World Teachers’ Day: FFTP and P4H Global Bring Award-Winning Quality Education Initiative to Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (October 5, 2022) A three-year pilot program funded by Food For The Poor is moving teachers in Haiti away from old-school teaching methods, such as rote memorization, to collaborative learning and student engagement with great success.
Now in its third year, the P4H Quality Education Initiative is underway in 38 schools, helping 343 teachers and 7,151 students throughout northern Haiti. The program has made such an impact that its creators are receiving the UNESCO-Hamdan Prize for Teacher Development today in Paris.
The presentation coincides with World Teachers’ Day, introduced by UNESCO in 1994 and celebrated annually on Oct. 5. UNESCO’s international jury praised the P4H program, titled “Training Teachers to Transform Haiti,” for promoting creativity, curiosity, critical thinking and collaboration among students, directors and the community.
“We believe that in order to see a transformation in Haiti, quality education is at the heart of that transformation,” said Bertrhude Albert, Ph.D., CEO/Founder of P4H Global. “Every economic researcher will tell you a strong educational system is a prerequisite towards seeing a developed nation.”
The P4H Quality Education Initiative adds another layer to interventions in developing countries that focus on building schools, but not always on addressing the quality of education they provide. The program has been very well-received by participants.
“Professionally, the training has increased my knowledge and has given me strategies to make my work more effective,” said Augustin Juline from Vision de l’Aigle, Cap-Haïtien. “I have already seen the impact this training has had on my students.”
A quality educational program is needed more than ever in Haiti. The COVID-19 pandemic made a devastating impact on education around the world. By April 2020, 1.6 billion students were out of school and Haiti was among the countries that could not provide remote learning. 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.
“Providing a quality education may not be top of mind during the unrest Haiti is experiencing, but it is a critical factor in helping people lift themselves out of poverty,” FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said. “The P4H Quality Education Initiative brings hope in the ongoing struggle, and we’re grateful that we can continue this landmark program despite the turmoil in Haiti.”
In addition to teacher training, the P4H initiative provides training for school directors and encourages parental and community involvement in each school. The process began two years ago with a diagnostic review, followed by intensive teacher training.
“Eighty percent of teachers in Haiti have not gone through any kind of pre-service training,” said P4H COO and Co-Founder Priscilla Zelaya, Ph.D. “They’re going into the classroom without the background knowledge of how to impact their students.”
Training emphasizes foundational educational practices, such as developing effective lesson plans and moving away from rote memorization – where children repeat lessons without fully grasping the context of the lesson – to a collaborative teaching style.
“Research shows that when students are engaged in the material, they are learning more,” Zelaya said. “So, we give teachers the tools to help them engage with students.”
P4H trainers also observe teachers at work in the classroom, create personalized goals for each teacher and provide feedback on their performance.
Distance learning also is provided, with trainers calling teachers via WhatsApp to get updates on their performance and provide valuable feedback.
Teacher assessments show that they are grasping the material. Assessments before and after training showed a 49 percent growth rate in their knowledge of the content. Their classroom observation scores increased by 82 percent. Students are also benefiting. For example, students at Academie Scholaire d’Idadee, operated by FFTP’s partner Brace For Impact, scored 100 percent on their annual exams.
Both Albert and Zelaya believe that part of the success of P4H is due to their trainers’ constant connection with the teachers.
“We are there offering shoulder-to-shoulder support for teachers, making sure they are applying the training and giving feedback,” Zelaya said. “It’s a new experience for many teachers who haven’t had someone come in and coach alongside them, and it’s making an impact.”
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, clean 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.