#33: One woman's quest to educate the children of Haiti--with Nedgine Paul, Forbes 30 Under 30

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Social entrepreneur Nedgine Paul immigrated from Haiti to the US at a young age. After graduating from Yale, she received her masters of education at Harvard University. She gained valuable experience working for the prominent charter school network known as Achievement First and then working for Dr. Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health in Haiti. Shortly after, Nedgine Paul started the nonprofit organization, Anseye Pou Ayiti (Teach for Haiti). The NGO recruits and trains local Haitians and sends them out to teach in some of the toughest and most rural schools in Haiti. In a country where she must battle constant blackouts, natural disasters, and the fact that only 30% of children pass primary school, she is fighting against all the odds in her quest to create a new narrative for her home country. Nedgine Paul is an Echoing Green Fellow and was recently named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Show Notes

“Growing up, I was the child who loved school. I was obsessed.”

Coming from Haiti, snow days were confusing for Nedgine Paul

Nedgine’s father was a school teacher before he became a priest

“It’s not enough to just take in knowledge. It’s about using it to do good.”

Nedgine worked at Achievement First Public Charter School Network for three years

“Zip code is not destiny.”

Social justice was important to Achievement First

Continuous improvement was important for the staff at Achievement First, a trait that Nedgine has taken to Haiti

People really asked for the HOW and the WHY at Achievement First

“Who are you as a leader and how do you show up?”

Nedgine Paul was active in the Haitian American community during her youth

“I want to create and contribute to a new narrative of our mighty nation.”

Her father is one of Nedgine’s north stars

The power of “one person’s quest” as a story

The organizational culture at Partners in Health is: doing whatever it takes, being local rooted and locally informed

PIH has maintained credibility and legitimacy for decades through authenticity

AT PIH it’s not about working for or with a community. It’s about being “of” the community. Nedgine hopes to bring that culture to Anseye Pou Ayiti

Staff members at Anseye Pou Ayiti spent years getting to know their communities in the beginning

PIH maintained their roots and knew how to improve from criticism

“Scale in global education has become about numbers and not about depth.”

“It’s not about scale in numbers but in depth.”

It took Nedgine and her team four years of planning before launching, talking to community members

Their approach was to be “slow and steady”

“As the Millennial generation, we want to rush to the next best thing, the next bright thing, the next thing that will go viral.”

It’s time to pause and listen, especially to our elders

“Why do we think that everything in Haiti’s educational system is broken?”

They asked for a assets instead of deficits in their communities

Before launching, Nedgine worked on Anseye Pou Ayiti part-time, during nights and weekends

Echoing Green’s fellowship and funding allowed Nedgine to pursue Anseye Pou Ayiti full time.

Nedgine Paul questioned herself a lot in the beginning

Nedgine Paul had a “brain-trust” of allies

“We have to be solvers AND learners at the same time.”

All the operational stuff was really difficult for Nedgine, coming in as an educator and not as a manager

Nedgine was told at Echoing Green that “Failure is okay in social entrepreneurship”

Many social entrepreneurs struggle with fundraising during year one

Anseye Pou Ayiti is part of the Teach for All network

Teach for All operates in 40 different countries now

Anseye Pou Ayiti is recruiting and training LOCAL teachers

Anseye Pou Ayiti went on a national recruitment campaign

Current teachers could apply at first, and now they make up a majority of the corps members

“The best is yet to come.”

Anseye Pou Ayiti has a mixed cohort approach

Corps members get leadership training and additional stipend (paid by Anseye Pou Ayiti) beyond their regular salaries (paid by the local schools)

Only 30% of children in Haiti are passing primary school

Her team was “lean and mean” in the beginning

Staying up late was critical

They did not want to be just “marginally different” than everything else

Anseye Pou Ayiti leverages partners that can provide specific teacher training workshops

Their training sessions are held in rural Haiti where logistics are “hairy” but it allows them to live their values

Past corps members come back to help with training

Blackouts are challenging

Not having a Staples in the area makes it hard to just go out and buy supplies when needed

Co-founder Ivanley Noisette and Nedgine are able to listen to and criticize each other

Nedgine’s students keep her ego in check

“The elders must be brought back into the conversation.”

Getting fellowships is a great fundraising strategy

In terms of fundraising, ask yourselves who would care about your cause

For Nedgine, giving gratitude is important

She asks herself, what went well today?

Funding was not going as well as Nedgine wanted it to recently, so she had to reach out for help

That moment of crises reminded her to be more humble, and to more willing to reach out for help

Nedgine gives thank to her professor, Dr. Lillian Guerra, who encouraged her to keep going

Nedgine is worried about the negative narrative of Haiti

Nedgine loves hearing about the progress inside the classrooms of her fellows

Nedgine recommends books: Visions of Vocation and also anything written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

52 episodes available. A new episode about every 9 days averaging 55 mins duration .