"Tout moun se moun, tout moun pa menm." All people are people but not all people are the same.
-Haitian proverb


Welcome sign

Blason Ouanaminthe501

Seal of the City of Ouanaminthe. "Labor et dignitas semper"
(Always worth the effort)

Ouanaminthe 8

Location in northern Haiti, on the DR border



Ouanaminthe (Kreyòl: Wanament, Spanish: Juana Mendez) is a city and the seat of Ouanaminthe Arrondissement in the Northeast Department of Haiti. Situated in the far northeastern corner of the country, it is home to about 100,000 people.

Ouanaminthe stands on the Dajabòn River across the Dominican Republic-Haiti border from Dajabòn, the most populous city in the Dominican province of of the same name. Ouanaminthe is 22km south of the the Northeast Department capital city of Fort-Liberté. The two cities, along with Cap-Haïtien in the neighboring Northern department, form a combined international metropolitan area sometimes referred to as the Couloir Nord-Est or the Northeast Corridor. The region of over 750,000 people constitutes the largest bilingual and binational work force in Hispaniola.

The city is the operations base of several textile industries, an industry which represents Haiti's manufacturing sector, accounting for 90% of the country's exports and about 10% of the country's gross domestic product, as well as home to the Univers Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider complex in Ouanaminthe, and a public law school, the city's primary university. The city hosts several annual festivals and is home to the Ouanaminthe Football Club.

Within it lays the Massacre River or Dajabon River which provides a border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The river is named for an incident that took place in 1728 in which 30 French Buccaneers were killed by Spanish settlers.

Ouanaminthe has become one of the major urban centers of the Northeast, mainly because of its proximity to the Haitian-Dominican border which makes it the seat of a regular and intense cross-border trade. Also, it attracts many people from other regions of the country. The city is the busiest international crossing point in Haiti.


Ouanaminthe, commune of the North-East Department, was elevated to the rank of commune towards the year 1807. It covers an area of ​​222 km2 and includes five communal sections: Haut-Maribaroux, Acul-de-Pins, Savanne-au-Lait, Savanne-Long, and Gens-de-Nantes. It is a border town, its dominant relief is the plain and its climate is hot. Its inhabitants bear the name of Ouanaminthais. For an area of ​​222.90 Km2. The downtown area measures 3.14 km2 (1.2 Sq. Mi.) and has a density of 22,581 inhabitants per km2 (59,088 per Sq. Mi.).

population growth, 5.41% between 1950 and 1982.


Year Population
1998 53,696
2003 77,319 +9.9%
2015 106,129 +77%



From the agro-ecological point of view, the commune of Ouanaminthe is located in the wetlands, with an average rainfall of 1800 mm. Its average temperature is between 26 ° and 28 ° C and its wettest months are from July to December.

Natural resources

The grounds. In valleys such as Savane-au-Lait and Savane Long, we find soils from the decomposition of quartziferous diorites which give them a clear hue and sandy texture. On the other hand, in mountain areas like Gens-de-Nantes, soils are of volcanic origin, usually shallow but still productive. In the plain of Maribaroux, they are Colluvial, with a frank texture and good agricultural potential.


Ouanaminthe has a diversified economy focused primarily within two pillars: international trade and services. These sectors are mainly dominated by trade in goods and services with the Dominican Republic, which is particularly active on Mondays and Fridays, the market days in the city of Dajabón. The result is an ever-increasing flow of merchandise and merchants from neighboring areas or other departments of the country. This influx of temporary visitors creates an additional pressure on the meager services and amenities of the city. Data provided by the customs director of Ouanaminthe show the importance of trade in the area. They inform that on average, more than 40,000 bags of cement, 1,000 tons of iron, and two to three containers of spaghetti leave the neighboring peninsula every month and pass through Ouanaminthe. Other materials (plumbing for example), are evaluated to a container every four months. Products supplying the informal sector (paper plates, vegetables and fruits, cereals, bananas, citrus fruits, etc.) are intensively transported at the rate of fifteen to twenty trucks per month. In addition, five shops and warehouses, owned by Dominicans, are already installed in the center of the city. The services offered are as numerous as they are diverse and are dispensed in hairdressing salons, a beauty studio, hotels and motels, restaurants, laundries, etc., which tend to multiply.

