People in the area we serve are experiencing greater food and economic insecurity than usual, due to factors beyond their control, including massive crop loss from a year-long drought, 38% inflation, the political meltdown and the extreme income inequality that is related to it. In the face of this Jatrofa Projenou’s (JP) work in 2020 is centered on four programs.
Food Development Program
The bruising yearlong drought of 2019 showed us just how fragile Haiti’s food supply is. There is not enough to eat, families are hungry, and malnutrition is up. The situation has worsened due to steadily rising prices of imported food. Food is the ultimate economic asset. It is dependent on the land and farmers, and in turn, has foundational value to the local economy. Farm to table should be a short reach. By increasing crop diversity and improving farming methods, the Food Development Program is increasing the reliability and resiliency of the food supply, enriching the diet, and increasing farm income.
Land Conservation Program
The Land Conservation Program protects and rehabilitates the ecological and economic value of small farms, which are the dominant land use in Haiti but are ecologically degrading and under-achieving their potential to grow food and produce wealth. Unlike many reforestation programs, JP’s land conservation program works because it is based on the economic interests of farmers and the ecological reality of their land. Its methods are simple and easily understood by farmers and the success of one farm inspires others.
Livelihood Development Program
This program facilitates ways
that farmers in a community can work together for mutual economic benefit, such as setting up a manioc flour mill or making soap. JP is fostering a new attitude about what a small farm (10 -25 acres) and the communities made up of those farms can achieve by pulling together and building on their strengths, which includes a strong connection to and knowledge of the land, strong multi-generational families, and strong communities. Key parts of our approach are brainstorming ideas with farmers, testing their feasibility, facilitating cooperative arrangements, acquisition of equipment, setting up operational protocols, and finding markets.
Community Information Program
Listen, talk, share, have fun, help out, join in. This is the foundation of everything JP does in a community. This is the most human of things and when you do them right, projects succeed and communities come together to accomplish things that individuals cannot. In the small communities between Gran Basin and Perches we have regular meetings, occasional parties, connection to young people in the classroom and after school, and we hike up long paths to visit households to get acquainted. JP is trusted here, and as a result, has been recently able to trigger community cooperation on several projects: work on seven farms (175+- acres), a system of conservation belts on steep land, a model pole-production woodlot, a yam plantation/nursery, a pineapple nursery, a group exploring the idea of making guava into products, and an engaged youth group.
Director, Partner for People and Place