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Jatrofa Projenou

Things are at full throttle as Jatrofa Projenou helps rural communities meet the twin challenges of COVID-19 and a collapsing currency that is breeding hunger. To give you a sense of what we’re doing, here is a photo spread. All were taken in the past two weeks and sent to me in my weekly WhatsApp brief from the JP staff.

To remedy the lack of water to wash hands frequently at home, JP developed a hand-washing station to go along with its soap products. A trainer teaches a group of farmers about COVID19 and gives them masks, liquid soap, and handwashing stations for their households.

These Yellow Yam tubers are bound for planting. A true tropical yam (different from what we call a yam in the US), it produces harvests year after year without replanting. A harvested yam is nutritious, weighs 5-8 pounds, and can be stored for 3-4 months, making it an excellent and reliable food staple.

A single yam is planted in a deep pit, where it will develop into a large mass that can be harvested twice a year. It is back-breaking work, but farmers willingly do it to keep their families from hunger. It is also a good cash crop that grows family income.

A hillside is being planted with Yellow Yam where it will grow among trees, which are also being planted. Farmers use their own labor, but JP supplies the tubers, which are expensive (planting 1 hectare of tubers cost $750). Once established though, planting stock can be harvested for other farmers to plant.

(Right)A currency exchange graph shows a massive drop in the purchasing power of Haitian money against the US dollar since March. Inflation is increasing hunger, as the cost of imported rice outstrips what families can afford, underlining the importance of the effort to increase local food production.

(Left) New York Times, June 12, 2020

Taken together, all of these snapshots represent a work in progress that is improving the lives of people in need by helping them develop the resilience to withstand health and hunger challenges. The global pandemic is painfully teaching us an important lesson, that no matter where we live, we’re all in this together. Stay well.

Rob Fisher

Director, Partner for People and Place


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