Leaders-In-Action: Humanitarian.org



In 1804, Haiti made history when it became the world’s first black-led republic and the first Caribbean state to achieve independence. But however inspiring its origins, today Haiti has become the poorest country in the Americas—even before it was shaken by disastrous earthquakes in January 2010. Its average per-capita income is just over one dollar a day. Life expectancy is only 52 years. 123 of every 1000 children die before their fifth birthday. 48 percent of those over 15 cannot read or write. 6.5 percent of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS, and the deforestation rate is an astounding 97 percent.

Communicate or DieCommunicate_or_Die_-_the_book.html
Leading Through Language.Communicate_or_Die_-_the_book.html



Taking Charge of Their Future.

The participants moved systematically through the seven steps of Strategy-In-Action. They created a shared understanding of their current situation, including what’s missing, blockages, and opportunities. They aligned around a bold strategic intent to build a future of health and prosperity. They defined the right social indicators to measure the achievement of their vision. They created strategic objectives to drive the strategy. They called forth committed leaders and their accountabilities. The Leadership-In-Action workshop/process fostered breakthroughs in people’s ability to lead. Participants learned the secrets of transformational leadership and the building blocks of effective coaching.

Then they designed and launched a total of 135 catalytic projects designed to bring immediate and lasting value to their communities. Catalytic projects have ranged from creating jobs to providing electricity to villages; from cleaning slums to teaching the poorest of the poor; from reforestation to building roads; and from sanitation to health initiatives, like reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Rita Péan built a cemented road in Port-au-Prince (catalytic project number 63). Edmé Stanis built a kindergarten in Jacmel (number 32). Antoine Péan and his team set out to end hunger for 20 street children in Port-au-Prince and to construct a center for them (91). To combat deforestation and erosion, Jean-François Milou planted trees in the schools of Jérémie (109). Alphonse Dieuveut planted an arboretum of fruit trees in Petit-Goâve (number 110). Jean Garçon and his team reforested the zone Digue Caïman in Petit-Goâve (117). Abraham Comper built a school in Jacmel (27). Marie-Claude Dorcé set up a library for girls in Port-au-Prince (124). Sister Juliette launched a radio program to promote recycling in Jérémie (105).

Build Leadership on the job.Leadership-In-Action.html
A Thinking Partner 100% Committed to your Success.Coaching-In-Action.html
Communicate or Die-In-ActionCommunicate_or_Die-In-Action.html
Become Communicators for Results.Communicate_or_Die-In-Action.html
Marry Planning +People +Performance.Strategy-In-Action.html


Not all of the catalytic projects worked out. Some leaders went out of communication or gave up. One important rule of the game was that nobody would come in and save the day, or complete the catalytic project for any leader; this would have sabotaged the leaders’ self-reliance. Still, 59% of the leaders achieved their goals—a remarkable accomplishment given the absence of seed money for the catalytic projects, which ¨forced¨ the leaders to be truly entrepreneurial in generating funds, or achieving their project goals without money but with human capital or donations. Given the stellar results of this approach in Haiti on an extremely limited budget, the approach could be scaled up in Haiti or replicated elsewhere in the world.

Jérémie, Leadership-In-Action, October 2004

Cap Haïtien, Leadership-In-Action, September 2004

Leadership-In-Action in Haiti (Pictures of 6 leadership classes)

Catalytic Projects in Haiti (Pictures of 10 Catalytic Projects)

Fondetha, Leadership-In-Action, July 2004

Port-au-Prince, Leadership-In-Action, September 2004

Mapou, Leadership-In-Action, October 2004

Petit-Goâve, Leadership-In-Action, October 2004

Rita Péan

Building Honorat Nazon Street

Catalytic Project #63

Port-au-Prince, May 2005

Sr Colette

Restoring Montarcher Square

Catalytic Project #02

Cap-Haïtien, September 2005

Edmé Stanis

Building a Kindergarden

Catalytic Project #32

Jacmel, May 2005

Alphonse Dieuveut

Builing a Fruit Trees Plantation

Catalytic Project #110

Petit-Goâve, June 2005

Jean-François Milou

Greening Schools

Catalytic Project #109

Jérémie, June 2005

Jean Garçon

Reforestation of the Digue Caïman

Catalytic Project #117

Petit-Goâve, june 2005

Abraham Comper

Building a School

Catalytic Project #27

Jacmel, mai 2005

Magarette Georges

Building Micro-enterprise for Solid-waste Management

Catalytic Project #08

Cap-Haïtien, june 2005

Junior Polo

Recycling of Plastic in the Schools

Catalytic Project #130

PAP, September 2009

Antoine Péan

Ending Hunger and Building a Center for Street Children

Catalytic Project #91

PAP, mai 2005


This was perhaps the first time Haitians were not treated as helpless victims but as leaders. In international development, human beings are often seen and treated as passive beneficiaries, not as key agents and leaders who can take charge of their own development. Most of the participants had never been asked what they thought, what they wanted, what their vision was. They had been told what to do, they had been passive beneficiaries of services, they had been seen as ignorant, if not downright stupid.

Finally, they sustained the momentum of accomplishment. In Communicate or Die, the advanced 2-day workshop, they built the most important leadership skill: communication. Without communication there is no leader. Leaders must be masterful communicators who mobilize people for a common goal and produce powerful results – simply by the way they speak and listen. Participants reported on their catalytic projects and got feedback on their performance: coaching that provided what was missing and deepened the learning from the Leadership-In-Action workshop. Participants took the inevitable breakdowns and turned them into breakthroughs in performance, speed or quality.

These tough challenges present Haiti with a historic opportunity. At all levels and in all sectors of society, men and women have the chance to don the mantle of leadership, take charge of their lives and their communities, and take catalytic action for a new future of education, health and prosperity. And they can. Haiti’s people show more resilience and courage in the face of enormous challenges than many of us muster in a lifetime.

Haiti rebuilding after the 2010 earthquake

Dr. Oscar Forgues facilitating a Leadership-In-Action workshop in Haiti

On the road to Jacmel (or to the future)

Communicate or Die workshop participants in Jacmel

—Roosevelt Jean Francois,

Senior Executive,

Radio Melodie FM / SECOSIDA,


Leadership-In-Action is fun!

Call-to-action brochure by FONDETHA and Patrick J. Smyth Foundation


In 2004, precisely 200 years after Haiti’s independence, the Foundation for the Development and Transformation of Haiti (FONDETHA) and the Patrick J. Smyth Foundation joined forces to unleash this tremendous leadership potential. Based on an intervention under the auspices of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in 2002-03 focused on reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, the Patrick J. Smyth Foundation used three tools. Strategy-In-Action brought together leaders and key stakeholders from all sectors and organizations relevant to Haiti’s future.

Marielle Cintellus launched an education campaign to prevent AIDS in the schools of Milot (71). And Magarette Georges launched a micro-enterprise focusing on waste management in Cap-Haïtien (number 8)

And here is the astonishing thing. None of these leaders received any money for their catalytic projects. What they did receive was leadership training, fundraising training, and Coaching-In-Action.


“… great changes that make me a true leader, a leader really useful to my community: I feel truly confident in my conversations. I am not afraid of breakdowns in realizing my breakthroughs. I see myself today more able to realize my objectives.” Jean François Roosevelt

“Yesterday I was not a democratic leader; today I am. Previously my behavior was autocratic – only my decisions were good. Today everything is different.” Yvon Delouis

“This training has been really profitable for me because it has permitted me to develop talents that were hidden inside me.” Gina Saint-Fort




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