Haiti Partnership News

Despite Worsening Conditions in Haiti, Cassava Program Continues

Many of you have contacted us recently asking for information about the escalating crisis in Haiti. As you may know, on Monday night, March 11, the de facto prime minister resigned, and a new transitional government is in the works.
Gang activity which has shut down major roads and much of Port-au-Prince (capital city) for many months has increased. Now, gangs are consolidating, having taken over key parts of the capital city. They are threatening to take over the National Palace in a symbolic coup d’etat, and the international community has stepped up pressure to find a solution. American embassy personnel were flown out by a Marine helicopter this week, as the airports remain closed.
Although an estimated 80% of Haiti’s capital city is under brutal gang control, in Jeannette, the St. Marc school and clinic remain open, and the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee Haiti Partnership-sponsored Cassava Program is continuing to be rolled out, thanks to our implementation and operational partner, APSHA. We, like our Haitian partners, believe investing in education, health, food security, economic viability, and strengthening civic infrastructure in ways like this are the most effective humanitarian responses.
To answer your questions about the conditions in Haiti and how they affect our partnership in Jeannette, we are scheduling informational Zoom sessions. We are offering two scheduled opportunities to give you a more detailed update and offer you a chance to ask questions: 

  • Tuesday, March 26, at 6 p.m. Central Time

  • Wednesday, April 3, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time

Alternatively, if those times do not work for you (individually or as a group), you may request a time to meet with Cathy Parrill, our Haiti Partnership consultant. To register to attend a Zoom meeting or request a meeting with Cathy, please click here.

Haiti Partnership Quarterly Newsletter: Winter 2024

St. Marc Episcopal Church in Jeannette has a new coat of paint! 

Last quarter, we featured programs in Jeannette, Haiti, answered your questions, and told you how grateful we are for your generous donations that continue to support St. Marc School and Clinic, and the new Cassava Program. Our gratitude continues this quarter as we share personal greetings from friends in Jeannette, provide an update on St. Marc School and Clinic and the Cassava Programs, and invite you to set up an informational Zoom meeting for your parish, outreach committee, or other interested group.
A personal note from Cathy Parrill, Haiti Partnership consultant:
Maybe you, like me, have become discouraged lately about the dire situation in Haiti. Severe food shortages, with 1.4 million people categorized as Level 4 (emergency) and nearly 3 million more categorized as Level 3 (crisis). Gender-based violence. Most of the capital city under gang control. Displaced families with nowhere to go. How long can people go on like this, I asked myself. I was beginning to lose hope. And then, I received the following messages from our friends and partners in Haiti. Please read to the very end and see what our partners in Haiti would like for you to know. 

Greetings from Père Moise

 Père Moise and Family (L to R: Magalie, Moe, Anne, and Père Moise)

“We thank God very much, for the way he is watching over us and has kept us safe. We say thank you to all our friends in the USA, who never let us down, even in our difficult times. Hats off to you. I want to take this opportunity to tell you, although times in Haiti are difficult, we are happy to say that St. Marc institutions are still functioning: the church, the school (all sections), and the clinic.”
“Despite news you may have heard about the insecurity in Haiti, we are happy to report that St. Marc has not had to close like so many institutions in cities. We always do something to stay standing, so that the community can get the services they need. Life is not without problems, but despite all the difficulties, with the support of our friends in the USA and the will of the people who are working here, we still remain eager and hopeful. [The] Jeannette community, members of the church, and I salute you for your courage and faithfulness to this partnership. We hope that one day soon, Haiti will have peace so that you can visit, and we can see each face to face again, other with happiness.”—Père Moise

St. Marc School and Clinic

Although many city schools have been forced to close at times because of the political situation, St. Marc School and Clinic remain open as usual. Your support is providing an excellent education to over 400 young people and healthcare to the region.

 St. Marc students in the parade! 

Personal Messages from Others in Jeannette 

We received a perky voice message this week from, Mary Kam, a 75-year-old friend who has lived her whole life in Jeannette and used to help cook for American visitors there.

Mary Kam and great-grandchild

“How are you and your family?” Mary Kam asked. “I never stop thinking of you. When will you be back to see us?” she asked. “How are Mary Alice, Nancy, Ted, Madame Ted, Denis, and all my other friends?” she wanted to know. Mary Kam said that although she has the normal aches and pains of a woman her age, she is doing well. She prays for us. Please pray for her, her family, and their neighbors in Jeannette.

