The Millennials will take Haiti into the 21st century

  • Posted by Marina Vatav
  • November 4, 2014 4:47 AM EST

It is estimated that almost 70 percent of Haiti’s population are under the age of 30 (according to Population Action International); they are Haiti's millennials.

Millennials is a term given to the generation that is now under 30; they are also called generation "Y". This is a generation that grew up with technology, that is more confident, resourceful, open-minded, civic-minded, and less willing to pursue traditional life and career paths.

Many of the Haiti's millennials are no different from their peers around the world. For the first time in history, due to technology, there's less difference between youth globally and the opportunities they can tap into.

Former Obama presidential appointee Cleve Mesidor is currently the Global Solutions Consultant with The Raben Group, a policy, communications, and lobbying firm. She has worked with the Haitian millennials through the projects ran by The Raben Group, and during her six-month stay in Haiti when she taught at Quisqueya University.

Cleve has interacted with and observed the new generation of Haiti. She believes they are unique and best positioned to use the legacy of the previous generations and take Haiti to the next level.

Haiti's Millennials have a unique opportunity

"I do think that Haiti's millennials have tremendous opportunities that we did not have in Haiti's recent history," says Cleve.

Due to technology and the times they live in, millennials are learning differently and they are more connected to the global environment. They can easily learn about trends around the world and reach their peers globally.

This is also the generation where more people received basic education in Haiti.
Cleve considers this an achievement that belongs to the previous generations, including the Diaspora that through the years supported communities in Haiti and kids' education. It is estimated that Haitians living abroad are sending about $2 billion a year to Haiti.
"As a result I do think that Haiti's population of under 30, which is the masses right now, have a basic education," says Cleve.

Embracing the STEM Careers

Cleve believes that although Haiti's millennials have the best shot at helping their country develop, not enough of them are competitive on the global market. They still need training, particularly in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields which are driving innovation and the world's economy.

"I think they are visionaries and they are thinking globally. They want to create a Haiti that benefits the largest group of people. What they need more is investment in those hard skills, investments in training, investments in having access to new models, investment in having access to the resources that they need," says Cleve.

"The STEM careers are at their disposal. If you can train half of Haiti's millennials in any STEM careers, they are well positioned to be successful in other Latin American and Caribbean countries."

With the right education for the new generation, Haiti could take the lead on important sectors in the region, such as energy or technology, because it has the second largest population in the Caribbean and a very young population.

"The investment needs to be in hard skills, and the government should do it, the international community should do it, but if no one does it, I'm confident that they [the millennials] are going to rally their counterparts all over the world and they are going to take over," noted Cleve.