Development is a somewhat difficult concept, both to understand and especially to implement. The full range of work in development done by CODEP is broad, and is all directed toward enhancing sustainability. Here are some of the ways:
Real Assets/NGO Status: Through the benevolence of our building partner, Building Goodness Foundation of Charlottesville, VA, we have been able to build approximately 90 homes for CODEP and non-CODEP members, plus a modern school facility. A project depot is expected to be completed in early 2013. These buildings greatly expand CODEP’s ability to broaden its efforts in the development of the skills of the people, enabling them to move much more quickly to building their own estates, and to become completely self-sufficient. This will allow CODEP to expand into surrounding areas, where there is much interest in joining and participating in the work of CODEP. This expansion could not have happened without the real assets donated to CODEP by BGF.
Improved nutrition and health: During the 23 years of CODEP there has been a marked improvement in health and hygiene. This, we believe, is largely due to improved nutrition, better water, more attention to such matters on the part of family leaders, particularly women and mothers. With the median age in Haiti of 16, providing for adequate hygiene and good nutrition is very important for young mothers and their children. CODEP takes pride in hearing, as we do from time to time, that CODEP people are among the healthiest in all of Haiti. (Such comments come from experienced US healthcare workers who visit Haiti to do clinics).
Micro-credit program: There are two sources of micro-credit available to CODEP workers. APKF (an association of peasants in two watersheds within CODEP) is a partner with CODEP and provides a variety of micro-credit opportunities to families and individuals within the CODEP area. While independent, APKF has an excellent repayment rate and loans typically are very small by US standards, but are of great importance to local people. For a $50 (US) loan, for example, a gardener can buy seeds and a few tools so that she can plant vegetables and sell the excess in the market, repaying the loan in 9 months at about a 1 % simple interest rate. Separately, CODEP animators can get loans to rent land for long periods and thus increase the footprint of CODEP’s forests and have viable products to sell once they mature.