OCAPH was established in 2009 when it became clear that Haiti’s democracy was in an extremely fragile state. A small group of concerned citizens came together to create a non-profit organization that would promote greater government transparency and help to build a more informed citizenry with the power to hold their government accountable as public servants.
Our very first project was to organize a series of town hall meetings between civil society groups and government officials to debate issues including judicial reform, corruption, human rights, women’s status, agricultural reform, disaster management and budget tracking.
Then, after the devastating 2010 earthquake, we took on the role of citizen watchdog and closely monitored international aid, reporting cases of misuse and waste. In 2011, we produced the nation’s first citizen guide to the budget, and over the next few years we used the guide to carry out training for grassroots organizations.
Early in 2015, we put together a conference on the state of the reconstruction process five years after the earthquake. We also began to focus on upcoming elections, calling on the government to expedite issuing registration cards so that citizens could vote. On May 18, we carried out the first-ever national citizen poll by cellphone; more than 15,000 citizens seized the opportunity to tell electoral candidates to focus on jobs, health, hunger, and education as top priorities should they be elected. And in response to the growing crisis of repatriation from the Dominican Republic, we issued a set of recommendations to the government for more effectively addressing the crisis.
During 2016, our priorities are creating direct dialogue between citizens and Parliament, and working with citizens to call for improvements in conditions along the Haitian border with the Dominican Republic.