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 14, 2011

Haiti: One Year Later

Tent cities in rural Haiti
Tent cities in rural Haiti

Its been one year since the earthquake and Lambi Fund has been working hard to help displaced families get back to work.  Please read the following earthquake report from Lambi Fund's Executive director for updates on Lambi Fund's work this past year.

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:

Dec 20, 2010

Moving forward after the earthquake

Grassroots meeting in rural Haiti
Grassroots meeting in rural Haiti

As we approach the end of the year, Lambi Fund is happy to say that pig breeding in partnership with 55 members in Kasis, Haiti is right on track!  The community organization has received training on organizational management, pig breeding skills, and general animal care.  Members of the organization have worked to build animal pens to prepare for the animals once the pigs have been purchased.

Thanks to your much needed support, Lambi Fund is now entering the final phase of this project.  Local pigs will be purchased and group members will begin their pig breeding enterprise.  This is the truly exciting part of the project, where all of the community’s hard work, preparation and training can be used to achieve a positive outcome!  Help Lambi Fund reach its goal of purchasing 27 pigs and help Haitian peasants in Kasis begin an economic enterprise that will increase household incomes and improve livelihoods. 

This holiday season, the gift of a pig truly is priceless.  The sale of piglets in the local market is an opportunity for a better future.

Links:

Nov 24, 2010

11 Months Later, Recovery Continues in Haiti

Children in rural Haiti
Children in rural 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.

Links:

 
   

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