For economic and financial infrastructures, the commune of Ouanaminthe has a credit union and a marketing cooperative center.

The commercial and economic establishments of the municipality range from construction materials companies and dozens of food supply centers to pharmacies and photocopy shops. Also, other small informal activities located everywhere, especially near the border, include the public market and the roadside where the merchants of food, the polishers of shoes, forex dealers, and taxi-motorcycle drivers (estimated at more than 600) evolve.

The industrial sector is also present with two ice plants and drinking water production plants, processing units (corn mills, peanut mills, rice mills, bakeries (over twenty), and a dry cleaning company. In August 2003, a free zone was set up near the border, where the trousers factory operates Levi's. This company employs 550 employees at a rate of 432 gourdes for a 48-hour week. The production has already reached about 20,000 jeans, although the factory operates only at less than 5% of its capacity. It plans to increase its staff to 10,000 men / day and diversify its products.

One of the major handicaps of the industrial sector remains the adaptation to the proposed technology, and especially acceptance by the population of the new assignment of this part of the plain because the plant was erected in an area with high agricultural potential. Nevertheless, its installation may appear also as a development to the region.


Agriculture. In addition to trade and services, beekeeping helps to support farmers in Ouanaminthe, as well as agriculture with groundnuts and maize as main crops.

Although the production of honey has decreased a lot in the commune, it is much ahead of Ferrier and Fort-Liberté. Beekeepers report that Ouanaminthe once exported honey to France, the United States and Germany, at the initiative of the Oblate Fathers who supported this activity.

Unfortunately, beekeepers could not meet the required quotas or maintain the quality label required by local exporters.

Peanut production is concentrated mainly in the communal sections of Savane Long, Savanna-au-Lait, and neighboring Capotille. According to the estimates of the Director of the Office Agricole Communale (BAC), the yield per hectare is around 0.83 metric ton. Based on average planted area per operator (0.5 Cx) and the total number of farmers (116), the total area covered by groundnuts therefore 58 Cx or 75.4 ha. These estimates indicate a production level of 63 tonnes of groundnuts at the cost of 45,760 gourdes per ton.

The cultivation of corn is also a source of income for the planters of the communal sections of Ouanaminthe. But the installation of the free zone has considerably reduced the space occupied by this culture. Nevertheless, the development possibilities of the plain of Maribaroux still exist despite the free zone, as it is still possible to irrigate it from several outlets on the Massacre river.  



The road network is in poor condition, not the subject of any sustainable intervention. The internal roads are impassable and, as a result, the production areas remain difficult to access. Routing goods, drugs, school supplies, and agricultural products becomes problematic, as well as access to goods and services. Also, the restoration of the road network can be considered as a priority for the entire municipality, especially for its communal sections.



Ouanaminthe children

The city of Ouanaminthe has more than fifty schools, of which 32% attend secondary school. In addition, the municipality has two vocational schools. A law school also works in this city. The level of teacher training is low, especially in the communal sections where there are 27 primary schools. School buildings are generally old and dilapidated; it even happens that some teachers take shelter under simple arbours to deliver their classes. The Ministry of National Education of Youth and Sports is represented in the municipality by a school inspection office.


Ouanaminthe is the medical hub of Northeastern Haiti, hosting numerous private clinics belonging to Haitian or Dominican practitioners whose outpatient doctors provide oral care to patients from the region. The city's top hospital is a medical center with beds, similar to a hospital: the CMSO (Medico-Social Center of Ouanaminthe). Pre and postnatal care are provided with family planning and epidemiological surveillance. The service hospitalization of the CMSO concerns the main sections: Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Maternity and surgery. Univers Medical Center is the only trauma center in the region. The Ministry of Public Health and Population is not represented in the town of Ouanaminthe. A sizeable team of doctors, nurses, auxiliaries, certified matrons and two laboratory technicians train the technical staff of the three health establishments inventoried in the commune.


