WHO IS NEDGINE PAUL?
Nedgine Paul is the co-founder & CEO of Anseye Pou Ayiti (Teach For Haiti), works to raise education outcomes in rural Haiti by promoting teacher excellence and student success.
Nedgine’s previous roles at Achievement First, the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, and WorldTeach included opportunities to manage recruitment, staff orientation, tutoring, and governance duties, as well as the development of a school principal residency program. Nedgine also worked with Partners In Health to manage onboarding, benefits, and workforce planning for the organization’s transnational teams. She has conducted teacher training seminars and extensive research about the historical, cultural, and socioeconomic factors contributing to Haiti’s school system and in 2014, she was named among the top global social innovators by Echoing Green.
You can connect with Nedgine here:
IN TOR 090 YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
- Taking advantage of your privilege and opportunities to make local impacts.
- How to make the best of education development through equal opportunity, culturally relevant curricula, and community leadership development.
- On the role and value of narratives, perceptions and conversations, and what happens when they’re not taken into account at work.
- On “checking your privilege,” the equilibrium between acknowledging it and being humble about it.
- How it’s not necessary to have a perfect plan with all the money in place, the value of slow and steady.
- Make lots and lots of questions to everyone, then filter out the fads.
- How attention, respect and appreciation to culture, customs makes all the difference with how people relate to you.
- On how to balance hand-on and managerial work, as it relates to keeping oneself hopeful.
OUR CONVERSATION INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- Anseye Pou Ayiti
- Achievement First Public Charter Schools Network
- Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut
- World Teach
- Partners in Health
- Echoing Green
- Teach For All
- Education: policy, reform
- Curricula development
- Excellence in Teaching
- Community leadership building
- School systems research
- Narratives, perceptions, conversations and questions
- Culture, customs, history; respect, appreciation, love
- Grassroots startup and sustainability
- Local-led and local-run
- Activating the diasporas
- Gonaïves and other Haiti’s communes
EPISODE CRIB NOTES
Coming back home is good (Unlike in the U.S.)
It’s a chance to reconnect, be recognized by your own community.
Anseye Pou Ayiti
Looking to build a new narrative for Haiti through equal opportunity education.
Training the next wave of Haitian leaders.
It’s possible to build a whole new network of leaders and partners from the ground up in Haiti.
“Change the conversation about what’s possible.“
The right thing to invest in? People
Why people think how they think.
Institutions and governance are important, but second to building human capacity.
Motivation lightbulb: why she decided to do this, and so early
Long series of conversation where her parents told her: “Don’t forget where you came from.”
Left Haiti early, always cultured and informed on the country, and willing to come back.
Her father was a teacher. He encouraged her to always travel, not for vacation or relatives, but to see the realities.
At 12, playing in a rural school, Benji was teased for not having shoes. Nedgine tried to distract him and cheer him up. Showing her his place of learning was a source of delight for Benji, to the point of trying to mimic what her teacher would do.
She realized kids there only get to complete 6th grade. For the first time her father had no answer as to why. She realized how privileged she was.
On her early calling
Started right after undergrad: Achievement First Public Charter School Network.
Changing the conversation about what’s possible: local education reform, first hand.
Grad school: International Education Policy. The groundwork for Anseye Pour Ayiti.
Then, Partners in Health, on board for educational curriculum and leadership development.
Her question: What it takes to create a sustainable grassroots organization?
She never denied the opportunities and privileges received.
On the “leap of faith”
Emphasis on faith. Nedgine is the daugther of a priest.
Constantly trying to figure out the right path. From “calculate the right timing for success and impact,” to realize “there is never a right or wrong time.“
She did want a slow and steady approach for Anseye Pour Ayiti.
International Team work allowed her to ask lots of questions.
The common denominator in answers: investing in people is key.
It took her 3 years to start up, nights and weekends before launch.
Learning to Launch
Asking questions to all kinds of people. Pass from the receiving end to the proposing end.
What are people saying about the education system in 2010, 2011, 2012? To filter out the fads.
Lots and lots of visits to school communities all across Haiti: Gonaïves, … (4 communes total).
