A message from the President of the University of Fondwa – UNIF
We at UNIF hope that you, your family, and all your network of friends are staying safe during this unprecedented crisis.
The Haitian government recently took many sudden and forceful measures to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The order included ordering all schools to close, so UNIF had to send students home on March 20, 2020.
The crisis comes at a very difficult time for UNIF due to a number of factors. Of course, the pandemic impacts everyone, almost everywhere in the world. Here at UNIF … First, we already lost three months on the academic year due to the political chaos in September – December 2019. Second, this recent shut-down occured just before exams for the first semester, so we do not yet have final grades. Finally, there are also many ongoing projects that this pandemic will impact, such as the upcoming May 29, 2020 Research Meeting that was planned to take place at UNIF.
Our first priority is saving the academic year 2019-2020. This includes finding ways to take exams to end the first semester and then adjusting the second semester so that we can complete it before reopening school for 2020-2021 in October. We considered finding ways to send exams for second semester with students home as homework, but ultimately this proved impossible due to the lack of electronic/internet resources of most of our professors and students. We will therefore need to follow the situation very closely, and then take exams for first semester as soon as we can reopen for the second one once the crisis has slowed down. This may entail measures such as eliminating vacation periods or periods that were meant for student internships depending on how many months are lost due to the crisis. However, we feel confident that we will be able to finish the academic year with all coursework completed after the necessary adjustments.
Other steps UNIF is taking include:
- Students, including scholarship students in dorms, were asked to return home to avoid propagating the disease;
- Students in their final year and “finishing students” who have not yet completed their graduation capstone will profit from this time off classes to work hard on progressing on their research projects, in close contact with their tutors;
- The full-time staff will continue to work rigorously, either electronically from home or while in the office while respecting rules of social distancing. We have a number of projects that need to be finished, such as finishing the first draft of the UNIF diagnostic and various research projects, and will be taking advantage of the lack of coursework to invest time in these projects;
- Prior to students returning home, Dr. Elizabeth Brea of the Peasant Association of Fondwa (APF) and also a Board member of UNIF, conducted public health training for UNIF students. UNIF and APF are blessed to have Dr. E serving this community.
I hope you are all staying safe. UNIF will remain available for all questions and to continue to work with everyone! Stay well, and healthy!
Ludsonde Lafontant, Rector, University of Fondwa (UNIF)
How you can help
We certainly recognize there is much need all over the world right now. But, if you want to assist the students and faculty of UNIF, you can still SPONSOR A STUDENT from rural Haiti to attend UNIF. You can DONATE to the operation of UNIF. You can VOLUNTEER at UNIF as a visiting professor. The opportunities are limitless to make an enduring difference in rural Haiti, and in the future of Haiti. uFondwa USA, a U.S. based 501(c)3, and UNIF partner, can provide you with the tax deduction and due diligence you deserve for your generous support.