Tree Angels for Haiti with students
In our last report, we told you that we were in the planning phase for the SPI Haiti Partnership Network stakeholder meeting. Well, it’s been three months and we’ve had to adapt our approach to respond to the reality of the situation on the ground.
One partner writes, “The environment in many rural areas was completely destroyed - all trees and plants destroyed. They are slowly growing back and being replanted, but in the meantime there is much less shade, more scarce environment, a huge lack of food security for rural communities that live off of the land, and ridiculous inflation...of the cost of living in general.”
Another partner writes, “The community of Leogane is mainly rural and depends greatly on locally grown produce and fruits. Already hit very hard by the 2010 earthquake, and hit annually by a multitude of floods and mudslides, [those living in] Leogane...haven’t been able to get back on their feet ever since."
Although centralized stakeholder meetings have been successful in other areas where we have a larger concentration of partners, this won’t work in Haiti. Hurricane Matthew not only destroyed gardens and the land to grow gardens, but in some areas, it completely erased an important component necessary for a stakeholder meeting: roads.
Roads that previously provided a direct route are now in bad repair, or washed out and closed to traffic. In some areas, a four-hour trip before the hurricane now takes a whole day. Logistics in Haiti were not easy before the hurricane. It became even more difficult after the storm, especially for those in rural areas.
Program Director Naima Dido has been working with our partners to reassess our approach and move forward in a way that is inclusive and efficient for everyone. Working with Stephany, a Haitian agronomist we met while she was visiting Asheville, we are coordinating the network by conducting partner interviews. These interviews will help us better understand each partner’s resources and support gaps, and how they can best to participate in the network.
Our aim is to:
- Identify partner needs, focusing on seed distribution and training
- Deepen our relationships with partners to improve our support role
- Strengthen partners’ capacity to share skills and information through collaboration with other partners
- Improve SPI’s understanding of our partners through one on training
After the initial interviews, we’ll group partners based on their current capacity and support gaps in order to plan future partner gatherings and stakeholder meetings in each Department (Haiti has ten Departments, which are similar to states).
Our partners continue to support their communities as we adapt our support approach. 24,300 packets have been sent since the last report and we’re happy with our progress in connecting partners on the ground with other Haitian-led groups that can provide longer-term support. It’s been eight months since the hurricane hit, and many partners are slowly shifting their focus from emergency response to rebuilding.
Our partner Tree Angels for Haiti recently told us a little about what they’re doing with the seeds: “We also have a component in our education program in which we teach the school children how to plant seeds and then provide seeds for them to grow at school as a class, and take to their homes to grow with their family.”
We’re always grateful and humbled by our partners and supporters. We hope you find inspiration in our partners’ accomplishments and continue to support this project as they rebuild their communities. Thank you!
Students learning how to plant seeds
Students planting SPI seeds