Donate an Ox: Help Improve Crop Productivity

 
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Nov 24, 2010

11 Months Later, Recovery Continues in Haiti

Children in Northwestern Haiti
Children in Northwestern Haiti

Haitian Farmers Report:

"The Lambi Fund Saves Lives!"

In an effort to assess the lingering impact of the January 12, 2010 earthquake on Haiti's rural communities, the Lambi Fund of Haiti's team of staff and board members embarked on a fact finding journey which took them to the departments of the Artibonite and the Northwest. Post-earthquake statistics indicate that over 600,000 internationally displaced persons (IDPs) left Port-au-Prince and migrated en masse to Haiti's provinces with a great majority heading for the Artibonite, the North and the Northwest.

The first stop in an itinerary that took us from Port-au-Prince to Haiti's most Northwestern town, Mole St. Nicholas, was at the Center for Plantain Propagation where we met with members of two partner organizations, Peasants Organization of Gwo Mon and Peasants Organization of Sél (AGPGM and APS). The meeting's agenda as set by the organizations included discussions about Lambi Fund's emergency assistance campaign and the work implemented at the Center.

As anticipated, we were all touched by moving accounts of earthquake stories shared by all. We heard of the tears shed over fallen relatives and neighbors.

We were all moved by the narratives of solidarity and mutual support extended to total strangers who walked into their lives traumatized, wounded and seeking support. Our partners told the stories that we would hear along the way. Stories of communities overwhelmed by refugees, men and women eager to help but wondering how they would all survive with their meager supplies of food and water, in the absence of any type of assistance.

Mr. Josephat, a member of APS recalled tearfully:

"I had 21 people, strangers staying with me and my family. We did not think twice about welcoming them, but we had not yet figured out how they would be cared for or how they would be fed.

When we heard about Lambi Fund's program to help impacted families, I was so happy that I cried. I cried because I was touched and shocked that people who had been at the center of this disaster had the time to think about us.

I was so proud to be a member of a strong organization, and I really deeply understood why being organized is the path to a better life. We would have been left to our own devices without Lambi Fund's support.

The government never came and the NGOs which did drop by brought free food supplies and their methods of distribution stripped us of our dignity."

His sentiments were echoed throughout our visits in the Northwest. Haitian peasants continued to reiterate that Lambi Fund delivered aid respectfully through the direct engagement of partner communities.

Phase II: Expanding Food Production

Reports from all communities visited confirmed that the second phase of Lambi Fund's emergency assistance program focusing on food production and food security was a total success. Nearly all farmers from Gwo Mon to Gwo Sab shared their success stories of fast growing cultivation within two months of the earthquake. Thanks to Lambi Fund's support, partner communities generated bountiful harvests of peas, vegetables and corn for consumption and sale at local markets.

In Mawotyé, farmers were less successful with the Emergency Fund's second phase because they purchased most of their seeds from a government agency which was selling hybrid seeds donated by the international community. This unfortunate deviation from their tradition of acquiring local seeds proved very costly. According to disappointed farmers, with the exception of corn cultivation, the harvest for peas, okra, millet and other vegetables was dismal. The farmers said that they have learned their lesson and will return to purchasing local seeds.

In all communities visited, farmers reported that their ongoing projects were now proceeding on-course following justifiable post-earthquake interruptions. In Gwo Mon, activities related to plantain production, sale and processing were going strong.

"I was so proud to be a member of a strong organization, and I really deeply understood why being organized is a path to a better life."

Members of KFTK-NW in Remon, spoke of the importance of the Lambi Fund's support immediately following the earthquake and the Second Phase of assistance focusing on food security and sustainability. In Gwo Sab, farmers, fishermen and market women thanked Lambi Fund for its support of their efforts to modernize their fishing practices and to capitalize the women's microcredit fund. Members enumerated in very somber tones the names of all the men who perished at sea in the past - victims to the elements and the rudimentary boats they used for fishing. Gwo Sab's collaboration with Lambi Fund has resulted in the purchase of new motor boats, is saving lives and helping build a more sustainable future for their community.

Moving Forward

This trip into the Artibonite and Northwestern parts of Haiti illustrated the undeniable fact that Haiti's farmers rightly reflect the post-earthquake psyche of those in urban communities. Haitians, throughout the entire country, are all overcoming the immense trauma of January's earthquake.

Like their urban counterparts in Port-au-Prince, Haitian farmers are determined to be part of their country's reconstruction. Lambi Fund is proud to be a tool which will assist them in the realization of these dreams and visions for a stronger Haiti. In addition to continuing our support of sustainable economic and environmental activities, Lambi Fund has pledged to amplify these voices and their determination to be included in this historic moment for nation building in Haiti.