Trying to be a “fly on the wall” as much as possible.
Testing, honing and adapting global models to local contexts, which is the Teach For All approach.
Met key global players.
“You don’t need all money in place.“
Part own funds, part the great opportunity from Echoing Green (fellowship).
She used the funds to bring others in, with full-time focus. Quality input for quality output.
Differences in helping Haiti compared to other NGOs present
Deep love and appreciation of people, culture and customs.
Other organizations are focused on goals and strategies, data, funding. All very important, but they end up looking alike.
Respect history and culture, bring it to the forefront. Curricula for leaders include strong emphasis on Haitian proverbs.
Constant people interaction, formal and informal surveys, but conversations and local forums matter the most.
#1: Teachers’ salaries. Hiring top quality professionals, driven and optimistic about change, is very hard to match salary-wise. Cases of low and even year long missed wages
Also: growing disillusionment. Education is important, but the challenge turns almost existential: Schooling to what end? To be well prepared, for what?
Hinting at: the Haitian economy
Where are the opportunities? “An education movement cannot just stay within the four walls of the classroom.“
Anseye Pour Ayiti is calling leaders from every economic sector. Some of them need to reinforce the education system but others need to become key bridges within the industry, government, legal system, economy and community organization. Leaders must be everywhere.
#1: Public perception. Haiti’s realities are so different from what is broadcasted.
People have strong beliefs. Despite not getting salaries, teachers are on a mission to wake up and work every day. “I know I have to be there for them and make a difference in their lives.” Ideas of progress pervasive throughout the nation.
Instead, disfunction, instability, lack of will is what is reported about the country. It’s just so much more than that. It’s an oversimplification.
Honesty about what the narratives are, and how realistic, is critical for lasting change.
Anseye Pour Ayiti
Still a startup. Quality speaks volume, as do keeping your word, top quality people and leaders.
Will continue to build international network of allies. Haitian-led and Haitian-run, but not as effective as with allies across borders.
“Our diaspora needs to be activated.” Partners who believe in Haiti as a global leader, ambassadors.
Vision and impact must speak for themselves to justify ongoing funding.
On fundraising, I’m still learning: It’s all about making partners out of founders and donors.
Backers need to be involved as early as possible in work.
On having a higher roles versus staying on the field
“I still have my hands on the trenches and it makes me so happy, to travel to all the schools and shadow a teacher or a principal. That is what keeps me hopeful.“
But, on-site work continues to lessen due to increasing responsibilities, fundraising, grant writing.
It also depends on the season. Recruiting, training is heavy on-site work. Advocacy, fundraising, conferences, managing partnerships and resource allocation must be done in the office.
Anecdote (“There are so many”)
#1— A man: “I never wanted to be a teacher, I never saw it as the thing for anyone who wanted to be ahead in life.” but after training: “I am able to make an impact because I am a teacher. Best teacher are national leaders.” Mindsets go beyond the data.
#2— Building bridges across borders. A woman returned to Haiti after 20 years because of Anseye Pour Ayiti. When she heard about them, she packed her bags and showed up asking “What can I do to help?” She saw something new about Anseye Pour Ayiti’s approach, its narrative, about what’s possible.
Anseye’s co-founder: Chananjah Lamy
Teach For All connected them upon seeing similar interests.
#1 Check your privilege. Impact humanitarian work requires it, it’s okay to acknowledge and talk about it. “I’ve been to incredible institutions for education, work and support, Echoing Green is a privilege. Approach every conversation with humility.“
#2 Read and speak with those you want to work with. Get unabridged versions. “Sometimes the outcast is the real leader.“
#3 There’s a lot of connectors. People want support, you don’t have to do it all yourself. “My co-founder led me to Echoing Green.” LinkedIn is your friend, you don’t have to start everything from scratch.
Please share, participate and leave feedback below!
If you have any feedback you’d like to share for me or Nedgine, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below! I read all of them and will definitely take part in the conversation.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask me directly, head on over to the Ask Stephen section. Don’t be shy! Every question is important and I answer every single one.
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