In terms of water availability, the town has eight rivers, a lagoon and public fountains with nearly two dozen pumps. The drinking water supply system in the city is failing. It does not serve the majority, often only a tiny portion of the population. A large fraction consumes well water and rivers of dubious quality, which causes enormous damage to health.

In Savane Long, Gens-de-Nantes and Savane-au-Lait, there are some hand pumps. But they are insufficient in relation to the rate of growth of the population, and to gain access, it is often necessary to travel dozens of kilometers.

Drainage system and tailings management

They are two major problems for the city of Ouanaminthe. The few open canals along the Spanish street are obstructed by sediments or household waste (paper plates, cutlery, plastic bags and bottles, etc.). The result is the flooding of the city at the slightest downpour and the muddling of cities built in its periphery.

The tailings management represents in Ouanaminthe a real headache for the road. This service can very difficult to do with only seven wheelbarrows and nine employees pickup. Also, in addition to the drainage canals, the public market, the bed of the Petite Rivière, the land empties and old vehicle carcasses are converted into dump sites by local residents. Stagnation of these detritus makes the environment quite unhealthy.

At the time of the survey, Only the city of Ouanaminthe was electrified at a feeding frequency of 35 hours on average per week. Electric energy is almost non-existent. In principle, it would come back to the Electricity of Haiti (EDH) to provide it. The city of Ouanaminthe has two generating sets running at 10% of their capacity. According to the information gathered, the city has practically no electrical energy, which is a major handicap for all economic players and one priority to be solved. Banks, hotels and some private individuals bypass the difficulty by obtaining generators or "inverters".


Several deconcentrated institutions of the state apparatus (MSPP, MARNDR, CAEP, EDH, DGI, Ministry of Justice, MENJSP) etc., operate in Ouanaminthe, with, for the most part, large financial and logistical difficulties, which significantly reduces the scope of their actions and the quality of services offered to the community.

The commune of Ouanaminthe currently benefits from the intervention of several NGOs: Plan Haiti, Hope for Haiti, and Border Solidarity. Their fields of activity are diverse: Plan Haiti intervenes in the field of education, agriculture and health. Its development programs are marked by intensive training. The actions of Border Solidarity are moving towards human rights, gender issues and social advancement.


Goats graze in front of the Haitian National Police station in Ouanaminthe, Haiti


Concerning the administrative and judicial infrastructures, the commune has a police station, a court of peace and a registry office.


Ouanaminthe Aerial

Ouanaminthe MAP

Ouanaminthe commune Map


OUA Ouanaminthe 106,129
VOU Ville de Ouanaminthe Urban 1,264
HMB 1ère Section Haut-Marihaboux Rural section 13,370 Bourjo, Coujol, Dilaire, Duro, Gaïac, Gounote, Grande Savane, Lamatry, Le Chat, Maboule, Marquis, Marquyis Marat, Melchoir, Papa Jacques, Passa Café, Pérard, Pirobert, Place Pre d'Homme, Robino, Rouvoyé, Scott, Sens, Sorselle, Ti laurier.
API 2ème Section Acul Des Pins Rural 4,827 Disara, Duvigal, Francisque, Gullouette, Jourdain, L'Acul des Pins, La Fleur, La Fontaine, Lorier, Mont Premier, Pierrot, Poirier, Vieux Caille
SAL 3ème Section Savane-Longue Rural 9,563 Baja, Baptiste, Bedou, Beneste, Bois Gens, Boujo, Chancerelles, Dominique, Joulin, Jourdain, La Garenne, Marie Borbin, Marionette, Réforme, Savane au Lait, Savane Dosmont, Savane Longue, Vano
SLA 4ème Section Savane au Lait Rural 4,252 Ali, Blond, Bori, Bosse, Ca Poyo, Dépé, Diasa, L'Amy, Larode, Savane Au Lait, Templier
GNT 5ème Section Gens-de-Nantes Rural 3,212 Baptiste, Chutte, En bas Boisson, Gens de Nantes, Jean Rabel, Matayer, Pacot, Ti Mélia.



