The New Year always brings a time of reflection on the past year and hopes for the one to come. Looking back on 2011, Partners of the Americas and Makouti Agro Enterprise would like to say a big Thank You to all of the donors who have helped improve nutrition and livelihoods in Grand Boulage, a mountain village in Haiti. Your generous donations are making a difference in Haiti! This project has had a great deal of success in Grand Boulage, and in planning for the future stages, we are focusing on building upon what is working well, and trying to make more market linkages to ensure sustainable sources of income for the families in the future. One of our main objectives for the first trimester of 2012 is to produce and sell a minimum of 25 rabbits per week at local markets in Port-au-Prince. Rabbit production continues to be a popular activity among the farmers in Haiti, since a successful rabbitry brings a lean, high-quality source of protein as well as potential for sales and income. To achieve this objective, Makouti Agro Enterprise plans to create a network around Port-au-Prince, to include Grand Boulage and the communities of Croix des Bouquets, Sibert, and Kenskoff, which are closer to the city and have had some past related experience with animal-raising. They will help set up a cooperative system and to convene producers and community members, along with agronomy students and perhaps agricultural ministry representatives, to share best practices and management techniques. Recently, ten cages have been distributed to women in Sibert. There has been an increased in focus on women beneficiaries, as women are critical to family nutrition and have proven to be more successful in managing the rabbitries. The work has already begun on the construction of 2 new rabbitry structures in Grand Boulage. Together with 2 structures provided by the Friends of Haiti, that community will have a total of 10 high-quality structures. The Feeding Families project continues to work hand-in-hand with other programs and organizations, such as the Farmer to Farmer Program and the Friends of Haiti. In the last quarter of 2011, Farmer to Farmer continued to focus on providing training to community members in the care and disease prevention in goats and rabbits, and Friends of Haiti took the lead in composting, reforestation training, and preparing hundreds of seedlings (cede, orange, and chadeque/grapefruit) for planting. Together and with your help, we can help make 2012 a hopeful and productive year for these families in Haiti!
The Feeding Families project is going well - each visit to Grand Boulage shows how much progress has been made. A recent visit of Farmer to Farmer volunteers to do veterinary training for rabbit producers sparked even greater interest from towns in the surrounding area. People are eager to raise rabbits. The project is planning to expand geographically and include some new communities. The lessons from Grand Boulage will allow us to hopefully replicate their success. Stay tuned for more details!
A report from the field via our partner group, Friends of Haiti:
In February, Friends of Haiti members visited the Grand Boulage community to build on the successful work being done through Global Giving and the Feeding Families Program. Three new rabbitries are being planned to add to the six that are in place. Ground work, is fittingly being done, to expand to a second tree nursery and begin vegetable gardens in a neighboring, rural community. On our visit we saw new tree seedlings were growing in the current nursery in preparation for May day plantings. The nursery manager pointed to sites on the higher mountains, where trees were growing to hold the soil and reforest the barren slopes. Our group was surprised to find that land was cleared near the nursery. Posts with palm leaves sheltered the start up of a new tree nursery. The community had seen what was being accomplished through the Global Giving Project and had invested in their own tree nursery. Having done major work on building a road through cash for work, they determined the need to plant trees along the road to prevent erosion. The young nursery manager, who hopes to study to be an agronomist, will have added hours to oversee the nursery and be paid by his community, an investment that should have long term benefits for all.The road will play an important role in getting the rabbits to market. A next step also will include the possibility of selling a percentage of trees to make the nursery self-sufficient in the future. Accessibility opens the door for rural markets and will help to build long term food security. With school lunch programs beginning in the area there may be opportunities for our gardeners to supplement the children’s nutrition with “home grown” vegetables. Leadership from Farmer to Farmer and Makouti Agro Enterprises [other Global Giving partners] and the people of Grand Boulage are greening the mountains and feeding families. Thank You Global Giving donors for your contribution in making it happen!*****Your donations have helped make these successes possible! We thank you for your continued support for the Feeding Families project.
The Feeding Families Project is proud to be contributing to agricultural development in Grand Boulage and surrounding areas. In collaboration with Friends of Haiti (FOH) and other groups, progress is being made in the nursery and small animal projects. Nursery ProjectBelow are some excerpts from recent reports from Nursery Manager Jean Rony Dorelus:Seedling Production:
Trees Planted:540 trees are planted: 120 Avocado trees, 80 Casse trees, 70 Sed trees, and 64 Mango trees
The Gardens:15 families have vegetables gardens at their homes, and some are doing quite well. Others are facing challenges, particularly the insects that are destroying the plants. We are seeking solutions to this pest problem. Training sessions have been held for families with gardens focused mainly on the production and protection of the seedlings. Vegetable seeds that we would like in the future include cabbage, carrots, beets, spinach, tomatoes, beans, lettuce, and Parsley.Small Animal ProductionIn the area of small animals, training has been provided to goat producers in the community. FOH has started a new program modeled after 4 H that focuses on school children and teaches them how to properly raise animals and gives them a pregnant goat. The rabbit activities continue and each new rabbitry that is build seems to be an improvement over the next. The community wants additional rabbit production units to be started for other successful producers. The next step for the rabbit producers is to develop a better marketing plan that will further encourage production, co-operation and an income source.
**Your generous gifts help support these and other activities in Haiti and we THANKS YOU for your donations and commitment to the Feeding Families Project!**
I recently returned from Haiti, where I traveled to Grand Boulage to monitor ongoing activities in the community. We shared in the fruits of the community’s efforts quite literally, enjoying pumpkin soup, salad, and other delicious foods! I was able to observe many results of project support such as watering cans in the nursery alongside tree seedlings, healthy goats, chickens, rabbits, and kitchen gardens.
In addition to these tangible results achieved through the Feeding Families project and its collaborative partners, the longer-term, intangible outcomes are just as rewarding. One story that stands out is that of Delicame Murat, who will soon begin classes to learn to read and write. She is able to afford the tutor thanks to her earnings in rabbit production.
Another example is a producer who has become successful in her production that she now tracks animal breeding and earnings very closely with recordkeeping notebooks. The records help in management of activities. She is using the information strategically, choosing to focus more efforts on the activities which are more productive.
In general, the pride and sense of accomplishment is obvious on the faces of the people. They display their results with pride, and even when there are setbacks, the result is increased determination to overcome the problem rather than giving up. Our local project managers even describe the community members as appearing “younger” now. Their improved health, empowerment, and social status is apparent in the way they carry themselves and go about daily life. As a donor to this project, that is something I can feel good about!
Below are some photos from Grand Boulage, and you can read more on Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer blog at http://farmertofarmer.blogspot.com/2010/08/successful-micro-entrepreneurs-in-haiti.html. The blog highlights a few of the producers and the collaboration with other groups which helps make the Feeding Families project so successful. Thank you for your contribution to this project.
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Director, Farmer to Farmer Program