Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming elections, one hopes that promoting agriculture and rehabilitating the environment will be high priorities for the next administration. Countries that import the majority of their food staples, as Haiti does, are vulnerable to price shocks when international food prices increase. Rural development depends in large part upon making agriculture viable again. This will require tackling environmental degradation, improving disaster preparedness, upgrading infrastructure and resolving long simmering land tenure issues. These challenges are difficult but not insurmountable.
Project Medishare, Lambi Fund, HELP Haiti, and FAVACA are all organizations making a difference in Haiti. For the second year, a fundraiser at the Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami will benefit each of them. The event, which will take place on November 17th, features Haitian American writer, Edwidge Danticat, winner of the 2009 MacArthur Genius Award. It promises to be an excellent event, stop by if you can. More information below.
Lambi Fund is a respected NGO that supports Haitian community groups that are non violent, non partisan, and community based. At the 2009 Haitian Diaspora Unity Congress, Leonie Hermantin, Deputy Director of Lambi Fund, was given the 2009 Community Service award. Lambi Fund is involved in a number of different sectors, but it is really their work in sustainable agriculture and reforestation that won her this honor. Past recipient of the award include Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald and Wyclef Jean of the Yele Foundation. If you would like to learn more about Lambi Fund, attached is their 2008 annual report. The environmental and agricultural sections are copied below.
The Florida Association of Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas (FAVACA), the Lambi Fund of Haiti, and Project Medishare would like to invite you to participate in a joint fundraiser that will be held at the Coral Gables Congregational Church on November 14th at 6:30. The event will feature a keynote address by Calvin Hughes, WPLG Morning News Anchor. There will also be music and a silent auction of Haitian art. If you can attend, please RSVP at 304-448-7421. The address is 3010 De Soto Blvd in Coral Gables, Florida across from the Biltmore Hotel.
Although the floodwaters have receeded, Haitians in hurricane affected communities are still at risk. Standing water creates an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos that carry malaria and other diseases. For pregnant women and children, a mosquito net can be a life saving, yet cost effective, intervention. Partners in Health (PIH) has launched a campaign to purchase and then distribute 10,000 long lasted insecticide treated mosquito nets. Supporting this effort is a tangible way to help Haiti during the recovery process.
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.
One must be entrepeneurial to survive on less than a dollar a day. A wide variety of organizations throughout the world are using microfinance, the provision of small loans, to tap this entrepeneurial spirit and help rural women improve their livelihoods. Pioneered by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, this pro poor model has been proven effective again and again in India, Rwanda, Haiti, and elsewhere. The number of organizations offering micro-credit in Haiti has grown considerably but there is still a need for expansion.