Disagreements among parliamentarians and political parties over who will serve in the new government have prevented Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis from presenting a new Cabinet and policy priorities (one of which is food security) on Tuesday as scheduled. As politicians bicker, the people struggle. The Miami Herald notes that school starts on September 1st and the fees will be out of reach for many. According to the USAID Famine Early Warning System (FEWS-NET), food security conditions are likely to deteroriate beginning in October due to the high prices of staple food crops, hurricanes, civil unrest, and high transportation costs. Having been four months without a functional government, it is long past time to make a deal and get to work.
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.
Copied below is a brief article in the Boston Globe written by Dr. Joia Mukherjee and Donna Barry, both of whom work for the Institute for Health and Social Justice at Partners In Health. Though short, the article cuts through many of the cliches we've seen so far on hunger in Haiti. The piece covers the long term historical reasons for food security, which is by no means new. It also notes how food "assistance" can cause more harm than good and the burden of Haiti's debt on this struggling, young democracy. With minimal tourism or industry, Haiti need its agricultural sector more than ever. But will developed countries let Haiti compete? A level playing field would be more important than any hand out for Haiti's long term development.
With an Agronomist for a President and now an Economist for a Prime Minster, we hope that the Haitian government will address the food crisis head on. The Government will need to articulate short term measures and a long term plan to the Haitian public, to donors, and the international community. Preval has spent a great deal of time talking about national production - but this will not be possible without halting and reversing envrinmental degradation. Fortunately, Haiti continues to draw support from major donors. This will allow the government some time to establish new policies and programs.
What will I need to make the A-frame? You will need three straight branches, two (of equal length) about 2 meters long and the third about 1 meter long; string to affix the branches together and a length to suspend the plum bob; and a plum bob, possibly a pointed rock or bottle weighted with small stones. You will also need numerous stakes to mark your contours across a hillside.