Jul 28
July 28, 2015

Action Is Greater: Note from Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala in Haiti, Day One


Today was the first day of the Clinton Foundation’s trip to Haiti, where Chelsea Clinton and I are visiting our partners, programs and progress on the ground. It was incredible to see in person the innovative philanthropic model the Clinton Foundation uses in Haiti, and it truly showed how action is greater when different partners are able to collectively approach critical challenges. 

We saw that in Port-au-Prince today where different individuals and organizations are working hard to foster sustainable economic development with a shared goal of increasing opportunities for girls and women, and a healthy future for all. 
Getting Inspired by ‘No Ceilings’ at Caribbean Craft 
Our first stop was Caribbean Craft in Port-au-Prince, where company founders Joel and Magalie Dresse gave us a tour of their facility and we visited with local artisans. Caribbean Craft, a long-time partner of the Clinton Foundation, sells its products to both local and international buyers – including West Elm, Home Goods, and Urban Zen, and we work with Caribbean Craft and other businesses like it to facilitate stable and equitable purchase agreements that benefit producers, suppliers, and those eager to buy the exquisite Haitian products. As a result, more than 400 artisans are employed, earning higher wages and receiving more training to ensure they can support their families over the long-term. 

Immediately after our tour, Chelsea hosted a No Ceilings Conversation, our 18th overall and fourth held abroad. We talked with Magalie, as well as Carine Roenen from the Fonkoze Foundation, and an audience of entrepreneurs, students, and nonprofit workers about how we can work together to inspire female entrepreneurship and sustainable economic independence and cultivate the full participation of girls and women in Haiti.
A Focus on Community Health at GHESKIO 
Our next stop focused on public health, as Dr. Bill Pape, the founder of GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center, walked us through Haiti’s first permanent Cholera treatment center and state-of-the-art facility. The facility has specially designed water purification and wastewater treatment systems, serves a catchment area of 60,000 local residents, and has treated more than 130 patients since it opened its doors on May 15th. The Cholera Treatment Center was developed in partnership with leading Haitian healthcare provider, GHESKIO, and MASS Design Group, a CGI commitment maker, with support and facilitation from the Clinton Foundation.
Papillon: “Not only is the result beautiful, but it’s also changing lives”
As the final stop of the day, we visited Papillon Enterprise, another woman-owned business, to meet with artisans that are producing a variety of stunning artisan products from recycled and locally procured materials. As Papillon Enterprise says, “beauty is changing lives.” The Clinton Foundation connected Papillon to new buyers, which has led to greater market access, and provided a grant, which they used to recently purchase new equipment. Papillon has more than 300 employees and, in 2013, generated $1.1 million in estimated sales. 
In Case You Missed It
In case you missed it, Chelsea took over the Clinton Foundation’s Instagram today – sharing her unique lens and perspective as we visit our partners and see the programs up close. Follow along behind the scenes on Instagram. Also, if you haven’t had a chance to read my op-ed in today’s Miami Herald on why girls and women are the key to Haiti’s future, please take a look here.
After a whirlwind day seeing our work, now more than ever, I believe that #ActionIsGreater when we work together to address and make progress on some of the world’s most pressing challenges. I am excited for tomorrow’s stops and to continue our tour of this beautiful country.