Build Community-Run Enterprises in Rural Haiti

 
$2,576
$6,155
Raised
Remaining
Jan 12, 2012

"Ve ki le?"...Around what time?


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:

Oct 11, 2011

Lambi Fund's 2010 Annual Report

The Lambi Fund of Haiti's 2010 Annual Report is here!  Your support on the project "Rebuild Community-Run Enterprises in Rural Haiti" 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 community-run enterprises regain their footing.

Links:

Jul 8, 2011

Lambi Fund runs microcredit workshops

Lambi Fund led workshop
Lambi Fund led workshop

An important part of rebuilding after the earthquake has been providing rural communities with the capital they need to make investments in their economies and small business enterprises.  Funding community-led microcredit enterprises is just the beginning.  Lambi Fund has been busy running microcredit workshops that teach rural Haitians how to manage, lend money and operate these local credit funds.  Providing these organizational leaders with the bookkeeping and financial skills necessary to maintain a local microcredit fund is an essential competent in ensuring the fund is a sustainable service available to everyone in the organization.  An added bonus is that once these affordable loans are paid back, even more money is available to be loaned out to other members of the community to make purchases for their small business and farming needs.

Links:

Apr 11, 2011

Moving forward, one step at a time.

Member eating plantain chips made at the CPP
Member eating plantain chips made at the CPP

Communities in rural Haiti are hard at work rebuilding their lives post-earthquake.  The signs of recovery are small and sometimes easy to miss – but they are there.  Take for instance members of the Center for Plantain Propagation (CPP) in Northwest Haiti.  This cooperative of over 1,000 farmers is teaching members the cutting edge PIF method for cultivating and planting plantains.  This is allowing farmers throughout the region to harvest bountiful crops of plantains that they can sell in the markets. 

                Haitians are looking to strengthen their economic livelihoods after the earthquake and the CPP is a perfect example of how communities are working together and making this goal a reality.  Thanks to your support, the Lambi Fund of Haiti is continuing our partnership with the Center for Plantain Propagation and entering the next phase of the project.  Here, members are looking to increase the value of their goods by transforming raw plantains into processed goods like plantain chips - which they can sell at a higher price.  These tasty snacks are incredibly popular throughout Haiti and organization members have already began selling the chips at local schools and markets.  By supporting community-run enterprises like these, you are helping Haitians improve their livelihoods and strengthen local economies.  Now, this is where the rebuilding really begins!

An bucket of plantain chips ready to be sold
An bucket of plantain chips ready to be sold

Links:

Jan 14, 2011

There IS hope in Haiti

Tent cities in rural Haiti
Tent cities in rural Haiti

It has been one year since the earthquake in Haiti and Lambi Fund has been working hard with partner organizations to strengthen and rebuild community-run enterprises.  Please read the following one year report from Lambi Fund's Executive Director for updates on what Lambi Fund has been doing to provide relief and to rebuild in Haiti.

One year later. Three hundred and sixty-five days since the ground shook and forever changed Haiti. I thought a lot about what I wanted to say about the earthquake and my Ayiti Cheri as we take this day to remember and honor the loved ones lost.

Undoubtedly, countless news stories will air this week looking at Haiti’s journey this past year and how the rebuilding effort is progressing. To be certain, Haiti has had more than a tough go at things. The earthquake left Port-au-Prince and many cities in ruin, hurricanes flooded and damaged the south, cholera has mercilessly swept through the country leaving Haiti brimming with hardships, anxiety, and uncertainty, and Presidential elections held in November had chaotic outcomes. The entire election swirled with rumors of rampant fraud and ballot-stuffing and most viewed the entire process as illegitimate. When results for the run-off election were announced in December, riots and violence broke out in the streets of Port-au-Prince.

By most accounts, the rebuilding effort in Haiti seems stagnant. Tons and tons of rubble still litter Port-au-Prince’s streets, millions struggle to survive in tent cities, a comprehensive reconstruction plan still has not been agreed upon, and millions of dollars in aid money sits in banks. Despite these tough realities and the difficult road that Haiti must journey down, I would like for a moment to stop and offer a glimmer of hope. It seems that despite all this, life in Haiti goes on.

In 2010, the Lambi Fund of Haiti witnessed countless stories of heroism, peasant solidarity, recovery, and movements to envision, plan, and work to rebuild Haiti. While much of the media may paint Haitians as helpless victims, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, it is in the people where Haiti’s strength lies.

