YourStory International was founded by a group of Haitians and Americans in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Our founders experienced the earthquake from vastly different positions—as aid workers, as responding physicians, and as refugees from the earthquake's destruction. They were united by their shared frustration with the nonprofits that came to Haiti with preconceived notions about what Haitians needed while disregarding the views of the people they were there to serve. In response they founded YourStory International with these principles:
I. Each community defines its own development needs
Much of the development work in Haiti has been designed and implemented with only token involvement by local people. To us, programs that are not based on the desires of their intended beneficiaries are at best ineffective, and at worst oppressive. All of our programs are based on the expressed needs of the communities we serve.
II. Outsiders should empower local leaders
Haiti is filled with bright, ambitious leaders. Unfortunately, foreign nonprofits with good intentions often supplant local leadership by going around them to provide services to their communities. YourStory International not only seeks to employ local leaders, but we give them an active role in designing our programs. Our board of directors includes two members of the Léogâne community, and Haitians manage the delivery of all our services. Not only does this make our programs more effective, it invests in a new generation of leaders who will work toward the community's long-term prosperity.
III. Responsible development is a long-term investment
Our programs become a permanent presence in the communities we serve. YourStory International has made strategic investments in public health, education, business, and cultural areas identified by community members to attack all of the major factors trapping families in the cycle of poverty.
IV. Effective development is data-driven
YourStory is dedicated to pursuing research that improves the services we deliver. Not only do we base our programs on careful ethnographic research, we track our outcomes to ensure our programs are as effective and efficient as possible.