Alum Profile: Jason Mcgaughey: Deputy Education Project Manager of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization
In 2012, Jason McGaughey (M.Ed.) graduated from the UW College of Education. and after six month of volunteering on the ground, was hired as the Deputy Education Project Manager of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO). J/P HRO formed in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti. From medical care to relocation services, the organization is one of the most visible programs of its kind.
As part of its comprehensive effort to rebuild a strong community in Haiti, J/P HRO manages a camp for internally displaced persons who lost their homes and liveliehood after the earthquake. Located on a former golf course, the camp started with about 60,000 people after the earthquake and reduced this number to about 18,000 people currently. Delmas 32 is a section of the Delmas neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which is the focus of J/P HRO’s current services.
Delmas 32 is home to roughly 5,300 students. Their education is the priority and focus of McGaughey’s work as the Deputy Education Project Manager of J/P HRO. In this role he is helping to design and implement the future strategic plan of the program, design new projects, as well as create partnerships with other NGO’s and international aid agencies. He collaborates with internal partners as well as external organizations and the Haitian government, such as the Haitian Ministry of Education.
“My idea was that we needed to concentrate our school support to Delmas 32 since it is a super-dense, high poverty area,” McGaughey explains. “ J/P HRO also runs a school, called Ecole de L’Espoir or the School of Hope, which is a free primary school that serves about 400 students in the camp currently.”
In addition to teaching English to camp residents and a TOEFL prep class to medical staff, McGaughey is currently overseeing the creation of a school district. He helmed the project from inception to the creation of a school board, named the Associated of Schools of Delmas 32.
McGaughey’s team initiated this project by conducting a community needs assessment of every school in the Delmas 32 neighborhood. After traversing neighborhoods and painstakingly mapping out the schools in this previously unmapped region, his team administered an educational needs assessment to each school principal.
“We spent weeks collecting, and entering the data into a huge database that was then analyzed,” McGaughey explains. “Before we began this project we conducted a focus group with 12 community leaders. We let them know what we were hoping to do, asking for their support and guidance as to how best to go about working with the community and schools. When we finished the initial assessment phase of the project, we held another focus group to present our findings to the community.”
The focus group decided to create a school board to oversee the neighborhood. Collaborating with the Associated of Schools of Delmas 32, J/P HRO split up the neighborhood into seven blocks with roughly 31 schools. Each school board member is responsible for communication with their block. “with this collaboration we have increased the quality and frequency of communication between J/P HRO and the schools of Dlemas 32. We have also been able to pinpoint the most immediate needs educationally with their help and focus our services and attention directly to those.”
“We based this whole plan on community driven development (CDD) models,” McGaughey asserts. “I learned about this at the College of Ed. And the Evans School. CDD gives control of decisions and resources to community groups. These groups often work in partnership with demand-responsive support organizations and service providers, such as an NGO like J/P HRO. We are working to create a governing body that gives the community a voice in directing services to the schools efficiently and effectively.”
McGaughey says that his work at the University of Washington has helped to guide his efforts in Haiti. From the mentorship of Tom Halverson to his ability to research effectively, the UW helped prepare him for this experience.
“Every day I experience the highest highs and the lowest lows,” McGaughey states. “And every day I know that my work is directly helping other people.”