What began as a chance meeting in a Haitian dance class became a decades long mission to improve the lives of the people of Haiti.
Sharon Bean and Elizabeth Chin have been working in Haiti for decades. Their collaboration started as a shared common ideology to improve international assistance trajectories that respected the plentiful culture and beauty of Haiti.
The two women met in a dance class while graduate students in New Haven, Connecticut. During the politically tumultuous period from 1994-2004, their friendship and professional partnership continued. Sharon worked in Haiti while Elizabeth studied and taught Haitian dance and cultural anthropology.
Engage in Change is a non-governmental organization changing the way that traditional development programs operate. We know how to leverage local systems and resources. Our experience helps us provide innovative solutions that are right for the Haitian people. This strengthens local ownership and sustainability.
We’re professional capacity building specialists. We create sustainable organizations capable of leading and developing communities and individuals.
Starting out, our focus is on education – working directly with schools. To accelerate learning, we collaborate with the Ministry of Education and educators. We bring the whole system into the room to highlight commonalities and build a unified vision for improving education. It is critical that schools in Haiti function, so learning can be accelerated and new ways of teaching can be introduced. This will provide a new level of learning for Haitian students.
Since 1994, we have been working in Haiti to build relationships between Haitian communities and their local government officials. As a result, we have deep connections to the community and leaders. We know many actors – both government and civil society – positioned to help those who are most in need. We are attentive to culture and context, targeting assistance where there is potential for greatest impact without creating dependency.
We are international development practitioners with more than 25 years of experience in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. We’re published and acclaimed academics in the field of anthropology and policy. We are also located in western MA and continue to grow a local identity. Now we are looking to engage our “local” community to help us continue our work in Haiti.
We look at development from different disciplines, bridging academic rigor with on-the-ground implementation realities. Our commitment to improving the way development operates and increasing positive impact is what drives our collaboration. This affects our development strategy, programming and implementation.