Deeply entrenched in wide-scale poverty, people in North Haiti’s Limbé Valley are left with few options beyond engaging in aggressive agricultural practices and felling trees for firewood and building materials. In the long-term, these destructive practices only serve to increase the economic...

A Green Revolution

Deeply entrenched in wide-scale poverty, people in North Haiti’s Limbé Valley are left with few options beyond engaging in aggressive agricultural practices and felling trees for firewood and building materials. In the long-term, these destructive practices only serve to increase the economic vulnerability of the people who practice them.

This Initiative partnered with five Haitian organisations to provide the resources and training needed to improve the economic, health and environmental wellbeing in the Limbé, Acul du Nord and Ounaminthe communities.


Interested to know more?
Subscribe to our mailing list for notification as new content is published.


Strategic Initiative

SECTOR

Economic Empowerment

TOTAL INVESTMENT

US$ 1,209,768

LOCATION

Haiti

LIVES CHANGED

65,734

SOCIAL IMPACT INDEX

62.4 (out of 100)

AVERAGE COST PER LIFE

US$ 18.40

Expand All

SI Breakdown:

Key Achievements

  • Land rescued from erosion – Over 170,000 trees were planted in Limbé and Acul du Nord, saving 78,448 square metres from erosion and enabling farmers and their families to start restoring their once green and productive land.
  • Improved health – 25,632 family members experienced improved nutritional health and thousands more gained increased access to rural health clinics. Over 10,000 community members gained access to clean water, latrines, nutritional supplements for their children and health education, leading to a 70% reduction in preventable diseases.
  • Increased women’s literacy – 1,712 women can now read, write and do basic maths thanks to a joint literacy and microcredit programme that has empowered women to improve their families’ wellbeing.
  • Improved access to microcredit – More people have opened formal bank accounts with cooperatives, banks or the microcredit providers, thanks to access to credit from the savings and loan programmes of FONKOZE and Floresta.
  • Increased yield for farmers – 1,545 farmers and their families participated in training to improve their farming techniques, leading to increased yields.

The Problem

An abundance of trees once characterised Haiti's landscape. Centuries of political struggles, natural disasters and poverty, however, have left an indelible mark on the once prosperous country. Haiti has a population of 9.9 million people that largely relies on agriculture for food and energy needs. Deeply entrenched in wide-scale poverty, people in North Haiti's Limbé Valley are left with few options beyond engaging in aggressive agricultural practices and felling trees for firewood and building materials. In the long-term, these destructive practices only serve to increase the economic vulnerability of the people who practice them. Haiti's heavy reliance on its land has led to deforestation that has exposed the land to catastrophic mud slides, further threatening the population’s ability to continue relying on the same land for its ongoing needs.

Solution

This Initiative partnered with five Haitian organisations to provide the resources and training needed to improve the economic, health and environmental wellbeing in the Limbé, Acul du Nord and Ounaminthe communities. An investment of US$ 1,020,104 over a three-year period was aimed at training farmers, youth and students on using better farming techniques, conserving the soil, and improving health through the use of clean water and latrines. The hilly landscape in these communities requires innovative farming techniques in order for the families that rely on the land to generate enough food for consumption and sale. The key is proper land management, while avoiding counter-productive farming practices that deplete the land of the essential nutrients needed for crops to flourish. A reforestation component was intended to improve the infiltration of surface water into this aquifer, reducing the risk of mud slides, poverty, hunger and food shortages, as well as spurring environmental restoration in neighbouring communities. Business skills training and loans were intended to boost women’s ability to run profitable small businesses, increasing their earnings and providing better living conditions for their families. At the end of Year 1, a community health intervention was incorporated into this strategic initiative, empowering a health centre with the resources needed to provide basic medical services to thousands of people. Applying an integrated approach utilising environmental, economic, and health interventions, the Initiative hoped to impact the overall wellbeing of the targeted communities.

Critical Analysis

The Initiative’s greatest strength lay in the integrated delivery of health, economic and environmental interventions. The concentration of financial and personnel resources over three years in a small area enabled communities to simultaneously access information and services that they need to improve their wellbeing. Over the past three years, these communities transformed themselves, and a micro-economy was created around the project area, boosting the growth of small businesses.

