Lambi Fund of Haiti

The Lambi Fund's mission is to assist the popular democratic movement in Haiti. The Lambi Fund provides financial resources, training and technical assistance to peasant-led community organizations that promote the social and economic empowerment of the Haitian people.
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:

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:

Nov 22, 2011

Flooding in the South Causes Difficulties

Flooded streets of Les Cayes
Flooded streets of Les Cayes

In October of 2011, the Lambi Fund of Haiti’s board and staff members planned to spend three days in Southern Haiti to visit grain mills, sheep farming and ox-plowing projects.  The plan was to stay in Les Cayes and travel daily to different project sites located in neighboring rural communities. 

Unrelenting rains offered visitors a unique opportunity to understand how accelerated deforestation affects the realities of partner communities and Lambi Fund staff.

The first site visit to The Organization of Good Samaritans (OBS) was a suspense-filled journey as board and staff traveled on flooded roads, apprehensively watching the water levels rise as they moved further inland.   The visit to this thriving grain mill (first funded by Lambi Fund eight years ago) had to be curtailed because of the risk posed by rapidly rising waters. 

Staying in Les Cayes, a town of about 100,000 citizens, did not prove more comforting. Following three days of steady rainfall, cresting rivers and swollen ravines flooded the city and its surrounding rural communities.

Waist high flood waters in both rural and urban areas drove home the point that deforestation impacts Haitians on a regular basis.

For Lambi Fund staff, especially the regional coordinators, visits to project sites have become increasingly risky propositions, particularly during the rainy season.  Roads become impassable at a moment’s notice, and journeys quickly turn life-threatening for staff traveling by car or motor bike.

So how does deforestation impact flooding?  While statistics vary, most agree that tree cutting has reduced Haiti’s tree coverage from 1-4%.  The resulting erosion of Haiti’s mountains has destroyed an estimated two-thirds of the country’s fertile farmland. This loss of trees has meant that arable soil, anchored to the land by their roots, is quickly washed away during the rainy season.

Consequently, without any soil and roots to hold water, a normal amount of water are not absorbed.  As such, rainy seasons have turned Haiti into a landscape of overflowing rivers - carrying with them valuable top soil and causing immeasurable damage.

While the world holds its breath when forecasted hurricanes approach Haiti, not much attention is paid to the impact of the rainy season on farming communities. 

For Lambi Fund’s partners, deforestation has transformed the rainy season from a much awaited source of irrigation to a season fraught with danger, one engendering unanticipated losses and devastation.

This was witnessed in the recent visit to the South, where some organizations lost 50% of their crops and about 80% of pastures for sheep were destroyed.  This means that farmers, who accessed credit from the community-run mutual credit funds, will experience great hardships.  Their repayment plans often hinge on the anticipated sale of crops.  Meanwhile, sheep growers’ profitability is jeopardized since they will be forced to reinvest in the purchase and preparation of animal feed.

As this vulnerability becomes more apparent, appreciation for Lambi Fund’s reforestation efforts has grown.   Partners have responded by participating enthusiastically in training workshops offered on reforestation and seedling cultivation.  Members of organizations work collectively to build nurseries, care for seedlings, and replant young trees on their lands and in vulnerable watershed areas.

 For the past ten years, Lambi Fund has been steadfast in its comprehensive, grassroots-driven reforestation efforts.

In addition to including a reforestation component in all   funded projects, Lambi Fund has incorporated environmentally safe practices in other programmatic activities, most notably animal husbandry. Free grazing has been identified as a significant cause of deforestation and environmental degradation, particularly when goats and sheep are allowed to feed on young trees and seedlings. As a result, all Lambi Fund supported animal husbandry projects build enclosures where animals are kept.  The offered workshops show farmers how to grow and preserve the forage needed to keep their animals well-fed and healthy even during the dry season.

Over the course of 10 years, Lambi Fund partners have prepared over 1.5 million seedlings and have planted 1.2 million tree saplings. It is estimated that 60% of these trees survive, meaning that about 720,000 trees have matured in communities throughout Haiti. 

Lambi Fund also has plans to hire an agronomist with expertise in agro-forestry who will oversee all reforestation projects.  In addition, staff members are exploring the use of grassroots-friendly GPS technology to better document the impact of Lambi Fund’s reforestation projects.  Mapping reforestation progress will better allow Lambi Fund to see the strengths and weakness regarding tree planting efforts – allowing staff to enforce and adapt strategies as needed.

In spite of the daunting challenges presented to farmers by deforestation, they are not losing hope.  Clermont Yogane Enold, a twenty-something farmer of the Association of Youth from Tet-Kole Bedo, summarized it most eloquently. When asked what they would do to address the losses sustained in the floods he replied: “We cannot give into despair, we will work the land, plant trees and grow our crops once again....” 

Links:

 
   

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