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UNFPA-Haiti

The Project

Working with Technical Director Veronica Torres, Tom HT & VTC took the classic ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Game Books to design an interactive financial literacy and entrepreneurial curricula for use in girls clubs and safe spaces in the Carrefour slum in Port au Prince.

The Environment

Carrefour is one of the most impoverished and populous districts of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Threatened by flash floods and landslides, the girls live in homes which cling to the steep slopes above the ravine in La Riviere Froide slum. 

Living on less than one US dollar per day, the lack of potable water has led to cholera outbreaks. Few can afford to attend school and orphans risk exploitation as ‘restaveks’, domestic slaves, often in the houses of extended family members. With few prospects young people are at high risk from prostitution and crime.

The Design Challenge

Girls and women face significant challenges in seeking revenue. The majority work as street vendors selling fish or fruit which makes them vulnerable to police and gangs who take their produce and extort bribes when they cannot afford vendor permits.

Giving girls the financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills to identify and exploit new market opportunities presents an opportunity in the informal educational sector.

Existing safe spaces programmes are a life line for vulnerable girls in La Riviere Froide. Lack of core literacy and numeracy skills make it difficult to teach abstract concepts around financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

The Solution

Using participatory research and co-creative sessions we mapped the lived experience of the girls and then explored the folk and local stories that are part of Haitian culture. With an estimated 300,000 ‘restaveks’ in Haiti we adapted the Cinderella story of a girl being exploited by her Aunt when her father has an accident.

Using the archetypal Haitian trickster character of the ‘Loup Garou,’ (a talking cat) as a financial advisor we scripted an 8 week program combining play and games with more structured lessons.

Using participatory research and co-creative sessions we mapped the lived experience of the girls and then explored the folk and local stories that are part of Haitian culture. With an estimated 300,000 ‘restaveks’ in Haiti we adapted the Cinderella story of a girl being exploited by her Aunt when her father has an accident.

Using the archetypal Haitian trickster character of the ‘Loup Garou,’ (a talking cat) as a financial advisor we scripted an 8 week program combining play and games with more structured lessons.

These core lessons were then applied to a series of lifelike challenging scenarios in the ‘Chapter’ of the week. A fast paced interactive narrative forced the girls to debate the best options, apply their financial skills and decision making to guide the heroine to start up a new business in the slum.