Haitian Master’s graduate starts his own company, and a better future
Isnel Pierreval grew up in Delmas in a household headed by his mother, the only breadwinner in the family. Thanks to the hard work and many sacrifices made by his mother and grandmother, he was able to go to school in Haiti, where he studied to be an applied economist. Isnel is one of the eight Haitian students that were selected by USAID’s Feed the Future West/WINNER project to pursue an advanced Master’s degree at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The students completed degrees in the areas of Agriculture, Economics, and Environmental Resources.
After three years of English study, master’s coursework, and the successful acceptance of his thesis, Isnel has been an emblem of success for the program as a result of his academic achievements. While in Florida, Isnel achieved a 3.94 GPA, membership into the Agriculture Honors Society, and was offered a full scholarship to pursue a PhD at the University of Florida.
Isnel attributes the opportunity to earn his Master’s, thanks to the FTF-West/WINNER Project, as a turning point in his life: “This Master’s degree was an intellectual empowerment - I was able to attend core classes in economics, agribusiness, and development. From the time I got back to Haiti with my degree, I was able to more than double my previous annual income.”
Isnel does not take his achievements lightly, and has applied his newfound training by establishing his own Monitoring and Evaluation company called Diagnostic & Development Group. “Upon my return from the Master’s program in August 2012, I was empowered to take risks. I looked in the market and saw the need to combine new technologies, statistics, and project management. We decided to focus on a specific market segment using a technological platform that allows us to collect data in real time, and make it available using GPS information.”
Isnel is passionate about his work and about the innovative business model he has created. “A key difference between my company and others is that we offer a package. We are able to provide the client with a web based system, the technology to collect data in real time, as well as training and further analysis. We can take your project, break it down in pieces, and build your M&E system from the baseline through an ongoing monitoring cycle and a final evaluation.” Isnel stresses that, “Quality comes first. As a client oriented company, the quality of our deliverables will keep us in business so we go beyond clients’ expectations. For example, when we do a business plan for a client, we don't only provide information related to costs and benefits. We also provide the likelihood of success by integrating elements of risk.”
With the hard work and creativity of talented young Haitians like Isnel, his personal dream “to see Haiti without poverty” can become a reality.