Transforming Lives Through Education: FFTP, Taiwan Join Forces to Propel Teacher Training in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 13, 2023) Recognizing that education is essential to helping families overcome generational poverty, Food For The Poor (FFTP) and Taiwan are partnering to support an award-winning teacher training program in northern Haiti.
FFTP has received the first installment of a generous donation from Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) to support P4H Global, which provides training for teachers and administrators.
In addition to teacher training, the project supports women educators through development and empowerment in the classroom, with the goal of helping them become more confident and self-sufficient in their daily lives. It also helps girls, who are often pulled out of school to work at home, by showing parents that their daughters can be successful academically and that getting an education can put them on a path to a brighter future.
Even as Haiti endures the stress of recent back-to-back disasters – including torrential rains and flooding on June 3 and a magnitude 4.9 earthquake on June 6 – there is still hope and providing access to quality education is essential.
“The P4H partnership is a very good example of how we can work together to transform lives in Haiti and to foster long-term development,” said Ambassador Timothy Hsiang, Secretary General of the Taiwan ICDF. “Education is important for the long-term development of the country.”
Now in its third year, the P4H Quality Education Initiative is underway in 38 schools, helping 570 teachers and 7,332 students throughout northern Haiti. The program has made such an impact that its founders received the 2022 UNESCO-Hamdan Prize for Teacher Development on Oct. 5, World Teachers’ Day, in Paris.
“Our goal is to provide Haitian teachers with the skills and support they need to transform their teaching methods into effective student-centered strategies that cultivate critical thinking, collaboration and creativity in the classroom,” said Bertrhude Albert, Ph.D., CEO/Co-Founder of P4H Global. “Qualitative data from the teachers and directors show us that student engagement is improving, and teacher-student relationships are improving.”
The P4H Quality Education Initiative adds another layer to interventions in developing countries that focus on building schools, but not fully addressing what happens in the classroom.
“When you’re building a school, you know that it’s going to be better than having students and teachers work in an inadequate classroom,” FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said. “But we also must be concerned about the quality of the education that students are receiving, and this is why the P4H partnership is so important. Because if the teachers don’t have adequate training and don’t have confidence in their abilities, how are they going to be inspired to teach the kids?”
Quality education is crucial in Haiti, where the World Bank reports that 80 percent of educators lack adequate training and 25 percent did not study beyond secondary school. Students also struggle, with 60 percent dropping out before finishing primary school and only 1 percent of those between ages 18 and 24 going to college.
In addition, COVID-19 impacted education in Haiti, which was among the countries that could not provide remote learning during the pandemic. Schools have reopened, but students still lag academically.
Haiti also continues to struggle in the aftermath of the July 7, 2021, assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, the lingering devastation of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace in August 2021, violent criminal gang activity, soaring inflation and a severe hunger crisis.
The P4H training program has been very well-received by participants.
“Before the P4H Global training, I did not have the ability to manage the classroom,” said Chilove Pierre, a teacher at Ecole Communautaire Saint-Pierre de Madras, in Madras. “During the first year of my training, I learned many techniques that allowed me to improve, and my students were more successful in their academic performance.”
For Widza Cher-Enfant, Director of Institution Évangélique Vision de L’Aigle, in Cap-Haitian, the constant follow-up, continued training and support from the school’s P4H coach was exceptional.
“The work that P4H Global is doing in education in (Haiti) is exceptional, incomparable work,” she said. “For me, the country was thirsty for such work, and we are praying to God that this will continue.”
The P4H program began more than two years ago with a diagnostic review, followed by intensive teacher training, classroom observation and monthly remote check-ins with their trainers. In addition, school directors receive training, and the program encourages parental and community involvement in each school.
Today, the average teacher knowledge has increased by 60 percent between their P4H pre- and post-tests, 25 of the 38 schools have retained their teaching staff from the past year, and 25 schools have set up school councils for community input. In addition, student exam pass rates are more than twice the national average of 41 percent, and six schools in the program have achieved a 100 percent pass rate.
“We especially get excited when we receive phone calls from school directors that for the first time ever, they received 100 percent pass rate on student exams,” said P4H COO and Co-Founder Priscilla Zelaya, Ph.D. “We want to see success stories like this all throughout Haiti.”
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.