Donate Now to help the people of Haiti.
Oct 18, 2016
John Winings, our Special Advisor to CODEP, has recently returned from a four day visit to Haiti. He reports that while the winds ripped off the leaves and fruit from the trees, the CODEP forests are still standing. Importantly, the run-off from the storm was significantly affected by the trees. While many bridges from Leogane and points west were knocked out by flood waters, the Cormier River below CODEP did not breach the bridge, and the bridge held. The water was contained in the soil and mud slides were prevented. What a testament to the importance of reforestation!
The winds, however, did rip out banana and plantain trees and the gardens with Congo peas (beans) which were about to be harvested. There will be a significant food shortage in the area in a month or two as a result.
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Martha Johnson Chair of the Board, Haiti Fund, Inc.
What Really Works in Haiti?
Development buzz words like low-carbon forests, bio-solutions, sustainability, green energy aside… let’s get to the straight talk.
When people are first exposed to Haiti, they see poverty, filth, exposed sewage, millions of tossed plastic bottles, lack of infrastructure, government instability, etc… and wonder "How did things get this way?" For experienced Haiti watchers, the question becomes, "What can possibly make a lasting difference for this country?"
Some have called Haiti a relief republic, meaning they are sustained through the relief efforts of other countries – in response to such disasters as hurricanes, droughts, political unrest, famine, flooding, mudslides, and of course earthquakes. But, when the aid stops, Haiti remains dependent.
We have all seen non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and faith-based teams come into Haiti to relieve the burdens by building orphanages, schools, and churches and other worthy projects such as short term infrastructure fixes – wells, sewers, latrines… All of these are noble efforts and many of them provide a great help to Haiti.
But such efforts have not had a long term impact on the population. So the question remains – what really works in Haiti?
When you speak with Haitians they will say they need jobs, not our money. This is true throughout the country. In rural Haiti, agriculture is the only industry – yet there are few farming jobs. So, why don’t they farm in the rural areas, and why do young people leave the countryside and head to the congested capital city of Port-au-Prince?
Before discussing this, consider the following issues:
- 98% of the trees are gone in Haiti. Deforestation causes loss of soils, so farmers can't farm.
- Even when trees are replanted, farmers can feed themselves, but need a way to market their excess products to achieve true economic independence.
- This road to independence is at risk without further education, leadership development, and entrepreneurship training.
For the past 23 years, CODEP has worked in partnership with rural Haitians to respond to these issues.
- Reforestation has re-created verdant, productive land throughout the CODEP area.
- 30 community work groups pool their products and work together to market them under the CODEP brand name.
- Community education support, leadership development and the Haitian CODEP management team all help enhance CODEP and its communities.
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