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ELAW Staff Scientist Heidi Weiskel recently traveled to Haiti to help partners at L’Association Haitienne de Droit de l’Environnement (AHDEN) work with communities in and around Caracol, one of the towns near a new marine protected area (MPA), Les Trois Baies.

MPAs have the potential to benefit local communities and help safeguard Haiti’s vital natural treasures for generations to come, if managed properly.

Community members at the workshop

Community members at the workshop

ELAW partners at AHDEN brought together 35 community members − mostly fishermen, salt producers, and farmers − for a two-day workshop. Jean André Victor, President of AHDEN, opened the meeting and set the stage for increasing community involvement in the MPA process.

Heidi talked about MPAs and how the community can be involved in plans for the region and creating the Trois Baies MPA management plan.

Some of the participants were skeptical about becoming involved, and Jean André responded eloquently about the importance of civil society engagement, the strength of community, and the fundamental right to participate. By the end of Jean André’s presentation, community members had clearly opened up to the idea of becoming involved in the MPA process.

Jean André helped the community members organize and create a strategy for engaging with groups with a stake in the MPA. Going forward, ELAW will provide scientific and legal tools as needed to help the community become more involved in the MPA process.

Many thanks to the Waitt Foundation and the Clinton Foundation for making ELAW’s work to protect critical marine ecosystems in Haiti possible!

Michele Kuhnle
Donor Liaison

ELAW is teaming up with longtime partner L’Association Haitienne de Droit de l’Environnement (AHDEN) to support creating a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Haiti’s Caracol Bay and to promote a new, holistic approach to the sustainable use and conservation of marine biodiversity.

The Bay is home to thriving coral reefs and Haiti’s largest mangrove forest, which together sustain important fisheries in the northern part of the country. The Bay is also home to endangered species such as the leatherback sea turtle.

An MPA in Caracol Bay has the potential to benefit local communities and help safeguard Haiti’s vital natural treasures for generations to come.

ELAW has been working in the Caribbean for many years, building local capacity to protect communities and the environment.  In Haiti, ELAW works closely with Jean André Victor, a well-respected leader in the environmental movement and President of AHDEN.  Jean André came to Eugene for an ELAW Fellowship in 2010 and was featured in the Eugene Weekly.

For more information about MPAs, visit, which features a global interactive map and information about MPAs around the world.

Many thanks to the Waitt Foundation and the Clinton Foundation for making ELAW’s work to protect critical marine ecosystems in Haiti possible!

Michele Kuhnle
Donor Liaison

In 2001, I traveled to Kenya to bring technology tools to Nixon Sifuna.

ELAW has long used cutting edge technology to connect communities across borders. In the mid-1990’s, we brought Internet and email tools to partners in places as far flung as Mongolia, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe. Today, we’re using open source software to help our partners build websites.

The beauty of open source software is that our partners can use it in their home countries at very little cost. Software like Plone and Drupal is versatile and allows our partners to obtain just about any functionality they need. By using website content management systems (CMS), even non-technical staff can create and upload content to a website very easily.

Most recently, we’ve been helping our partners at l’Association Haitienne de Droit de l’Environnement (AHDEN) build a website. Attorney Rolès Théard visited Eugene earlier this month for an ELAW Fellowship. While here, Rolès worked with ELAW staff to learn how to use Drupal and make updates to AHDEN’s site. Now, Rolès will teach AHDEN staff and volunteers how to do the same.

Jen and Rolès work on the AHDEN website

By helping our partners build websites, we hope to enhance their capacity to use technology tools and demonstrate the impact of their work to the world.

I hope you will visit the following sites to learn more about our partners’ great work:

Climate Justice Programme

Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy

Green Advocates

If you are considering building your own website, I highly recommend the Drupal Installation Profile, “Drupal and NGO” (DaNGO). DaNGO provides a collection of Drupal modules commonly used on non-profit websites in one convenient package. It includes tools for blogs, wikis, discussion forums, photo sharing, donation processing, and membership management.

Many thanks to the programmers who make open source software available to all. With your help, grassroots advocates are connecting across borders to protect people and wildlands all around the world.

Glenn Gillis
Information Technology Manager

It is “that” time of the year again around the ELAW office.  The buzz is starting to build. Next week is the University of Oregon School of Law’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC). The conference is organized by students at the school, not ELAW, though sometimes we get credit for it.  This year we will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of conference and the 100th Anniversary of David Brower’s birth. We will also remember the tragic loss of the beloved Svitlana Kravchenko.

ELAW Fellow Rolès Théard

Yesterday we welcomed our first international visitor for this year’s PIELC – Rolès Théard, a founder of l’Association Haitienne de Droit de l’Environnement (AHDEN).   Rolès will join partners from Russia and Mongolia to talk about the impacts of mining on a panel during the PIELC.  We’ll also be welcoming lawyers from Guatemala, Madagascar, and Indonesia over the week ahead.  I am thrilled to be working with Rolès this week and looking forward to welcoming the rest of the gang next week.  If you’re going to be in town for the PIELC – please look for ELAW’s table in the busy halls of the law school!

We hope to see you in Eugene!

Jen Gleason
Staff Attorney

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