We are pleased to share three new videos about our work in Haiti:
After addressing the most immediate needs in Port-au-Prince after the January 2010 earthquake, Catholic Relief Services initiated projects to develop rural economic opportunities for small-scale farming families and reduce the pressure to migrate to the already stressed capital in search of a better living.
The CRS Mountains to Market program works with more than 5,000 coffee and mango producers in the southern peninsula of Haiti to increase their income and improve the management of their natural resources for the long-term sustainability of their crops. In the region of Beaumont, CRS supports six coffee cooperatives through training on better farming practices that improve coffee yields; ways to diversify their crops for year-round income; leadership and business skills; and assistance in accessing more profitable markets.
While Beaumont is traditionally a coffee growing region, low coffee prices, political and environmental shocks have threatened the production of coffee. Coffee growers have formed cooperatives to take the lead in their community and preserve coffee as a viable way to make a living. To fetch a better price for their coffee, the cooperatives are taking their first steps to sell coffee directly to buyers and eventually receive their Fair Trade certification. During M2M's first year, a strong foundation has been built to address ongoing challenges that have the community faces.
You can purchase this coffee through Providence Coffee, a CRS Fair Trade partner.
Helping women entrepreneurs fight hunger
Through the USAID-funded Multi-year Assistance Program, CRS takes a comprehensive approach to reducing hunger in Haiti through education, health and agriculture projects. As part of this programming, CRS supports integrated agricultural development and food security projects targeting smallholder farmers. Through agriculture programs, farmers become better business people by learning the value of each step in the supply chain, from farm to market, and building linkages in the supply chain to support the production and marketing of their products.
Cassava is a high energy carbohydrate, making it an important food security crop in Haiti. Particularly when bad weather and poor harvests cause shortages of basic grains, cassava plays an important role in the Haitian diet. CRS provides farmers training on good farming practices through the use of demonstration plots and access to higher yielding varieties of cassava to improve production. With farmers achieving higher yields, CRS has trained a local women's group to develop a business selling cassava bread as a way to generate additional income for their families.
Reducing water-related risks
Water is critical for the well-being of Haitian families: for domestic use, such as drinking, bathing, cooking, and ensuring good health; and for productive use, such as irrigating crops and feeding livestock.
Every 3–4 years, southern Haiti is faced with flooding, hurricanes or other disasters linked to water and water management, which can causes loss of life, destruction of food and agriculture, damage to homes and infrastructure, and increased rates of water-caused disease such as cholera. By planting trees and building other protective measures on Haiti's hillsides, communities can slow the flow of water during flood events, and thus protect their lives and livelihoods, their homes, their agriculture and their important water points. Through good water management, including sanitation and hygiene, families can also increase their access to clean water.
CRS' "Watersheds for Well-Being" ("Bassins versants pour le Bien-Etre," or B4B) project works with the local government and community organizations to identify and protect important water points. Through B4B, CRS trains farmers to protect their hillsides and water sources through tree planting and sustainable agriculture. The project provides clean water to communities, and CRS’ local church partner trains communities in water management, hygiene and sanitation. B4B's first year has been a pilot year to establish a successful model for good watershed management. The challenge now is to scale up and improve upon these advances to ensure that communities are able to reduce their risks from water-caused disasters.
What else have we achieved in Haiti?
CRS has provided support for rubble removal, shelter construction, community resettlement, camp closures, medical care, cholera response, water and sanitation, education, livelihoods and more. Click here for a summary of our work in Haiti since the earthquake.
Posted on January 11, 2013