We continue to be committed to building the capacity of girls and women in Haiti. We do this for girls through a camp that encourages Haitian children to engage in math, science, engineering, the arts, and technology (STEAM). The camp is coordinated by our Laurier university students and has seen 100s of Haitian girls and boys attend over the past three years. We also support young women who participate in a conversational English program with our Laurier university students. These conversations are rich and meaningful. They also illuminate for both our Haitian and Canadian participants the shared experiences and dreams they have. We are also supporting the teaching and leadership abilities of Haitian women through their participation in the Educator and Leadership Institute (click here to watch a 1 minute video of our 2017 institute in Cap-Haitien, Haiti). We have been deliberate and intentional in ensuring that we have strong female instructors and leaders, both Haitian and Canadian, to provide exemplary modeling for our participants.
Through this work, I have further developed my interest in the concept of agency (similar to the concepts of efficacy and empowerment). Merriam-Webster dictionary defines agency as "the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power". This idea has made me think a lot about the ideas of equity and equality. It seems to me that we are aiming for equity in Haiti more than equality. Equality insinuates that everyone is treated equally whereas equity gets at the concept of developing conditions that are fair and just, in other words, ensuring that everyone has what they need to be able to access power. I think this visual captures the difference:
This is part of my work in Haiti ... and in my own community.