Lessons learnt by Eptisa in the Reconstruction Programmes and the Haiti challenge

Through PROMAPER, PRRACAGUA and PREDERES programmes Eptisa has tried to accumulate the experience of the main learnings, and now hopes to apply this to Haiti

March 01, 2011

Eptisa has always taken on board different lessons learnt from the rebuilding programmes they have been involved in. For instance, notable programmes include PROMAPER, in Sandino City (Nicaragua), which focussed on improving water, sanitation and living infrastructures as well as the municipal management for a population of 140,000 people, and PRACCAGUA, which improved water systems in 1,160 rural communities in 6 departments of Honduras. Both programmes belong to the the rebuilding of Central America resulting from the disasters caused by Hurricane Mitch. Another programme worth mentioning is PREDERES, which invested 70 million euros to improve the structural and non-structural flood prevention systems in Vargas, Venezuela following the huge floods suffered.

Now it hopes to apply this previous experience to Haiti, a country that suffered a terrible earthquake last year. The dramatic reality the country faces requires work from everyone involved, including the company itself, to offer solutions adapted to the particular context. The socio-economic conditions of the people, the scant business network and extreme institutional frailty demands that each intervention is reviewed and refocussed in order to generate opportunities for the population and strengthen the capacities of the local agents, both private and public. Therefore, the practical set up of "pro-development" approaches, which, besides having positive affects on the external agents implementing them, are clearly highly suited to the Haiti situation.

But what does deploying a "pro-development" approach involve?

"Pro-development" approaches encompass methods, or ways, of carrying out business activity that have a highly favourable impact on local development (namely the economic, social and environmental benefits to the local environment).

A "pro-development" approach requires considered action by the company in this area, and involves revising traditional action methods to look for those with a greater impact on local development. "Pro-development" approaches are appropriate strategies for the PVD (Actions in Developing Countries) environment since they generate positive externalities for local agents as well as having a positive impact on the perception of business activity, reducing risks, boosting stability and meeting the companies' goals; thus they are of significant interest to companies.

Certain determining aspects of the "pro-development" approach can be applied to the Haiti situation:

  • In line with the development of the Haiti government's priorities: to improve building standards, environmental recovery, to generate employment, and collaborate in diaspora to attract and keep talent in Haiti.
  • In terms of infrastructure projects, the action approaches must promote employment and strengthen local business and social networks.
  • Whenever possible, it must always attempt to involve local partners, whether it be companies or social organisations.
  • Prescribe to standards that advance productive quality, in particular anti-seismic measures.
  • Establish a balance between local and foreign staff, ensuring the team's competence and local knowledge.
  • Include basic technological solutions in the design, with low cost management and maintenance.
  • Deploy a participatory approach with sufficient guidance from the civil society (collaboration with an NGO in this matter would be interesting and/or necessary).
  • Identifying those groups in the population visibly affected by the approach of the interventions is also significant, and involves incorporating alternative integration initiatives or strategies.
  • If the time variable allows it, prioritising ways of carrying out activities involving a more intensive use of local labour, which includes any training schemes that are deemed necessary.
  • Ensure that no negative impact on the environment occurs (eliminating waste, reducing emissions, conserving biodiversity).
  • Include actions to strengthen the public sector, particularly in those set areas or public functions that represent the greatest weakness and can have an effect on the sustainability of infrastructures.
  • Define an assignment plan to the corresponding public entity (training in management and maintenance) and progressive untying according to the capacities of the public entity in question.

Implementing the aspects mentioned above will continue to create a greater number of opportunities for the local environment and lay the foundations for the recovery of a country that has been hit hard by the catastrophe.

In the attached documents outline two corresponding presentations of the PROMAPER and PRACCAGUA programmes, which include a summary of key lessons learnt.

 Lessons learnt by Eptisa in the Reconstruction Programmes and the Haiti challenge

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