Wallen Calistin leads a network of 20 to 30-year-old people who are working to bring about a culture of peace in Haiti, starting with their own neighborhood.
In his Port-au-Prince, Haiti neighborhood, 22-year-old Wallen Calistin is known as a peacemaker.
Patient, tolerant, and shy, as a young boy he struggled with how to communicate with his friends and neighbors in one of the most vulnerable parts of one of the world’s most dangerous countries, where a long history of structural inequalities and political upheaval has spawned a culture of violence. He could see a path to a more peaceful way of life, but bringing others along on that journey proved to be his biggest challenge.
In Haiti and Guatemala, implementing local peace networks is one way that organizations are working to reduce urban insecurity. AFSC convened practitioners to discuss their experiences with this approach and to formulate recommendations that can be applied in other communities. Read their report.
Las Plataformas Locales de Paz (PLP) son grupos que trabajan hacia la transformación de conflictos comunitarios, sobre todo en zonas con altos niveles de violencia y exclusión social. Su objetivo fundamental es transformar las fuentes de tensión y conflicto en comunidades y fortalecer las capacidades locales para la paz.
Local peace networks (LPNs) are groups that work toward resolving community disputes, particularly in areas experiencing high levels of violence and social exclusion. Their underlying objective is to transform the conflict’s roots and build local capacities for peace. Each network is typically made up of six to 12 participants who become facilitators in their respective communities.
Les plateformes locales pour la paix sont des groupes qui travaillent pour la transformation de conflits communautaires, en particulier dans des zones où les niveaux de violence et d’exclusion sociale sont élevés. Leur objectif fondamental est de transformer les sources de tension et de conflit dans les communautés et de renforcer les capacities locales pour la paix. Chaque micro-plateforme est généralement composée de 6 à 12 participants qui deviennent des facilitateurs dans leurs communautés respectives pour interagir ensuite sur une plateforme élargie.
France Remy lost her home in the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti. Living in a camp in its wake, she got involved with a peace network through AFSC and has been leading efforts to bring together schools, communities, and government officials.
France Remy’s life took a drastic turn three years ago.
When Haiti shook on Jan. 12, 2010, she was volunteering as a nurse in Leogane, the earthquake’s epicenter. Her house totally collapsed, leaving her homeless like over one million other Haitians.
In the camp she has called home since then, France quickly got involved with a network of people working to respond to the changing needs of their fellow displaced people.
Students playing around as they wait for the organized sports activities to begin
Many of the students at San Charles Borromee School in Haiti live in camps that house 70,000 people still displaced by the 2010 earthquake. AFSC’s partnership with the school aims to strengthen spaces of peace for children and the community. The school is now transitioning from a strictly academic approach to one that stresses peaceful co-existence and conflict mediation, using sports to teach lessons of fair play. Read more on The Huffington Post.
On November 26, 2011, after six months of hard work in an accelerated technical training program, youth supported by AFSC in Martissant, a Port-au-Prince community, celebrated their achievement in a graduation ceremony held in Petionville. One hundred youth passed the state exam and received certifications in plumbing, masonry, or refrigeration.
Graduates hanging out after the ceremony.
After six months of hard work in an accelerated technical training program, youth supported by AFSC in Martissant, a Port-au-Prince community, celebrated their achievement in a graduation ceremony held in Petionville. One hundred youth passed the state exam and received certifications in plumbing, masonry, or refrigeration.
As the post-earthquake situation in Haiti continues to evolve, AFSC is adapting to changing needs. After over a year working in the camps with displaced people, we are developing a teacher training program in partnership with the St. Charles Borromee school.
We asked Carmen Ortiz, AFSC’s Haiti Program Director, to answer a few questions about this new phase in her work:
AFSC provides equipment and training for security committees to help keep the peace in camps like in Leogane. View the slideshow.
It’s a small, very functional tool found in most American homes: a flashlight. When the electricity goes out, its beam is helpful, even comforting. And in communities in Haiti, flashlights can mean the difference between danger and safety.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has office around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.