The November 2010 post-investment baseline study indicated that there was a marked improvement in the lives of the beneficiaries, particularly in living conditions. Increased secondary school and university enrolment also signal that parents are now able to afford the higher fees associated with these institutions, when compared to 2007. Reduced instances of water-borne diseases and improved hygiene were also noted in these communities. The programme’s three years have also proven that environmental restoration is possible in this area of Haiti, which serves as one of the most important aquifers in the country. The increased tree and shrub covering will improve the infiltration of surface water into this aquifer, reducing the risk of mudslides, poverty, hunger and food shortages, as well as spurring environmental restoration in neighbouring communities.

Some of the foreseen external risks, including natural disasters and political instability, were expected to impact the implementation of all the activities in this Initiative. Inflation also posed a risk, and the effects of the global economic crisis were also felt in Haiti, particularly affecting the ability of loan recipients to save and repay loans to the microcredit programme. Hurricane Tomás’ impact was mostly felt by the beneficiaries whose extended family members had lost property or their lives. The January 2010 earthquake posed an additional challenge to the Initiative, most severely affecting FONKOZE. The loss of staff in their headquarters in Port-au-Prince and damage to some of their branches crippled their operations for the first three months of the year. FONKOZE clients who were funded with loans through this Initiative lost merchandise and credit lines from suppliers in Port-au-Prince, whose stores were completely destroyed in the earthquake.

Lessons Learned

Successes:

Community of practice – This Initiative was one of the few that successfully maintained an active community of practice. The four organisations in Limbé met quarterly to share progress of their work, discuss experiences, and conduct peer reviews. The most important factors that triggered the viability of such an active community of practice include (1) the close geographical proximity of the organisations and (2) their shared focus on the same, small, manageable area of the Limbé Valley.

Changing mindsets – Through community health education and the services offered by its mobile clinic, Eben-Ezer influenced community members’ health and hygiene practices, resulting in a reduction of preventable diseases, such as diarrhoea. The increased harvests and improved farm productivity resulting from UCnH and Floresta’s environmental conservation and reforestation training of students, young adults and farmers influenced the larger community’s mindset regarding the importance of applying effective, sustainable farming techniques.

Completed baseline and impact evaluation report – This was one of the few initiatives that conducted both studies, before and after funding, enabling us to measure the real impact over the past three years. This provided us with an objective and evidence-based report of the Initiative’s impact and equipped the community with a document to use for seeking additional funding from other sources.

Challenges:

Natural disasters – The hurricanes in 2008 and 2009 and the January 2010 earthquake affected the entire country, and the Initiative’s partners were not spared. Such disasters impacted the entire nation, and these organisations did their best to respond without neglecting their commitment to their communities.

Economic and political instability – A high inflation rate in 2008 increased the cost of basic commodities, leading to riots, affecting FONKOZE’s clients’ ability to repay loans and affecting the project budgets. In 2010, the disputed presidential elections led to civil unrest, affecting plans to visit the project and to conduct the Initiative’s close-out celebration conference, which was rescheduled for February 2011.

Logistical challenges – In addition to financial and economic woes, the country’s poor infrastructure, such as pothole-ridden roads, has resulted in high transportation costs and long travel times. The earthquake damaged parts of the airport and major road infrastructure in the country, further complicating the transportation of goods, especially from Port-au-Prince to Limbé.

North Haiti Environment: Featured Projects

SII ScoreProject NameGrantLives ChangedCost Per LifeSector
72.00 Fondasyon Kole Zepol (FONKOZE)$250,02211,514$21.71
68.00 FLORESTA$281,7508,508$33.12
64.60 Université Chrétienne Du Nord d’Haiti (UCNH)$321,5003,573$89.98
57.00 Univers Medical Center$163,00031,674$5.15
50.40 Dispansaire Communautaire Eben-Ezer$186,08210,465$17.78
Note: The Social Impact Index Score reflects the relative social impact of a given development project. The lowest possible score is 20; the highest possible score is 100.

Keep Reading

  1. Strategic Initiative

    Northern Uganda Conflict Recovery

    LEARN MORE

  2. Strategic Initiative

    Ecuador Economic Empowerment

    LEARN MORE

  3. Strategic Initiative

    Ecuador Economic Empowerment

    LEARN MORE

^
TOP