Contribute to Long-term Rebuilding in Haiti

 
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Haitian farmer standing among his crops
Haitian farmer standing among his crops

                For many, the earthquake may seem like a distant memory, but in Haiti communities are continuing to rebuild.  Inspiring and innovative efforts to build a better and stronger Haiti than ever before are taking place in towns throughout the country. One organization that is lighting a spark in their region is The Youth Association of Sel (AJS).  The 255 youth members are working in partnership with the Lambi Fund of Haiti, to build a grain storage facility and launch a community credit fund.  The grain silo they are building will store surplus grains and seeds for use in times of need – droughts, natural disasters and in between growing seasons.  The storage facility will also be a place to store Haitian Creole seeds.  With this silo, AJS members are working to increase access to high quality, local seeds that they can share and sell to one another at an affordable rate.  Just as importantly, the food storage aspect of the facility is working to create a safety net for the community – making food and grains available when its needed most.

    In order to successfully manage and operate the storage facility and community credit fund, members of AJS attended workshops administered by Lambi Fund teaching them grain storage management and operation, bookkeeping, the issuing of loans and how to manage a community credit fund. 

     To date, 50 low-interest loans have been issued to members who are using the funds to purchase more seeds, tools and organic fertilizers for growing more peanuts, peas and corn in the area.  One recipient noted that investments from the loan allowed him to cultivate 25% more land.  Each repayment schedule has been paid on time - and since AJS manages the credit fund and interest earnings stay within the community, the fund is growing.  In fact, AJS members are planning to issue an additional 19 loans this fall to farmers in preparation for the upcoming planting season.  The silo is currently under construction and committees have been formed that will be responsible for managing the food storage unit and distributing the grains and seeds in an equitable manner.

     Thanks to your steadfast support innovative projects like this are cropping up throughout Haiti and changing communities.

Links:

Lambi Fund recently approved the launch of eight new projects that are helping move rural communities in Haiti along the long path towards recovery.  

One exciting project is the creation of a community credit fund for the women's organization AFAGM.  Lambi Fund is providing training and the capital needed to start the fund.  Workshops that train members on community credit fund management, bookkeeping, issuing of loans, organizational capacity building and more are on the horizon.  These important training sessions will provide members of AFAGM with the tools they need to successfully and sustainably manage their credit fund.

The exciting part of this project is that members of AFAGM will have access to affordable credit.  Current loans from banking institutions in Haiti charge upwards of 50% interest.  Now, women will be able to receive loans at 2.5%, which will help them purchase supplies, inventory and other goods for their small business enterprises.  These business investments increase incomes and help send their children to school and improve the quality of life for their children.

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Kid goats!
Kid goats!

In order to facilitate long-term rebuilding and growth, Lambi Fund has been working with community organizations throughout Haiti on a variety of projects.  One such venture is with The Peasant Organization of Bige (OPB) to launch a goat breeding enterprise.  Lambi Fund has been training OPB members on modern goat breeding techniques, forage production and project management.  They have also built pens and enclosures for the goats to graze in.  Throughout Haiti’s countryside, goats are left to roam free and Haiti’s delicate environment is destroyed as a result.  These efforts to build pens and grazing enclosures are promoting Haiti’s environment while also providing the goats with all the food they need! …now isn’t this picture of two kid goats just the cutest?

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On this day, just two short years ago, tragedy struck and turned Haiti’s world upside down.  The impact of the earthquake on January 12, 2010 reverberated deeply throughout the country – forever changing each Haitian’s life.  More than just homes and office buildings were destroyed.  Over 300,000 lives were lost.  Each of these 200,000 had a name and a face.  They left behind sons, daughters, siblings, friends and loved ones to mourn their loss. 
 
We knew then that much like the aftershocks that continued to shake the ground for weeks following the quake - there would be several significant “shocks” that would rattle the already weary nation.  The work to rebuild would be difficult and would necessitate a long-term vision.  Rubble removal was slow and cumbersome, forming a team of international donors and government officials to oversee the millions of dollars in aid has been sluggish and ill-effective at best, long-term housing solutions continue to be a concern for the thousands that remain in tent cities and cholera arrived unexpectedly.  It swept through the city and countryside - taking nearly 7,000 lives and infecting over half a million individuals to date.
 
Amidst all of these trials, local Haitians are beginning to ask “Vè ki lè?”, or around what time [will the change come]?  Two years of talk and slow-progress.  The time is now and the Lambi Fund of Haiti is working with our partners to build a stronger foundation in Haiti from the ground up.
 
In order to make this call for progress a reality, several calculated strategies are in order:
  1. Continue to expand rural agriculture and increase local food production.  Lambi Fund currently has 17 projects ranging from goat breeding to community farming microcredits to grain storage underway in efforts to strengthen crop outputs and local food systems in Haiti.
  2. Provide technical training and capacity building to grassroots organizations so that they gain the skills needed to successfully and sustainably manage the business enterprises they are launching.
  3. Build latrines and rainwater cisterns in rural communities to help stem the flow of cholera while advocating for a comprehensive and improved water management system.
  4. Hire new staff and attend trainings from specialists in the field to enhance Lambi Fund’s core capacity in order to amplify programs and to work in partnership with communities on a more comprehensive and penetrating level.
  5. Bring human rights to the forefront of rebuilding.  The right to shelter, food and fair wages need to be prioritized.  Once there is a respect for people’s needs, we as a global community can more effectively mobilize to deliver results.
  6. Let the people of Haiti dictate their own future.  Give a voice to the poor majority and provide leaders of rural communities with opportunities for active participation in the decision-making and priority setting process for rebuilding Haiti.
These are not pie in the sky objectives.  These are obtainable goals that can be achieved through strategic partnerships and empowerment of the people.  While it may seem like a longshot to dream of equal rights and improved livelihoods for the many living in poverty, we at Lambi Fund live the hope.  We live to see people struggling make it.  We live to see that everyone has a fighting chance – that those who are down and out can one day sustain themselves.
 
The people of Haiti are strong and are carrying this immense struggle gracefully.  I urge you to stand up and stand with the people of Haiti: Advocate for the rights of all Haitians and demand that their voices are heard.   You can join Lambi Fund in helping to build a better tomorrow – this is the way to honor the loved ones lost.  Let hopes soar and Haiti rise again.  The time is now.

In remembrance of our beloved brothers and sisters,
 
Marie Marthe Saint Cyr
Executive Director

Links:

The Lambi Fund of Haiti just released its 2010 Annual Report.  Your support on the project "Lambi Fund Emergency and Long Term Relief" played a pivotal role in our response after the earthquake.  Click here to download the report to read how Lambi Fund mobilized grassroots organizations, pooled resources, and launched a strategic response post-earthquake to provide relief and to begin rebuilding in Haiti.

Be sure to take a look at the section titled "Looking Forward," which will give you a detailed description of Lambi Fund's strategy for rebuilding and looking towards the future in Haiti.

Most importantly, thank you for your kind generosity after the earthquake!  Your support has helped communities throughout Haiti regain their footing.

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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 Haiti

Where is this project located?