Community Violence Reduction: youth from Martissant and La Saline trained to repair smartphones
From March 13th to April 24th 2019, 30 young people have been commuting 3 times a week from the underprivileged neighborhoods of Martissant and La Saline, in Port-au-Prince (Haiti), to the premises of the “made in Haiti” tablets company Sûrtab, in the SONAPI industrial zone. Thanks to the support of the NGO Viva Rio Haiti and the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), through its Community Violence Reduction (CVR) programme, they could meet the employees from this Haitian firm. For 6 weeks, Sûrtab specialists could pass on to them their skills and expertise in electronic assembling and repairing. A human exchange and a professional opportunity for these young beneficiaries who seek to enter the Haitian job market. These kind of initiatives will continue to be supported by the United Nations Integrated Offices (BINUH), that will work in an advisory capacity with the Haitian authorities and the United Nations Country Team in Haiti.
An estimated 4 million people use smartphones and other electronic devices in Haiti. A market that is still growing with new or second-hand equipments that require servicing and repairing. This context represents an opportunity for electronic professionals, as noted by the Viva Rio Haiti NGO, in charge of implementing the CVR project “Kominote san vyolans” (“Community without violence”). Their initiative consists in integrating economically people living in risk areas in the neighborhoods of Martissant and La Saline, particularly through professional training that can help them generate revenues and choose their own future.
Aged between 16 and 40 years old, 30 people are attending the Sûrtab Académie today. Most of them did not have the option of going to university. Many of them still express doubts as to whether they are able to acquire new skills. Even though many of them already know the basics about electronics, all of them embraced the opportunity of joining these vocational training seminars.
Sharing best practices and passing on skills
Sûrtab was created in 2013. In 2018, the company chose to increase the value of the 30 full-time staff’s skills in electronics. The “Sûrtab Académie” was born, offering training modules developed for external professionals who want to know more about assembling and repairing. In order to pass on their knowledge to the young beneficiaries of Viva Rio Haiti, Sûrtab personnel take shifts to share their best advice and know-hows to repair smartphones.
Today is Thélus Wilson, production manager, who takes care of the group. He teaches them how to use correctly a multimeter, a measuring instrument used to check the proper functioning of the electrical circuit on a smartphone. His personal objective: that the majority of the beneficiaries find a job immediately after his training.
In order to follow the teachings, each of them has his own toolkit: cases, notebooks, tools and other training materials (like the multimeter). “A complete set that they can all keep once the training is over,” underlines Thélus Wilson. “It’s a way for them to be ready to start quickly their own business.”
Only a few weeks ago, I had never repaired a phone
Some other beneficiaries choose to candidate to work on electronic shops. A possible lead for Lanès Célestin, 31, who still hesitates to start his own business: “Setting up a business can be complicated. For that, you need a lot of money from the very start. You also need to find premises, to formalize the business…” Yet, the young man really believes in his new possibilities: “Only a few weeks ago, I had never repaired a telephone. I had some notions, of course, but I never had a full training on how the electrical circuit works.”
Lanès Célestin admits he feels optimistic regarding his prospects. “Sûrtab is a company that is very famous in Haiti”, a source of knowledge and skills, but also a source of inspiration for the Haitian youth.
Over 90,000 beneficiaries since October 2017
Between October 2017 and September 2019, over 90,800 beneficiaries, including 44,750 women, benefited from Community Violence Reduction (CVR) projects implemented by 90 partners (82 local, 4 international and 4 UN agencies) with the support of United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH). In order to consolidate positive dynamics to reduce violence in underprivileged neighborhoods, these projects provide the participants with tools to generate revenues, to train themselves and to manage their business. Since October 15th 2019 these kind of initiatives continue to be supported by the United Nations Integrated Offices (BINUH), that works in an advisory capacity with the Haitian authorities and the United Nations Country Team in Haiti.