Haiti Onward: Building Sustainable Pathways

Haiti Onward    Yobo Member
April 5th, 2011

Credit: WikiMedia

Haiti Onward and its Sustainability HUB project led by co-directors Heather Burns and Doug Hammond – and fifteen collaborating partners doing amazing work on the ground—has been named a 2011 Semi-Finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, the prestigious annual design science competition named “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award” by Metropolis Magazine. The Challenge awards $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a whole systems-based solution that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

Haiti Onward: Building Sustainable Pathways functions as a collaborative and holistic design platform developed to meet the critical social, economic and environmental challenges facing the people of Haiti. It was developed to deliver efficient collaborative solutions that leverage the collective wisdom and orchestrate the key resources of partner organizations, businesses, investors and community leaders committed to the sustainable reconstruction of the country.

“Haiti Onward is building a collaboration model that draws from all we know about best practices in the NGO sector, like capacity building from the bottom up. They’ve created a non-overlapping system where each organization is playing a supportive role towards the larger vision of bringing ecological and economic stability to the Haitian community. It is truly a systemic solution and a model that should be replicated many times over across the world,” said JenJoy Roybal, Program Manager, Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI).

“This recognition from BFI is both inspiring and humbling. Inspiring in that it affirms the value of our shared vision that a collaborative and inclusive design model holds great promise in meeting the just and sustainable reconstruction needs facing the people of Haiti. Humbling because we understand both the scope and urgency of the critical tasks at hand,” said Doug Hammond, co-director of the project.

“The unique design and orchestration role that Haiti Onward provides can often present challenges for traditional funding support. BFI understands the vital role that design plays in creating long-term and whole-system solutions. The prize would leverage multiples of additional support for our project partners,” said co-director Heather Burns.

After an initial rigorous vetting process by BFI’s multi-disciplinary review team, Haiti Onward was chosen from a pool of hundreds of entries from over 35 countries to be one of the Semi-Finalists this year. It will now be featured as a top tier project in BFI’s Idea Index and featured on for the remainder of the program cycle.

Semi-finalists will be reviewed and discussed by the 11 distinguished jurors, which includes Valerie Casey, founder of Design Accord; David Orr, writer and professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College; Andrew Zolli, producer of PopTech and Danielle Nierenberg, Project Director of State of World 2011; and Sim Vanderyn, visionary ecological design pioneer.

Finalists will be announced in May and the winner, runner up, and honorable mention will be announced at the conferring ceremony in New York in early June.

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is the premier international competition recognizing initiatives which take a comprehensive, anticipatory, design approach to radically advance human well being and the health of our planet’s ecosystems. The 2011 Semi-finalists are providing workable solutions to some of the world’s most significant challenges including water scarcity, food supply, health, energy consumption and shelter. The Challenge is a program of The Buckminster Fuller Institute which aims to deeply influence the ascendance of a new generation of design-science pioneers who are leading the creation of an abundant and restorative world economy that benefits all humanity.

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