The town has a telephone office, a postal office and a radio station. It has no newspaper / magazine nor television station.


Ninety-nine churches and temples have been listed in the commune. The Baptist churches are the most numerous, 67 in total.


At the level of politics and other organizations, the commune contains seven popular organizations, seven peasants groups, non-commercial cooperative center and a non-governmental organization.



Ounaminthe public place

As leisure, the town has a library, but it has no museum, no theater nor cinema. The sports practiced are football (soccer) and basketball. For the monuments and sites, it contains three. These are natural sites located mainly in the communal sections. Every 15th of August, the commune of Ouanaminthe celebrates its patron saint "Notre Dame de l'Assomption" in a solemn way.

Urban Issues

A problematic analysis for the environment and development of the commune of Ouanaminthe reveal that the environmental problems of Ouanaminthe are very complex. Next to those facing the entire department, Ouanaminthe undergoes very specific constraints related to the behavior of its population and the inability of local authorities to manage the environment. The work leading up to the present diagnosis made it possible to classify them as follows:
 Destruction of honey plants
 Floods caused by the floods of the Massacre, Lamatri and Petite Rivière rivers
 Accumulation of waste, obstructing drainage canals and unsanitary streets
 Population explosion and anarchic urbanization
 Pollution of water by faeces and dust
 No management of lagoons and recreation sites
 Anarchic exploitation of quarries
 Bad state of the local roads

Destruction of honey plants

Beekeeping is classified as an income-generating activity for the inhabitants of the Northeast and those of Ouanaminthe in particular. The current production of honey is far from satisfying the demands of the community and surrounding areas. It is estimated at around 8,000 gallons (cost 400 gourdes / gallon), against 16,200 gallons previously harvested (CAO, 2004). To this must be added the market value of the by-products: wax (25 gourdes / lb), and propolis (500 gourdes / lb). A major cause of decline in bee production is the cutting down of honey-bearing trees, such as logwood, mango, avocado etc., for the production of coal, the only source of energy of current use. Another, no less serious and of an entomological nature, consists in the presence Varroa, a mite that attacks hives and threatens to systematically destroy bees. The MARNDR and those of a Dominican veterinarian have so far only results.

Floods, due to river flooding

The environment of the commune feels the repercussions of the indiscriminate cutting of trees, general, especially that of the honey plants. These are the most consumed after candelon and leucena, bakeries, dry-cleaning establishments, cassaveries, etc., because of of their recognized calorific value. The pressure on forest resources bare mountains of Mellia, Martin and Cabris in Gens-de-Nantes and negatively influence the environment. At the slightest downpour, the soil is eroded and tons of sediment carried by the water is lay down and invade the city of Ouanaminthe. These floods, in addition to destroying the farms agricultural areas, aggravate the insalubrity of the city where, today, the streets are often bogged down in rain and powder in dry periods.

Accumulation of waste in streets and in drainage canals

The free movement of domestic animals, especially pigs, in the streets of the city of Ouanaminthe, causes problems in terms of health and the environment. Their excretas on the streets, the public market and the surrounding cities, also obstructing the canals of drainage. Waste accumulation, burning of plastic products and household residues are all practices whose results are very worrying for the municipality of Ouanaminthe, because the proliferation of microbes, their spread by insects and the production of toxic gases, harmful for health and the environment, are intensified. The inefficiency of current collection processes, storage, treatment or disposal of waste requires other solutions to this problem.

Population explosion and anarchic urbanization

Ouanaminthe, border town, is the seat of intense two-weekly trade exchanges (Monday and Friday, market days of the twin city of Dajabon) that attract a lot of visitors. This The influx of temporary visitors creates enormous pressure on the resources of the area. A lot of them decide to stay permanently in the area, increasing the population and, as a result, demand goods and services on the same area. Along the streets too narrow and deteriorated, these newcomers are brought in to build houses of fortune for their lodgings. These houses, erected apart from the most basic building standards, the city is disfigured and miserable and unhealthy.

