needs, and work together to find solutions.

Once local needs are assessed through KPP cafés, as well as extensive asset-based community development research on-the-ground, a detailed blueprint will be developed for each of the ten pilot communities, laying out priority subprograms that will guarantee access to basic social services and citizen safety.

President Martelly stressed that the goal of his administration is to enable safe and prosperous communities throughout Haiti, and called on all citizens to participate.   ”The implementation of Katye Pam Poze marks a turning point for our communities and our nation, with my administration inviting local authorities and local citizens to work hand-in-hand with us to push economic and social development at the local level.  As citizens, you now have a voice and are part of an historic event–the beginning of a new day for Haiti.”

The KPP Cafes so far have identified similar general challenges, including: safety and security, education, health services and the environment.

Mayard-Paul highlighted that the range of actions within KPP includes strengthening municipalities; natural disaster mitigation efforts; improving the delivery of health, housing and education services; recovering public spaces, developing local citizen initiatives and creating job opportunities in tandem with the private sector. “In the end, our goal is to improve the quality of life of the Haitian people by enabling safe and prosperous communities, right where they live,” he said. “Building the capacity of citizens to manage and maintain KPP programs and infrastructure at the local level is very important to our administration, as is developing culture and sports programs. This is an ambitious decentralization program.”

The Minister also pointed out that while Katye Pam Poze is modeled on successful experiences in other parts of the world, including Asia, the Americas, Africa, Europe and the United States, it introduces a new and innovative approach to community-based decentralization, created by Haitians for Haitians.