Global Staff Spotlight: Jean-Marie Désilus

Written by Plant With Purpose on September 30, 2014 in General, Staff Spotlight

Plant With Purpose’s in-country programs are run by nationals who are highly talented and bring a passion to serve the people of their countries. Over the next couple of months we will be highlighting some of these individuals who make up our diverse Plant With Purpose team. Jean-Marie Désilus is an agronomist in Haiti.


Jean-Marie Désilus stands with fellow Plant With Purpose staff members.
He is in the back row, blue shirt.

Jean-Marie Désilus began working for Plant With Purpose Haiti 17 years ago. While he was a high school teacher at Saint Matthias Parish, Father Wilfrid Albert submitted his candidature to Plant With Purpose when they began working in the community. In May 1997 Jean took his experience as an agronomist and began his position as a director.

Jean-Marie Désilus is motivated by the transformation he sees in the lives of partnering families. Jean recalls one family in particular. Marie Lucie Pauléus was a widow who struggled to provide for her family after the death of her husband. Out of her three children, Marie could only afford to send one to school. Although she had 1.29 hectare of land, she didn’t know how to produce profitable crops. Because of Plant With Purpose, she learned how to steward her land well to produce bountiful crops. Through participating in her community’s Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) she learned the value of savings and received loan. Soon she was able to pay all three of her children’s school fees. Her participation in the savings group taught Marie how to restore her land and provide food and an education for her kids, even in a time of grief and loss.

“God is the architect of Creation. He gives models. Plant With Purpose thought that if we could let men know they are the stewards chosen by God, they will be aware of their responsibilities [to the environment].”

Marie’s community of Cornillon experienced the transition from despair to hope as a result of their collaboration with Plant With Purpose. Jean remembers that community members from Cornillon used to avoid planting trees out of fear that the Haitian government would take away the newly forested land. Despite this threat, Plant With Purpose encouraged community members to plant trees, which measurably increased the number of planted. By overcoming their fear and doubt, these farming families are healing their land and providing a hope for a sustainable future. For Jean, testimonies like these are reminders that his daily commitment is making a difference.


Plant With Purpose Haiti staff talk through program strategy.

As evident in his stories, Jean supports a holistic approach towards sustainable development. He says, “God is the architect of Creation. He gives models. Plant With Purpose thought that if we could let men know they are the stewards chosen by God, they will be aware of their responsibilities [to the environment].” As Jean explained, each component of Plant With Purpose’s three-part approach cannot work together without God ultimately being at work. And testimonies from families speak to the work of Jean and Plant With Purpose, as people are empowered to heal their land, cultivate the culture of savings, and embrace a God-given hope for their future.

Plant With Purpose is celebrating its 30th anniversary and Jean leaves us with this encouragement, “Plant With Purpose Haiti is managed by an inspiring staff. It is blessed because it is accomplishing tremendous work and its impact is very visible in the communities. The demand to partner with Plant With Purpose increases day by day. I think God, the farmers, and the staff are very happy for the work Plant With Purpose is doing to establish [His] Kingdom on Earth.”

Help staff members like Jean reach additional communities by supporting our 30th anniversary campaign “Give to Grow.” For $1,000, rural families can establish a fully functioning, income-generating farm on their property. Any size gift will help! 

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