Education, including higher education, is crucial to human development, yet a lack of access to quality education remains a key obstacle to Haiti’s social and economic development. Rural higher education, prior to the creation of UNIF, was non-existent.
- In 2016, the World Bank reported that almost half the population of Haiti’s population lives in rural areas, yet the vast majority of universities are located in proximity to Port au Prince, or other major cities.
- Government allocation of financial resources to rural universities and rural communities in general is minimal, and has always been so.
- Only 1% of university-age men and women are enrolled in institutions of higher education.1
- Of those that graduate (40% of those who enroll), only half find employment and only 16% remain in Haiti 2
- Many young people who do manage to graduate from an institution of higher education, leave the country. This is a huge loss to Haiti and its development. UNIF fights this trend by teaching a pedagogy that development of the rural communities of Haiti holds an important key to Haiti’s future.
UNIF’s unique focus on rural development, its collaboration with other rural communities, and its commitment to mentoring students as they prepare to return to their own rural communities constitute a meaningful response to the shortfalls of higher education in Haiti.
1 The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). Education in Haiti:
An Overview of Trends, Issues and Plans. September 2011.
2 Haitian Education and Leadership Program (http://www.uhelp.net 1/17/14)