Haiti's Lambi Fund Awarded Grant from Major Marketing Firm
Last week, there was an announcement on Corbett's List that Lambi Fund had been awarded a grant by the Blue Print Creative Group. This grant will help them to cultivate brand awareness, increase volunteerism, and stimulate corporate and private donations. Americans are a generous people who make possible the work of scores of local and international organizations in Haiti. However, support is often more forthcoming for natural disasters than the heavy lifting (capacity building, civil society strengthening, livelihoods) that is needed to help people feed themselves, manage their own emergencies, and become active leaders, instead of just aid recipients, who can address social problems. We hope that this grant will help them get the word about what they do and why it is important.
Lambi Fund was founded in 1994 by Haitians and Americans. The organization states that its mission is to "...assist the popular, democratic movement in Haiti. Its goal is to help strengthen civil society as a necessary foundation of democracy and development. The fund channels financial and other resources to community-based organizations that promote the social and economic empowerment of the Haitian people."
The priorities of Lambi Fund are as follows:
I was very impressed that Lamb Fund contracted INFODEV to conduct an external evaluation of the impact of programs which they have supported. It is important for NGOs to measure the impact that they are having, not just to make programs as effective as possible, but also to be able to convey the difference their work makes and the need for support.
The evaluation notes that from 1993 - 2003, Lambi Fund financed 101 projects in agriculture, food processing, the environment, and micro-credit unions. Projects were identified by communities. In all, close to a million Haitians have participated in some way from these projects.
Most projects were implemented in The Artibonite (33%) the South (30%) and the West (16%). Seven percent of projects were implemented on the lower Central Plateau and in Nippes. I would very much like to see the Lambi Fund expand their operations into the Upper Central Plateau as well. The focus on the Artibonite and the South is explained by the presence of Lambi Regional Monitors (locally-based staff agronomists) and having the central office in Port au Prince, as most (but not all!) organizations do.
Benefits observed in communities implementing Lambi Fund supported projects included increased harvests (and thus household incomes), increased micro-enteprises, and a reduction in emigration. The agricultural advances came from simple interventions such as irrigation and crop diversification.
Concerning water, the construction of community cisterns was found to increase water availability and dramatically reduce the time needed for individuals (usually women and girls) to collect it. This is important given that Haiti is not just food insecure but in many parts of the country water insecure as well. Cisterns aren't cheap, but they are effective.
Interestingly, these projects also promoted better governance at the community level. Only 25% of organizations studied in the evaluation held periodic elections before their collaboration with Lambi Fund. Because of Lambi's Fund's democratic training program, this percentage surpassed 75%.
After reading that, I asked myself whether this included improved participation by women. Lambi Fund supported the development efforts of 68 community organizations - of which 16 (24%) were women's groups. The rest included men and women. As a case in point, the evaluation points out that one of their recipients (AKFB) had only 3 women in 1996 but 30 at the time of the evaluation. Women are also the main beneficiaries in the food processing projects. In the animal husbandry projects, women also played a significant role, being 36% of the participants in the pig husbandry training, for example.
Interested in learning more? The Lambi Fund has a blog, numerous case studies, and a good photo gallery. If their work resonates with you, click here to see how you can support their work. Of course you can make a donation directly but Lambi Fund also sells cds of Haitian music, apparel, and even bottles of wine from which Laurel Glenn will donate a portion of the proceeds. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to have one of their staff members speak at your church, Rotary Club, Community Organization, etc. There may be opportunities to volunteer both stateside and in Haiti.
In short, Lambi Fund is a very good organization that is bringing about change by promoting economic development, building capacity, and encouraging the growth of civil society. Hopefully, they will be continue to expand the number of communities they are supporting throughout Haiti.