Kettelyne (on left) harvests hot peppers
Haiti is one of the most food-insecure countries in the world, in large part due to soil infertility and erosion that impede farming. SOIL’s compost helps to restore the soil and raise crops that are healthier, can better sustain drought, and yield larger harvests. But this important work also requires the support and skills of Haitian famers.
In order to get the word out about our compost and to support the capacity of local farmers, SOIL regularly hosts university students for short-term agricultural internships. SOIL’s agricultural interns are all agronomy students at local universities who come to SOIL to fulfill their internship requirement during their last year of schooling. At SOIL they gain practical hands-on experience in lab work, research, and compost production, and some students design and execute experiments in collaboration with the SOIL agricultural department as part of their senior thesis project.
To better understand the potential impact of a SOIL internship, we interviewed some of our recent agricultural interns. Here are some highlights from those interviews:
Studying at University of Polyvalan D’Ayiti (UPH), Kettelyne is finishing her degree in Agriculture with a focus on Natural Resources. She was recently married and her husband studies agriculture as well. Kettleyne and her husband both plan to write their theses on the effects of SOIL compost. After her agricultural internship with SOIL, Kettleyne also returned to SOIL to learn how to construct SOIL’s EkoLakay toilets, and we’ve been seeing her a lot as these construction skills are winning her contracts with us to build more toilets!
Kettelyne said “The SOIL internship helped me so much. It also helps my school since other students have the chance to get hands-on experience with SOIL. It can be hard for students to get experience in the field, which is so important for an understanding of agriculture. I was really struck by the professionalism of the SOIL office as well - I didn’t expect to learn so much about professionalism.”
Julien graduated from the University of Roi Henry Christophe (URHC) and is working in an agricultural partnership with USAID/Avanse distributing plantain plants across the countryside. He also has his own personal farm that he works on with Marckindy, SOIL’s Agricultural Research Assistant.
“Julien works hard. I’m glad that we’ve continued collaborating together on our farm,” said Marckindy.
Stanley is finishing school at the University of Limbe (UCRHC) and is preparing to defend his thesis. He wrote his thesis on a cabbage experiment that he completed using several dosages of SOIL compost. Conducting this research helped Stanley refine his techniques for studying sustainable farming techniques, and he looks forward to sharing his results with Haitian farmers.
“I felt very comfortable at SOIL. My university really appreciated how this internship oriented me in my work.”
Selling eggplants grown on the SOIL farm
Comparing okra harvests