Overcoming Obstacles in Haiti

Written by Plant With Purpose on June 13, 2016 in Annual Report, Overcoming Obstacles

Plant With Purpose partnering families are overcoming some tremendous obstacles. From imposing politics, ethnic tensions, limited resources, lack of services, and feeling emotionally defeated, roadblocks to brighter futures present themselves at every turn.

Yet, as Plant With Purpose walks alongside vulnerable families, reality is changing. Despite the obstacles, hope is breaking through as lives and land are transformed.

Obstacles in Haiti

Due to global El Niño weather patterns, Haiti is experiencing a devastating drought that is impacting millions. Over the past three years, the ongoing lack of water has caused around 3.6 million people to become food insecure and 1.5 million to become severely food insecure. The World Food Programme provides a comprehensive assessment of the situation in Haiti.

Many across the country have responded to this tragic time through implementing crisis, stress, and emergency coping strategies. Although these strategies are seemingly beneficial, they will often have reverse long-term effects, making Haitians even more vulnerable for potential crises in the future. These coping tactics include lessening their diet, spending savings, and selling their homes or their land. With agriculture normally being one of Haiti’s strongest assets, many have been forced to turn to other options in order to overcome hunger and poverty.

The sustainable agricultural techniques that Plant With Purpose teaches are lessening the impact of the drought for partnering farmers. Mulching helps keep moisture in the ground. Trees increase humidity. Diversifying the crops farmers plant provide some reassurance of crop survival for food and to sell as income.

Village Savings and Loan Associations are helping with money management during times of crisis. This past quarter Plant With Purpose Haiti established 34 new savings groups and strengthened 152 existing groups. These 186 groups together represent a total equity of $381,899. Plant With Purpose households are saving a higher percentage of cash when compared to nonparticipating households. Investing in the next generation and the spiritual growth of partnering families is further helping to overcome obstacles.

Educating the Next Generation

The most recent impact evaluation shares that participating households in Haiti are 20 percent more likely to sending their daughters to secondary school compared to nonparticipating households. This represents 228 girls receiving an education—an indicator of financial stability.

Partnerships with 27 schools are engaging students in environmental restoration projects such as grafting trees, composting, and managing waste. “When we work with school children, it is not only to demonstrate to the kids, it is also so they can go home and influence their parents. It is another form of sustainable development,” shares Plant With Purpose staff member Edvard Joseph. An informal survey suggests that 80 percent of the students at Henry Christophe School taught their parents composting following lessons at school. This technique reduces household costs while restoring soil.

Students are learning the importance of saving through Village Savings and Loan Associations. These youth VSLAs model adult groups and are completely self-managed. As savings accumulate, loans are withdrawn. These young entrepreneurs have used loans to purchase seeds for planting, buy candy to resell to classmates, and provide capital for parents’ businesses.

Growing Faith

Jesumene Pierre, a VSLA member and farmer, shares, “Plant With Purpose is a model of empowerment.” Jesumene has seen great improvements on her farm yet the most encouraging transformation is her faith. She explains, “Plant With Purpose is the first institution to come to Fonds-Verrettes and teach us about God. They gave me a Creole Bible. Before, I couldn’t understand the Bible readings in church because they were in French. Thanks to Plant With Purpose, I now read, understand, and practice the Word in my life.”

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The Reversing Deforestation and Redemptive Agriculture sections originally appeared in the 2015 Annual Report. View the complete report here.

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