Community of practice – This Initiative was one of the few that successfully maintained an active community of practice. The four organisations in Limbé met quarterly to share progress of their work, discuss experiences, and conduct peer reviews. The most important factors that triggered the viability of such an active community of practice include (1) the close geographical proximity of the organisations and (2) their shared focus on the same, small, manageable area of the Limbé Valley.
Changing mindsets – Through community health education and the services offered by its mobile clinic, Eben-Ezer influenced community members’ health and hygiene practices, resulting in a reduction of preventable diseases, such as diarrhoea. The increased harvests and improved farm productivity resulting from UCnH and Floresta’s environmental conservation and reforestation training of students, young adults and farmers influenced the larger community’s mindset regarding the importance of applying effective, sustainable farming techniques.
Completed baseline and impact evaluation report – This was one of the few initiatives that conducted both studies, before and after funding, enabling us to measure the real impact over the past three years. This provided us with an objective and evidence-based report of the Initiative’s impact and equipped the community with a document to use for seeking additional funding from other sources.
Natural disasters – The hurricanes in 2008 and 2009 and the January 2010 earthquake affected the entire country, and the Initiative’s partners were not spared. Such disasters impacted the entire nation, and these organisations did their best to respond without neglecting their commitment to their communities.
Economic and political instability – A high inflation rate in 2008 increased the cost of basic commodities, leading to riots, affecting FONKOZE’s clients’ ability to repay loans and affecting the project budgets. In 2010, the disputed presidential elections led to civil unrest, affecting plans to visit the project and to conduct the Initiative’s close-out celebration conference, which was rescheduled for February 2011.
Logistical challenges – In addition to financial and economic woes, the country’s poor infrastructure, such as pothole-ridden roads, has resulted in high transportation costs and long travel times. The earthquake damaged parts of the airport and major road infrastructure in the country, further complicating the transportation of goods, especially from Port-au-Prince to Limbé.