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New Grants

Fondation Haitienne pour le Maintien de la Paix Sociale/Partenariat pour le Développement Local (FOHMAPS/PDL), $364,315 over three years; counterpart committed, $259,680.

FOHMAPS, through PDL, its rural development program, will train 3,000 members of grassroots groups to manage agricultural, community health, conservation and micro-credit activities in Haiti’s North and Artibonite departments. It will develop the leadership that enables the groups to form larger organizations and become self-sufficient. (HA-216)

Supplemental Grants

Mouvement Paysan 3ème Section Camp-Perrin (MP3K), $115,000; counterpart committed, $40,500.

MP3K will develop a program to train farmers from the surrounding departments in the minisett method of yam propagation, will form a network of yam producers and will hire a marketing specialist to identify buyers who purchase yams in bulk. (HA-203-A4)

Fondation Festival Film Jakmèl (FFFJ), $79,650 over two years; counterpart committed, $270,910.

FFFJ will draft a fundraising and development plan that enables its Ciné Institute to continue to train young people to work in Haiti’s film industry. (HA-206-A3)

Oganizasyon KominotèFanm Veyon (OKFV), $17,860 over six months; counterpart committed, $3,550.

OKFV will finish building a seed-treatment and storage facility. (HA-209-A1)

L’Ecole de Fabrication Métallique pour les Démunis (EFAMED), $21,720; counterpart committed, $22,500.

EFAMED will work with graduates of its vocational school in Jérémie to organize a metalworking cooperative producing industrial doors, windows and gates, and agricultural tools. The project is expected to provide 50 young men a steady income; their products will benefit the entire department of Grand’Anse. (HA-215-A1)

Organizing for Change in Rural Haiti

Since August 24, Haiti has been buffeted by a series of natural disasters. Hurricane Isaac claimed human lives and destroyed crops, livestock, homes and tents. Cholera spiked soon after, a deadly reminder that clean water and adequate sanitation are a distant reality. Then in October, the Haitian government reported that Hurricane Sandy destroyed 70 percent of the remaining crops. Food is now more expensive than during the infamous riots of 2008. Farmers, who traditionally depend on their own production of bananas, beans and corn to get through hard times, say that winds and rain have swept away their safety net, and they are hungry.

It seems that Haitians constantly struggle with forces that converge to destabilize them. In the northern mountains, however, Partenariat pour le Développement Local (PDL) is helping residents take control of their lives and livelihoods. PDL works with communities and farmer associations to improve production, health, sanitation and the management of natural resources. Since its founding in 2009, it has helped form and train organizations in nine communities. With its IAF grant it will reach four more in the Artibonite and North departments.

In a country that is both the poorest in the Western hemisphere and the hemisphere’s major recipient of U.S. aid, PDL understands that development is as much about people as it is about money. Its strategy includes developing diverse pools of leadership and encouraging broad participation, both important to preventing the concentration of power in the hands of the few. PDL also helps communities discover assets. Before beginning work with any organization, PDL requires members to pool resource—labor, cash, seeds. “A lot of organizations came and loaned money. But the money leaves and people never really develop,” said Pastor Edwin Saint Val of Bailly, or Bay in Kreyol. Saint Val invited PDL to Bay to help residents address problems together. They formed Inyon Gwoupman Peyizan Bay (IGPB). It now has community organizers in health and agriculture and manages a credit program and a seed bank.

In fact, to date, PDL has helped six committees create their own seed banks. In one year, these distributed more than 74,000 pounds of beans, pigeon peas, peanuts, corn and rice to 3,500 families. And the seed banks continue to grow. With its IAF grant, PDL will help farmers develop a more reliable food supply through seed banks, credit programs and training in low-cost ecological farming techniques. It will teach families to build latrines, make household water filters and prepare for natural disasters; women’s groups will manage loan funds to capitalize their economic activities. Eventually PDL envisions a network of grassroots groups that will learn from one another, work together to protect their rights and resources, build economies and, most importantly, have a voice in the decisions that impact their lives.

—Jenny Petrow, IAF representative