Dr. Elie, who worked at St. Marc Clinic until he resigned at the end of 2023, messaged to say he and his wife Dayanne are in France with her relatives and doing well. In a letter to Ellen Alison, who, along with others from the Diocese of Eau Claire, has been an instrumental supporter of St. Marc Clinic for years, Dr. Elie wrote: 

Dr. Elie Martin and his young patient

“I won't ever stop feeling grateful, especially to you, Ellen, for the time I spent working for St. Marc's, where I spent seven years practicing my profession as a doctor. I learned a lot collaborating both with the leadership at St. Marc's and the team overseas with HP [Haiti Partnership]. We learned from your strong sense of values, from your team's medical knowledge, and from your discipline. We learned how important it is to build strong relations with patients, colleagues, and the managers we work under. 
"It was good for the health of the people Jeannette, but also for a young man fresh out of medical school. You took me on even though I did not yet have any experience at all. You chose me anyway. And the work you gave me enabled me to move forward in my life, socially and economically. And what you and HP did for me will keep helping me as I make a new start.”—Dr. Elie

In a conversation with Eloi, a long-time leader in Jeannette, I wondered aloud how a lasting solution to the political instability and humanitarian crisis in Haiti would ever be found, and whether the relatively small amount we are doing can make a meaningful difference in the face of the enormous problems Haiti faces. 

Family of Rodolphe Eloi (L to R: Antoine, Mireille, Eloi, and Jacob)

“When we arrive at the end of our lives,” Eloi reminded me, “The money we have made and possessions we have acquired are as dust. What matters is what we have done in communion with our brothers and sisters, and what we leave behind for the next generation.” 

Cassava Program Update from APSHA

Gregory Leger, CEO of APSHA

Update from Gregory: The Cassava Program is being implemented in Jeannette even though the situation in Haiti has required us to change strategy and tactics and to stay flexible. When it was time for trucks to deliver the cassava cuttings that we will use to plant in Jeannette, roads to the supplier in Cayes were impassable because of gang activity. We had to find a different source in a place that was accessible. We found another source. 

Cassava stalks, ready to be transported and turned into cuttings for planting

Then, that road was closed to truck traffic, so we hired motorcycles to transport the cassava stems across the peninsula to Jeannette. 

Cassava cuttings being delivered by motorcycle

That cost more money than the original plan, but we did not request an increase in the budget. Instead, we modified the plan, reduced other expenses, and are now training farmers in Jeannette how to turn the stalks into cuttings that will soon be growing in their soil. So that problem is solved too. 

 Gregory Leger with his family: wife China and their sons Max (14), Kevin (10) and Gregory Jr (4)

A week ago, news from Haiti was wearing me down. I was beginning to lose hope. And then conversations with our Haitian friends reminded me that, as long as there are people like them in Haiti, we have every reason to hope. We Americans have indeed been blessed to be in partnership with our friends in Jeannette for all these many years. May we be as much of a blessing to them as they are to us.

I would be pleased to meet with your parish, outreach committee, or other interest group over Zoom to provide you with more information about the Haiti Partnership and the current situation in Haiti. To arrange a time, please contact me at  .

–Cathy, Haiti Partnership consultant 

To donate to St. Marc School and Clinic or to the Cassava Program, you may give online or mail a check to the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee with "Haiti" on the memo line (mail to 804 E Juneau Ave; Milwaukee WI 53202). 

Haiti Partnership Quarterly Newsletter: Fall 2023

Gratitude & Answers to the Top Questions We’re Being Asked

We want to begin by telling you how grateful we are for your prayers, support, and generous contributions to our Haiti Partnership outreach ministry. Below, you’ll find updates on St. Marc School and Clinic, the new Cassava Program, and informational Zoom sessions we’re offering throughout Wisconsin and beyond. First, we want to answer some questions we are frequently asked:
Since we can’t go to Haiti now, what is the best way for me to get involved in the Haiti Partnership? Spread the word! Pass along this newsletter. Host a Zoom session for your parish outreach committee, vestry, coffee hour, service organization, or group of friends. Become a Haiti Partnership Ambassador for your parish. To learn more, contact our consultant, Cathy Parrill ( ).
How do I donate? You may use the online diocesan giving portal (click here or click the red “Giving” button on the diocesan website) or mail a check payable to the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, with “Haiti” written on the memo line. Send to the diocesan office at 804 E. Juneau Ave, Milwaukee WI 53202, to the attention of Caroline Senn.
How is fundraising going? 
It’s going well, thanks to all of you! See below for more details about that.
Could our group schedule a Zoom meeting at a time of our choosing? Yes! Contact Cathy Parrill after the first of January with times that work for you, and we will accommodate your request if at all possible.