Pollution and contamination of water

The inhabitants of the Gaïac, Planto, Lumière, Petite Rivière and Bas Ti Laurier cities do not have toilets in their shack, nor latrines in their yard. So they use to relieve themselves a simple open pit or the ground itself. This results in the pollution of air and water up to the groundwater underground by feces. Rivers and streams are also naturally affected. So, drinking water, instead of contributing to well-being and improving health, disrupts it, deteriorates it. The problem of polluted water is therefore serious both at the level of the cities and the communal sections and ask for an urgent intervention.

Lack of management of lagoons and recreation sites

In the commune of Ouanaminthe, many natural sites and lagoons have been spotted: The Acul des Pins waterfalls, the five high Maribaroux lagoons, and the one of Savane-Longue (Fagale Lagoon). They shelter many animal species and innumerable plants, many of which have not yet been identified. They are not managed despite their potential for aquaculture development, ecotourism and the conservation of biological diversity.

Uncontrolled exploitation of quarries and mines

The sand quarries of the Massacre, Lamatrie, Jassa and Canari Rivers are very poorly exploited. among other consequences on the environment, the destabilization of the banks. Scouring is carried out often too close bridges and is detrimental to these works which it weakens the deck. Moreover, it often causes puddles of stagnant water that promote the hatching of insects and release at the end from a certain time an unpleasant odor. Mining is uncommon in the town of Ouanaminthe. The survey reports an intervention in this area at Acul des Pins, in the year 1990, at the level of gold mines. The impact of this operation on the environment is marked by noticeable unseen cuts that disfigure the landscape.

Poor condition of the local roads

The dirt roads connecting Ouanaminthe to the communal sections are drivable only by dry weather, which contributes to the isolation of production areas and recreation sites.

Transportation Medicines, school supplies, food, etc. is done on the back of a donkey.


Action lines for the environment and sustainable development of the commune of Ouanaminthe

During the workshop of reflection and planning held in the commune of Ouanaminthe, the representatives of the population were aware of the constraints on development, economic, and social aspects of their commune. They also identified seven actions to be undertaken to ensure a harmonious and sustainable development of the environment of their commune:

Program 1. Landscaping of the hills

This program is particularly important for the municipal section of Gens-de-Nantes, where the waters of the river of the same name, whose hydroelectric potential is recognized (300 kW), serve for other purposes. The protection of this strategic watershed will increase the volume of water infiltration and reduce runoff and sediment mass carried downstream into the city from Ouanaminthe and the surrounding sections.

The components of this program are:

1) Installation of defense and soil and water conservation structures 2) Correction of primary and secondary gullies 3) Production of fruit and forest seedlings 4) Training of field agents for the implementation of the program

Program 2. Use of alternative energy sources

The rate of consumption of wood by households and specialized companies in the city of Ouanaminthe, suggests that an alternative be proposed to them in order to reduce the pressure on resources like the ligneous trees of the commune. This program has been reported by economic actors as a priority that could have the following components:

1) Research and analysis of available clean energy sources 2) Substitution of domestic energy by ecologically acceptable alternatives 3) Training of managers to manage the energy sector 4) Development of solar energy

Program 3. Sanitation of the city of Ouanaminthe

This program is also essential for this busy border town. It will allow the significant reduction in pollution factors (mud, dust, etc.), deterioration of health and degradation of the environment. The cleaning of drains in particular will facilitate the flow of wild waters; management detritus and free animal control will clear congested streets and make them easier to use. The environment of the city and the cities will be rehabilitated and the population will evolve in an environment more attractive.