Immediately following the earthquake, Lambi Fund staff and its local partners were very much in the midst of the disaster. It took an agonizing six days to finally make contact with Lambi Fund staff in Haiti. Fearing the worst, Lambi Fund’s country director, Josette Perard, reported that the office just blocks from the presidential palace was damaged, yet miraculously all staff members were alive and healthy. Everyone though, had lost close friends and family.

Lambi Fund quickly sprang to action and thanks to years of working with local grassroots organizations throughout Haiti, it seemed Lambi Fund was uniquely positioned to provide immediate and effective relief. Partnerships with local organizations that Lambi Fund had been developing for over 16 years served as an essential network during this time.

Lambi Fund convened regional committees of local grassroots leaders throughout the country to determine immediate and long-term needs. Over a half million earthquake survivors fled Port-au-Prince to stay with friends and family in rural Haiti. Household sizes doubled overnight and for Lambi Fund partners already struggling to survive on less than $2 a day, they did not have the means to provide relief.

Based on these discussions, Lambi Fund was able to swiftly distribute emergency grants to 44 grassroots organizations to purchase life essentials like food, water, shelter and medical supplies. In all, 8,000-9,000 people received emergency relief (1,080 families received grants and each family had an average of 8 people).

Mr. Josephat, a member of a community organization in the Artibonite, 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."

Mr. Josephat's sentiments were echoed throughout discussions with other partner organizations in Haiti.

"My name is Ostazia. My husband and I have 10 children and we live in the North West. After the January 12, 2010 earthquake which destroyed Port-au-Prince, our household increased by 10 more people. This was extremely problematic as we did not have the means to care for them. It is thanks to my organization and the Lambi Fund that we got the relief we so desperately needed. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, THANK YOU!"

The Next Phase

Knowing that food security and restoring livelihoods for the thousands of survivors now living in rural communities would be essential, Lambi Fund’s second phase of relief focused on expanding crop production and the availability of locally produced food. An emergency credit was provided to 1,254 farmers in 41 partner organizations to allow them to purchase more seeds, tools and supplies to increase crop outputs and feed more families.

Based on reports from farmers, it is projected that about 10,000 persons benefitted from this program. By all accounts, communities generated bountiful harvests of peas, corn and vegetables for consumption and sale at local markets.

In addition, Lambi Fund replenished community microcredit funds to help small business owners purchase more goods and restart their enterprises. Two women’s groups in Port-au-Prince who fight violence against women and provide support for women’s small businesses lost everything in the earthquake. Women and their families have been forced to live in squalid conditions in tent cities. Lambi Fund worked with these women to provide small grants to start small businesses and to send their children back to school.

Looking Towards the Future

Never before has Lambi Fund faced a disaster of such a daunting magnitude and it is thanks to you and your amazing support in this past year that Lambi Fund was able to mobilize and provide such urgent relief. For an extensive breakdown of Lambi Fund’s earthquake relief, I ask you to read the Earthquake Activities Update on our website www.lambifund.org.

Haitian peasants are determined to be part of their country's reconstruction and thanks to previous Lambi Fund organizational development and capacity building — they are organizationally strong and ready to serve as a collected front to implement change.

In addition to continuing our support of sustainable economic and environmental activities, Lambi Fund has pledged to amplify the voices of the Haitian people and their determination to be included in this historic moment for nation building in Haiti.

In 2011, the Lambi Fund of Haiti is ready to implement the next phases of the Earthquake Recovery Plan:

  • Increase micro-enterprises with additional community microcredit funds.
  • Increase organic, locally-grown food and clean water with expanded sustainable agriculture, reforestation and water access projects.
  • Increase livelihoods with expanded sustainable development projects, such as pig and goat breeding, grain mills and sugar cane mills.
  • Build latrines to prevent spread of disease and increase sanitation in rural areas, as a result of rapidly growing population.
  • Expand women’s program to address the special needs of women (more vulnerable to domestic violence and sexual assault in tent cities but several organized women’s groups are standing up for the rights of women and children).
  • Support Policy Advocacy program to express voice of the Haitian people in rebuilding Haiti. As foreign corporations and governments jockey for rebuilding contracts, the Haitian voice has been neglected. Haitians must be involved in all facets of rebuilding.

People from rural communities are working together to increase sustainability in their communities and ongoing training in sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, and increasing organizational capacity will be key to long- term success. The Lambi Fund Earthquake Recovery Plan will continue in 2011 and beyond. Rebuilding Haiti is a long-term commitment for the Lambi Fund and we hope that you choose to take this journey with us. With your continued support, Lambi Fund and the people of Haiti can work to achieve sustainable communities and a vibrant Haiti.

Looking to the future,

Karen Ashmore
Executive Director
Lambi Fund of Haiti

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?