Haitian women cooking
Haitian women cooking

Links:

Aug 25, 2010

The Ox-Plow Service is Up and Running!

Organizational training workshop
Organizational training workshop

Working towards food security is more important than ever following January’s earthquake in Haiti. Thanks to humble donations like yours, members of OPBK have purchased 4 oxen and plows and are in the middle phases of launching a community ox-plow service.

Prior to owning the oxen, OPBK members had to rely on private ox-plow services that were unreliable and costly. Many times, crops would be planted late as they waited for an ox-plow to become available.

To date, 29 members have completed Lambi Fund workshops covering organizational management, credit fund management, operating an ox-plow service, financial management and evaluation. Armed with these important skills, the organization launched their ox-plow service and has plowed 33.14 hectares of land. This means that many members in the community have benefited from this affordable ox-plow service. More land is tilled and crop production is increased.

Please consider continuing support for this project as members of OPKB state that demand for the ox-plow service exceeds current capacity. With continued funds, they hope to purchase more oxen and train more members on how to operate an ox-plow service. As OPKB’s ox-plow service strengthens, the entire community benefits from more plentiful crops and greater food security.

Links:

May 26, 2010

Oxen are Improving Lives Post-Quake

Heading to Rural Haiti
Heading to Rural Haiti

Thanks to your generous support rural families in Haiti are beginning to recover since January's earthquake. The use of oxen are proving invaluable as farmers have begun planting for the season. As oxen cultivate the land much quicker than the use of a hand-plow ever could, 100's of farmers are planting more and expanding their crops for the future. This is hope that Haiti can really hold on to.

Please read the Lambi Fund of Haiti's Spring 2010 newsletter for the most recent updates from earthquake relief and recovery in the field. You will learn about Lambi Fund's work to date and our plans for the future:

PROGRESS AMID THE CHAOS:Lambi Fund Responds to the Earthquake Disaster in Haiti

On January 12 the ground shook. It trembled like never before. In just a few horrifying moments, a massive earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, and major provincial cities like Jacmel, Léogâne, and Petit-Goâve.

The world watched in horror as the toll on human life unfolded. Never before, declared UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, has a natural disaster been so devastating.

The Presidential Palace crumbled, UN headquarters were destroyed, building after building collapsed like pancakes.

Unbelievably, 250,000 residences were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable.

The horrible stench of death lurked in the city for weeks afterwards. Over 200,000 people were killed. More than 150,000 individuals injured and left to live life as amputees. In the blink of an eye, nearly 2 million Haitians were rendered homeless.

Photo: Roberto (Bear) Guerra Responding to such a catastrophe has not been easy. Through the rubble, roads were impossible to navigate and trying to coordinate the influx of international donor agencies was declared a logistical nightmare.

Earthquake survivors left with no homes, no food, and no jobs quickly realized that aid distribution would be slow and unreliable.

Thus over 500,000 affected residents caught the first bus they could find to live with family members and friends in the rural provinces of Haiti.

This massive migration of internally displaced persons has wreaked havoc on already impoverished rural communities, where the average person still survives on less than $2 a day. Some rural populations (so much as) doubled overnight.

Keeping with the Haitian tradition of peasant solidarity, rural communities have been quick to take in quake survivors and have shared with them everything they have. The 80-year-old mother of the field monitor for Fon Lanbi Pou Ayiti has taken in 39 people in her small house.

Christianne Adrien, a street vendor, and her husband Ilson, a farmer, took in 18 members of her extended family. "If it were for the money, we would never have done it."

After the earthquake, more than a half million people fled Port au Prince and relocated to rural areas. They, along with thousands of peasants throughout Haiti have spent what little they have on clean water, medical supplies, clothing, bags of rice, and cans of beans for their new neighbors. Peasants have slaughtered precious cows to bring meat to patients at local hospitals.

Christianne continues, "We did this because we wanted them to have a life. If God saved the life of some people from a catastrophe of that size, it's so that we can protect the life of others. People have to live; you have to receive them."

It is here, through fellow Haitians and local grassroots networks that earthquake survivors are receiving the aid that they so desperately need. Resources are tight, but the spirit of sharing stays strong.

Links:

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Organization

Lambi Fund of Haiti

Washington, DC, United States
http://www.lambifund.org

Project Leader

Marie Marthe Saint Cyr

Executive Director
Washington, DC United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Donate an Ox: Help Improve Crop Productivity