OCAPH was established in 2009 when it became clear that Haiti’s democracy was in an extremely fragile state and citizens were making their voices heard through what they viewed as the only means available to them in their powerless state — violent protestations. A small group of concerned citizens came together to create a non-profit organization that would help to empower citizens to monitor their government’s activities, become better informed, and move toward increased transparency, accountability, and responsiveness in a constructive manner and from a position of strength.
As a small but well-organized civil society organization, OCAPH quickly gained wide recognition for organizing a series of town hall meeting between civil society organizations and government officials. After the devastating 2010 earthquake, it took on the role of “citizen watchdog,” monitoring international aid to look for misuse and waste of funding. In 2011, the organization produced the nation’s first citizen guide on the budget and began its tradition of conducting empowerment training for numerous other civil society groups and partnering with them for mutual benefit. In January 2015 it organized conferences to discuss the reconstruction process five years after the earthquake. Also in early 2015, OCAPH launched its nationwide citizen mobilization campaign in advance of upcoming elections. During the year that followed, it organized radio debates between candidates and citizens, trained its youth component to monitor Parliamentary elections using crowdsourcing, and reported on worsening conditions in refugee camps at the Haiti-Dominican Republic border.