Friday, January 11, 2013

Looking Back: Three Years Later

Tomorrow is the day that marks three years since the earthquake shook the ground we walk on and forever changed the face of Haiti.  While it is much easier to look at the stumbles, falls and steps backwards that have been taken since the earthquake, I am thinking differently.  I am thinking instead about cumulative gain.

In spite of it all, when I look at the Lambi Fund of Haiti’s programs and talk with Lambi Fund’s program partners, I see progress and I see hope.

I see an organization that has more than doubled its projects since 2010.  I see communities that have transformed the way they care for their environment.  I see farmers growing more food and I see small merchants increasing their incomes and providing for their families.

In the past three years, Lambi Fund has worked hand-in-hand with 32 grassroots organizations and over 6,100 members throughout Haiti to provide them with not only the tools and resources they need to get back on their feet, but to help build a solid foundation for years to come.  

When you take the time to zoom in and look at specific communities and families, you will find substantial efforts that indicate change is coming.  Since the earthquake:
  • Three grain mills have been built that are providing entire communities with low-cost and high-quality milling services.  These mills have become commercial centers in their communities and 708 members of local organizations are working to manage and maintain the mills so that they are open for years to come.
  • Five ox-plow services have been launched that are plowing more land and increasing crop outputs - benefiting 276 members and numerous farmers in their communities.
  • Five goat breeding projects are being managed by 900 organization members who built pens, fenced in grazing areas, and learned how to breed the animals for a reliable source of income.
  • 634 members built three grain storage and seed banks that are allowing communities to store grains for the offseason and to sell local and organic seeds to farmers.
  • 17 community credit funds have been created impacting more than 2,200 members.  These locally managed funds are providing low-interest loans to rural Haitians so that they can invest in small-business enterprises and purchase more seeds and tools so that they can grow more food.
  • One tool bank was established providing 50 members and nearby locals with access to tools needed for farmers to work their fields more efficiently.
  • 44 members worked with Lambi Fund to launch one sheep breeding enterprise, which is allowing families to steadily increase their incomes.
  • In partnership with Lambi Fund, 89 members built and are managing a sugar cane mill that is transforming abundant sugarcane crops into more lucrative sugarcane syrup.
  • Three coffee cooperatives are enabling 1,548 members to grow more coffee and to process the beans into market-ready coffee.
  • 32 grassroots organizations have worked with Lambi Fund to build community-led nurseries and have planted hundreds of thousands of tree seedlings throughout Haiti’s countryside.
  • One irrigation canal is providing 150 farmers in an arid region of the country with a consistent source of water for their crops.
Despite these incredible triumphs, our work is by no means finished.  Everyone at Lambi Fund is looking forward to 2013 with newfound determination.  While we believe the tangible outcomes of these projects like increased incomes are important, it is the strengthening coalition of grassroots organizations that is slowly changing the tide.  Entire communities are seeing that they have the capacity, know-how and will to successfully manage community-led enterprises.   Through this, Haitians are realizing that, together, anything is possible. 

And with that, I leave you with this call to action in 2013: may we work harder, come together more than ever before and strive to build a Haiti that is just, fair and rich in love.  Let us do this in the name and remembrance of all loved ones lost on that fateful day on January 12, 2010.

Marie Marthe Saint Cyr
Executive Director
The Lambi Fund of Haiti

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