The Groupman of Gros Morne: A Small Group Approach to Rural Development among Haitian Peasants

This report presents certain preliminary observations on the functioning of the Gros Morne Project. It is based on information during a brief field visit made during December of 1982. Both authors, at different times, had been approached by Project Staff with a view to possibly carrying out a formal evaluation of the project. This visit, however, was made as a preliminary contact, not as part of the formal evaluation. Because of the brevity of the visit, the information presented in these pages should be construed not as definitive findings, but as “carefully analyzed impressions.” And we hope in these pages to present not an evaluation, but a listing of the many aspects of the program that a full evaluation should carefully examine.

In the first part, we will present a description of the project, staff and infrastructure. Following that, we will give a brief
history of the project. This will be followed by a description and analysis of what is the central feature of the project: the organization of small farmer groups who undertake joint economic activities.

We shall talk about the functioning of these groups and about the subsidiary effects which their participation in the groupman movement appears to be having on their social and personal lives, in addition to the increases in domestic revenue from groupman economic activities •

We will then look at the three other components of the Project: the Technical Section, the Health Section, and the Education Section. Finally, we will make some concluding recommendations.

We repeat the tentative nature of our findings. We are grateful to the entire Gros Morne Project Staff for their hospitality and courtesy during our visit0 and for their patience in answering an unending series of questions a We hope that our description does justice to this unique project and assists in the design of an evaluation that will identify those aspects of the project which have succeeded and should be preserved as-is, and those aspects of the project which should receive a mid-course kout volan.

The highlight of our visit was the meeting with members of Savan Long Nimero En. They, more than anyone, convinced us that
we were in the presence of a very special and very promising project. We present this summary of our field notes as a professional courtesy to a project that is undertaking something of great potential importance.