News from Jeannette

St. Marc School and Clinic
Although many schools, clinics, and hospitals in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital city, are shuttered due to the gang violence, we are thankful to report that Jeannette has remained peaceful and the St. Marc institutions continue to function as usual.

St. Marc schools opened on September 11, the official start date determined by the Haitian Ministry of Education. Student population:

  • Preschool: 109
  • Elementary (6 grades): 90
  • Intermediate (3 grades): 46
  • Secondary (4 grades): 64

The clinic also continues to adhere to its regular schedule, with Dr. Elie on site three days each week as usual.
The budgeting process began last spring when St. Marc leadership presented the diocese with their forecasted staffing costs for the 2023-24 school year. The Executive Council voted to fund 80% of that budget. Local contributions and/or expense reductions cover the remainder. The determination of funding amount was based on the founding philosophy that those who receive also give back as they can and on the projected amount of donations. From January 2022 to September 2023, donations totaled $260K and expenditures totaled $262K.
With approximately $100K in cash reserves, we have the funds to honor our commitment for the current year budget (Sept. 2023-Aug. 2024). Now, we are seeking contributions for the following school year. Your current donations will help us to know the amount we can commit to St. Marc’s 2024-25 budget.

Diocesan Staff and Financial Contributions
At the former Haiti Project Steering Committee’s recommendation, the diocese now commits both staff and funds to the Haiti Partnership. Diocesan Chief Financial Officer Caroline Senn spearheads the partnership, working directly with Haiti Partnership consultant Cathy Parrill, whose remuneration comes from diocesan, not donor, funds. For fiscal year 2024, the diocese has allotted $80,000 for the Haiti Partnership.

From January 2022-December 2023, the diocese funded a five-month study conducted by our local partner in Haiti (APSHA) to create a strategic plan for supporting the community of Jeannette in growing food security and income with which they can increasingly support the needs of their school and clinic. A brief summary of the five-month study and its conclusions and recommendations can be found at this link:

APSHA Five-Month Study Summary

The diocese covered the $50K cost of that study in full, as well as the $50K cost of Phase I of the Cassava Program, which was recommended as a result of that study. From January 2022 to December 2023, the diocese has contributed a total of $136K to the Haiti Partnership, in addition to the $260K contributed by donors.

Cassava Program

Phase I:  Phase I began in September 2023 with a series of farmer meetings to explain the program, what will be provided, and what will be required of those who choose to participate. Eighty farmers were selected to participate in Phase I, during which multiple trainings will be offered before the planting season. Then at the start of the rainy season, each farmer will be provided with sufficient cassava cuttings to plant 0.5 hectares of land.
In addition, there will be two large research plots to test various varieties of cassava, various companion planting options, and to grow cuttings for the following planting season. This phase, which will continue through summer 2024, is fully funded.
Approximately 450 people will benefit from Cassava Program Phase I (80 farmers plus family members living in their households). By the end of this 12-month phase, 400-500 tons of cassava will have been grown and harvested.
Phase II: We are currently seeking $175K in donations and grants for the second phase of the cassava program. During this phase, they will build a processing facility that will be staffed. Phase II will also offer training and the implementation of cassava processing for drying the cassava and making flour from it. This will reduce seasonal food instability and malnutrition, provide income, and create the ability to locally source school lunches while reducing their cost.

The program will improve their food security by diversifying food sources, as well as increasing farmers’ income to meet their families’ basic needs. Workers that are involved in cassava processing activities such as peeling, drying and by-product production can earn an income from these new jobs. Local entrepreneurs will provide services and products related to cassava processing, such as the supply of processing equipment, distribution of finished products, etc. Local consumers will be able to access a range of cassava-derived products, such as cassava flour, snacks, and chips, offering healthy, local food alternatives. For more information about the Cassava Program, go to this link:

Cassava Program Overview

Please continue to pray for our friends in Haiti and this partnership, consider contributing your time and talent to this worthy outreach ministry, and donate through the giving portal or by check marked “Haiti.”