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Inauguration of the Nemours Jean Baptiste Music School in Port au Prince. The Office of Transition Initiatives funded the rehabilitation of the space and purchased equipment.
USAID/Nancy Ruppel

1994 - 1996


USAID/OTI began programming in Haiti in 1994 following the return of President Aristide and the restoration of the constitutional government. Following a long history of dictatorial regimes, it was clear that a transition period would be required to gradually bring elected representatives, local leaders and the Haitian people to actively participate in the political and social reconstruction of Haiti.


The primary goal of USAID/OTI’s Haiti Communal Governance Program (CGP) was to facilitate community initiatives emphasizing democratic processes at the local level. To increase stability and prepare for the structuring of political and social networks required for successful local governance, the CGP aimed to:

  • Foster dialogue, community participation and transparency;
  • Undertake priority community projects; and
  • Create a spirit of reconciliation and reconstruction.


  • The CGP assisted in the implementation of over 2,000 community improvement projects which answered priority needs voiced by community groups and local elected officials. Priorities ranged from agriculture, education, roads and bridges, commerce, environment, water, sanitation and health.
  • The CGP aimed to build institutional capacity through a variety of trainings. The human resource development program, for example, provided institutional capacity training to local government officials and community leaders in a range of administrative and participatory government concepts. More than 125 were held, hosting more than 1,500 participants.

2004 - 2006


USAID/OTI began programming in Haiti in May 2004 as part of an effort to restore calm and ensure a transition to democracy after the end of the second government led by Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide’s second term was characterized by increased political violence, an economic recession and a breakdown in effective governance. In February 2004, facing widespread rioting and a full-scale rebellion of former members of the armed forces and the police, Aristide resigned, leading to a new transitional government.


USAID/OTI’s Haiti Transition Initiative (HTI) sought to assist Haiti with a democratic transition by:

  • Enhancing citizen confidence and participation in a peaceful transition;
  • Empowering citizens and the Haitian government to address priority community needs;
  • Building cooperative frameworks between citizens and government entities are all levels; and
  • Promoting peaceful interaction among conflicted populations.


  • USAID/OTI supported the construction of a basketball court in Port-au-Prince’s Bel Air neighborhood to restore a sense of community and reinforce stability. The basketball court provided neighbors with a place to congregate and/or play without fear of violence.
  • USAID/OTI rehabilitated a school in the Bel Air neighborhood that was burned down during times of violence. Community members noted that as a result of the project, violence in the area subsided. Gangs stayed away from the school because of the children present. Consequently, community members felt comfortable leaving their houses and visit family living in the community.

2010 - 2013


USAID/OTI began the Haiti Recovery Initiative (HRI) in January 2010 as part of the post-earthquake response, supporting short- and medium-term activities aimed at stabilizing Haiti through support for community revitalization, improved governance and economic strengthening.


Striving to prepare local governments and community-based organizations for longer-term U.S. Government (USG) investment, HRI moved to a new phase in March 2011 following the release of the five-year "Post-Earthquake USG Haiti Strategy." This strategy identified two objectives:

  • Catalyzing economic growth through investments in agriculture, energy and infrastructure; and
  • Ensuring long-term stability through investments in public institutions.

USAID/OTI advanced this effort to promote economic growth and stability by supporting new and diverse opportunities in key development corridors around Port-au-Prince, Saint Marc and Cap Haitien.


  • Enabling the Government of Haiti to function: In coordination with USAID/Haiti and international partners, USAID/OTI provided support to the Government of Haiti (GOH) at the local and national levels through technical assistance for urban planning, decentralization and economic growth and recovery efforts. For example, the program provided a temporary structure for the parliament and worked with the Ministry of Communications on an interactive web portal to link entrepreneurs with investors.
  • Stabilizing communities: Working closely with the GOH and international partners, USAID/OTI helped rebuild key neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince to strengthen communities and resettle internally displaced persons (IDPs). Efforts included installing solar-powered streetlights in Cap Haitien to improve public safety, restoring a multi-purpose cultural center in Saint Marc and rehabilitating embankments on the Artibonite River to prevent flooding. USAID/OTI also supported the Martelly administration's efforts to coordinate the national dialogue on decentralization and facilitate local government investments in urban planning, light infrastructure and peri-urban upgrading.
  • Increasing citizen engagement: USAID/OTI promoted increased communication between the GOH and its citizens, including increased transparency and oversight of government functions. This program component included support to "News You Can Use," a program airing critical information on issues from food distribution to cholera prevention and treatment, and targeted assistance to Haitian radio stations focused on increasing the quality and quantity of news and information broadcast by Haitians. To publicize the Caracol Industrial Park, USAID/OTI, in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance, ran a communications campaign highlighting project benefits — job creation, infrastructure improvements and economic development — and raised awareness of the new government in a previously neglected region.


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Last updated: October 01, 2020

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