Introducing Foundation IDEO
On 15 November 2023, the CSPPS Executive Committee welcomed Foundation IDEO (Institute of Personal and Organisational Development), from Haiti, within its membership. IDEO is our first member in Haiti. This article provides an introduction to our latest member and also looks into the current situation in Haiti. Now more than ever, it is necessary to broadcast globally the voice of local civil society on the situation in Haiti as the country has suffered from and faced many challenges over the past decades, including political instability with several coups d’état and significant environmental and climate disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake.
Today, Haiti is confronted with problems related to gang proliferation, a phenomenon exacerbating violence, insecurity and poverty in its society. This country must at the same time challenge institutions and the rule of law seriously violated. In this context, CSPPS strongly believes that local civil society organisations are key actors to highlight the needs of the local population, specifically the most vulnerable one, and advocate for human-centred solutions at both national and global levels.
In this regard, the activities of Foundation IDEO, focused on mental health, psycho trauma, organisational development and peacebuilding issues, are significant in the context of Haiti. On one hand, IDEO mission is to help people to cultivate deep-rooted values, and realise their full potential and reach a high level of self-fulfilment in every aspect of their lives.
On the other hand, they aim to contribute to a change of mentality and the establishment of a peace climate in Haiti, through supporting Haitian on mental health issues, specifically marginalised groups. Their work is divided through four axes : 1) personal development ; 2) access to psychological resources ; 3) access to organisational development ; 4) and peacebuilding and conflict prevention through peace education activities.
Founded in 1992, Foundation IDEO celebrated its 31st anniversary in February 2023, and has therefore a long history, which began even before its official establishment. Everything started with the founding in 1985 of the Institute of Personal Growing (ICP), which focused primarily on supporting families and schools and later extended its activities to the commercial and humanitarian sectors with the creation of IDEO. From 1987 to 1990, the professionals who created IDEO and the founders of ICP were all consultants for the Center for Management and Productivity (CMP), which was established in 1987 with funding from USAID to support employees and workers in the industrial and commercial sectors after the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986.
Following the 1991 coup d'état, CMP consultants, whose managers decided to close the centre, decided to continue their activities, through the creation of a new centre in 1992, which became the IDEO Foundation, despite the lack of funding in the beginning. Since its creation, Foundation IDEO has provided highly valuable support on psycho-trauma issues following the various crises the country has faced. In particular, they first partnered with Médecins du Monde to care of individuals suffering from trauma following one of Haiti's bloodiest periods, during which the army and the criminal organisation Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) pursued supporters of the deposed president.
In 2008, after a school in Pétion-Ville collapsed, killing teachers and pupils, IDEO received funding from the European Union to provide support to the community and train 20 psychology students in psycho-traumatology. Building on this basis, the IDEO team worked with a Haitian NGO, URAMEL (Medico-Legal Research and Action Unit), in establishing the CPTH (Psycho-Trauma Centre of Haiti), the first psycho-trauma centre in Haiti, following the worst natural disaster in Haiti's history on 12 January 2010, thanks to funding from Terre des Hommes Germany. In 2011, funding from Enfants du Monde enabled the team of psychologists working for the CPTH to receive peace training from Martine Libertino, a philosopher who has developed this philosophy.
Through this new membership, CSPPS has now a complete representation across all g7+ countries, an intergovernmental organisation gathering 20 governments from fragile and conflict-affected countries. As the Platform represents civil society within the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS), CSPPS is therefore in a highly strategic position in this partnership, having the possibility to engage with all g7+ members on behalf of civil society. CSPPS looks forward to involving Foundation IDEO in upcoming IDPS events and discussions, specifically on issues relevant for Haiti and welcome them to the CSPPS family.
"Our mission is to contribute to a change of mentality and to the establishment of a climate of peace in Haiti by working for the emotional well-being and mental health of the Haitian population in general, and vulnerable groups in particular - women, children, vulnerable groups, families, schools [...]." - Roseline Benjamin, Founder & Executive Director of Foundation IDEO