One Year after the Quake in Haiti
One year after the January 12th earthquake, food-for-work and cash-for-work projects supported by the World Food Programme (WFP) are promoting sustainable agriculture. This is providing Haitians with opportunities for real change.
Duvillon-Lagarde is a remote mountain community in Haiti’s Southeastern Department. Deforestation and erosion have left the villagers little to live on here.
Prone to natural disasters, the area has been severely affected by hurricanes and storms over the last decade. Many of the inhabitants consequently left for Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince in search for a living.
One of them is 28 year old Vanise Jean Pierre, widower and sole provider for two children. In Port-au-Prince, she scraped along as street vendor to support herself and her two children.
When the earthquake hit Port-au-Prince January 12th, Vanise lost everything she owned. Like many others, she had no other option than to return home to Duvillon-Lagarde.
A cash and food for work project launched a few months after the earthquake jointly between WFP and the Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO) is now providing Vanise Jean Pierre and the rest of the community with job opportunities it never had before.
In the short term, the project ensures the livelihood for hundreds of families through the creation of new jobs.
In the longer term, it helps community become self-sufficient through the creation of more sustainable agriculture.
The idea for the project came from the community itself. “We realized that we needed real changes if we were to break the vicious circle,” explains Gaston Cesar, local leader of Duvillon-Lagarde.
They asked for the support from the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme. In partnership with local authorities, the project includes building of dry walls in hill-side gullies and setting up watershed management systems.
The dry walls will prevent further erosion and enable the villagers to regain and cultivate their farming land.
In nurseries, sprouts and seedlings are being cultivated for transplanting.
Farming is the backbone of the Haitian economy. So, helping the country's rural areas is the key to recovery and long-term development.
WFP provides the food and cash needed to pay the workers in the project. For Vanise Jean Pierre this means that there is no need to leave Duvillon-Lagarde any longer as the food and cash she receives allows her to take good care of her family.
One year after the quake, WFP is feeding close to 2 million people each month in Haiti's 10 departments. The focus is on building long-term food security for Haitians through school meals, nutrition for children and young mothers, and support for rebuilding agriculture and the economy.