The components of this program are summarized as follows:

1) Environmental Education 2) Street covering of the city of Ouanaminthe 3) Strengthening the technical and financial intervention capacity of mayors to manage garbage 4) Manufacture of large capacity bins and their installation in the streets 5) Development of a controlled landfill 6) Cleaning of Ti Rivière channels 7) Construction of drainage canals 8) Construction of latrines at Bas Ti Laurier, Gaïac, Cité Planto and Bas Ti Rivière 9) Development of a stockyard

Program 4. Improving the quality and distribution of drinking water

The accelerated growth of the city of Ouanaminthe creates a strong pressure on the water resource. The demand for drinking water exceeds the capacity of existing systems, which are polluted by all kinds. The implementation of this program will reduce the risk of contamination of drinking water and will help increase the flow of drinking water, especially at communal sections. This program has three main activities: 1) Installation of a filter on the drinking water supply system of the city of Ouanaminthe 2) Installation of hand pumps at Acul des Pins (Lafleur and Lamatrie habitations), in Haut-Martineau (Gérard, Rouvoir, Bougot, Passe-Café, Bounote and Robineau habitations).

Program 5. Valorisation of natural sites and water bodies for tourism and aquaculture

Jassa Falls is, for the inhabitants of Ouanaminthe, a very popular recreation center, particularly during the summer holidays. It could be the same for other water points, including five lagoons already identified. Their exploitation for recreational or aquacultural purposes would be beneficial to people who, in addition to relaxation, find animal proteins and raw materials for the craft industry (rush and others).

The components of this program are: 1) Development of the Jassa Falls (cleaning, creation of a reception center and rehabilitation of the access road). 2) Development and stocking of lagoons.

Program 6. Habitat Improvement

Ouanaminthe is a city built without order and without standards; also she hardly supports the comparison with that of Dajabon, his neighbor. With its poorly drawn streets and dilapidated buildings and rudimentary, Ouanaminthe offers the unsightly appearance of a large slum. This program, a priority for the entire North-East department, presents the following points:

1) Opening of the streets at the level of the cities Gaïac, Lumière, Ti Laurier etc. 2) Development of an extension zone of the city of Ouanaminthe 3) Construction of social housing for the inhabitants of the cities: Planto, Lumiere, Bas Ti Laurier and Bas Ti Rivière.

Program 7: Rehabilitation of intersecting roads

Pathways are necessary for the transport of patients, parturients, casualties, medicines, school materials, materials, food products, etc. Well built and well maintained, they provide multiple benefits: accessibility to production areas, good circulation of information, cultural and commercial exchanges, lowering the cost of transport, etc.

The following components are part of this program:

1) Topographic study 2) Rehabilitation of road sections: - Haut Dilaire - Lamatrie National School (10 km) - Dilaire - Robineau (8 km) - Carrefour Lemercier - Acul-des-Pins (14 km) - Carrefour Contoir - Rivière Gens-de-Nantes / Dosmond - Marinette (14km) Financial estimate of the Ouanaminthe Plan The implementation of the Ouanaminthe plan is valued at US $ 1,585,000. This budget breaks down as follows: Environment: US $ 980,000 Infrastructures: US $ 605,000


There are several elementary schools scattered throughout Ouanaminthe and ten secondary schools including a public school and a law school. Majority of the schools belong to churches. They support kindergarten, primary, and secondary. Students who have reached seventh grade typically move to larger areas with better educational opportunities.


Ouanaminthe - Dajabon border crossing. The two are separated by the Ouanaminthe River.

Border town

Haitians are only able to cross into Dajabon twice per week and use this time for going to the market or to gather groceries. However, when Haitians are allowed to cross the bridge which is generally on Mondays or Fridays, they sell hand crafted goods they have created. Most of the products they create are made with supplies that have been donated to them by charitable organizations.


Unibank Ounaminthe

Free trade zone

Business owners in Ouanaminthe have experienced loss of fertile land due to the Dominican Republic's expansion. This has been the result of an agreement between Haiti and the Dominican Republic's governments to create a free trade zone but the factories in the free trade zone belong to Dominican companies. With these new insights the World Bank, which has withheld funds from Haiti for many years for being in arrears, is lending financial aid to the project. The project will change the way of life for many Haitians and will offer many new jobs.


Michael Vedrine