Georges Marcellus, Haiti

Providing access to education to children in one of the poorest areas of Haiti. Georges Marcellus has 180 students of whom 42% are girls. 95% of students pass to the next grade.

About the project

Georges Marcellus School is a K-6 institution based in a poor farming community about five hours from the capital city of Port-au-Prince.  Some 120 students attend the school and receive a high-quality education that includes moral and character development classes, teamwork, communication skills, and community service.  Most of the parents in that community did not have the opportunity to attend school themselves.

How we help

Georges Marcellus students are some of the poorest in Haiti and often have to face great challenges. The school prepares and encourages them to strive to better themselves and serve their community.

In 2019, following a two-year organization and academic self-assessment, and in light of the very difficult circumstances in Haiti, the school Board decided they need a fresh look at their approach and scope. In consultation with several organizations, and with assistance from the Bahá’í International Development Organization, they formed an international board to oversee the progress of the Georges Marcellus and Anis Zunuzi schools and map out their next stage of development. This is an interim step intended to raise capacity at the local level such that responsibilities can be transitioned to an all Haitian Board in the near future.

During this important effort, the Georges Marcellus and Anis Zunuzi schools have paused financial support from external sources.  We applaud the school Board’s commitment to institutional development and to providing quality education to the children of Haiti. At their request, Mona has put all financial support to these schools on hold as of January 1, 2020. We will consider future funding proposals if and when the school Board deems this is needed and timely.

With a steel determination, the teachers and administrators of this school educate Haiti’s most marginalized children.  When promised funding from the government did not come for many months, the teachers agreed to reduce their individual salaries by 20% so that everyone could be paid.  Since January 2018, the salaries of all teachers have been raised to not only meet the minimum wage standards, but also attract and retain talented teachers to ensure quality of teaching and learning.

To assist families with multiple children enrolled in the Georges Marcellus School, and to reduce the burden of tuition payments on the families least able to afford them, the school board has established a scholarship program with the aim of complementing, rather than replacing the payments made from parents.

In working with the School’s Administrative Committee, the Board has established the eligibility criteria and a transparent mechanism for enrolling children in the program.

The Director and the School Board are very enthusiastic about the impact of the evaluations completed in 2017 as it enables us to identify the strengths of educational approaches and the areas in need of attention.  The funds provided will allow this systematic assessment and complete evaluation to be repeated at the end of 2018.

In addition, the grant will also allow classroom observations/ individual dialogues with teachers to occur every three months for planning and ongoing accompaniment. In the middle of every three-month cycle, the teachers are to be invited to participate in quality learning circles.  Assessment of the reading, writing and oral comprehension skills of 2ndGrade students in both French and Creole would occur in June and October.

In April a two-day teacher training was conducted. During the teacher training, materials were provided and discussed how to develop institutional capacity. The members of the School Board worked with three kindergarten teachers, five primary school teachers, and six secondary school teachers.

Over the past 5 months, there has been a 23% increase in the classroom average score in Oral French skills and a 65% increase in the classroom average score in Written French skills.

Many of the children attending Georges Marcellus come from very impoverished backgrounds.  The Board will continue to seek local sources of food, but due to the criticality of the current situation, had decided to fully operationalize the canteen beginning of April.

The Board spent the time needed to reinforce the administrative skills (such as record keeping, inventory control, good food storage practices, reasonable authorizations and oversight) needed to operate an efficient and transparent food program as well as to educate and motivate the parents and community.

The grant also covered the purchase by the School of cooking pots and other materials needed to make the new kitchen operational.

In Haiti, many people do not have access to proper sanitation facilities, and only 28% of the population have access to adequate toilets.  The stakes are particularly high in a country where waterborne diseases caused by poor hygiene and sanitation practices are responsible for 20% of deaths of children under 5 years old. To address this problem, and with Mona’s help, Georges Marcellus is building a latrine with a septic tank at the school. This will be completed at the end of September.

In addition, steps are being taken to replace the current, aging water well at the school site with a new one. The new well will ensure access to clean water for both the students and surrounding commuity.

At their request, donations to Georges Marcellus have currently been paused.

Thank you for your ongoing willingness to support Mona Foundation and our partner organizations!


2019 Achievements

  • Served 120 students, of whom 42% are girls.
  • 10 students received scholarships.
  • Provided salaries for 10 teachers, a preschool Aide, and the Pedagogical Advisor.
  • Provided 4-week long teacher training, covering all costs.
  • Repaired and painted one of the school buildings
  • Purchased 80 student desks and 7 tables. Repaired existing preschool desks and chairs.
  • School had to be shut down from September to December due to civil unrest.
  • Teachers were paid half their salaries during this time.

2020 Project Goals

At their request, donations to Georges Marcellus have currently been paused.