District 7750 Haiti Project Updates
Partners in Agriculture / Zanmi Agrikol and Rotary
The Rotary project in Haiti is a perfect example of a successful and sustainable long term project aimed at helping the rural population of the Plateau Central achieve a greatly improved standard of living but also a degree of independence allowing them to provide for their families and communities through their own efforts in managerial and technical improvements, and demanding individual participation and contributions towards success.
Rotary had first determined that to send food aid to Haiti the best way of doing that was to send rice parcels in containers to be distributed to various sites. It was then suggested that if they were to help fund an agricultural program that would not only help farmers grow their own food but improve and introduce up to date methods of farming, and become an investment in their future wellbeing.
This program, known as Partners in Agriculture or Zanmi Agrikol is now successfully farming over 100 acres with vegetables and peanuts which are used in a nutrition program treating over 27,000 children suffering from malnutrition, has approximately 250 Partnership Planters who also provide peanuts, corn and beans for the nutrition program, has instigated a Family Assistance program helping over 1250 families who have children and family members suffering from malnutrition, formed Community Kombits to help share the work load in the communities where families are located, presented formation and training programs to educate farmers and families in things such as environmental awareness, protection and planting of trees, rotation, correct planting methods, ways to combat erosion, protection of water sources, animal husbandry and how to protect the family income in times of crop failure, marketing procedures and correct nutritional elements for children and elderly members of the family.
Rotary has been working alongside all of these projects with the supplying of irrigation pumps and hoses, machinery for the transformation of agricultural products in to Nourimanba and Nourimil the RUTF used in the malnutrition program, providing a truck for transport of goods and farm produce, and has recently become a major provider of material for the new Trade and Agriculture school, Centre de Formation Fritz Lafontant – CFFL
In response to the urgent need for a quality trade school and agriculture program in the Plateau Central, Zanmi Lasante, Zanmi Agrikol and the Episcopal diocese of Upper South Carolina, has just built and opened the first Center of its kind, offering to the residents and young students graduating a first class education in Construction, Woodworking and Agriculture. 75 students are now studying in their incredible surroundings, with equipment and fixtures up until now unseen in Haiti.
Rotary has provided computers for the computer IT Lab, tools for both workshops and the agriculture program, lockers for students, a filtered water system for the entire building, desks and chairs to furnish the classrooms, some equipment and stools for the new and only soil science lab in Haiti, and most recently another pump and irrigation system for newly acquired land, which will go in to production in the fall.
Rotarians have given of their time and talent and treasure with trips to Haiti to help and participate, funding the various projects, and in supporting school scholarships for students who are unable to find the necessary funds to attend the CFFL.
Without a doubt, the success of these programs underlines the importance of continued and sustainable elements in any help project undertaken, where, over time a real difference can be made to so many, and the long term benefits on the receiving end can be calculated by the growing numbers of independent families now able to care for their families, who have an education in rural affairs and who have become community leaders, helping their neighbors and friends to also work their way out of abject poverty and into a life where they can hold their heads high in the knowledge that they themselves, even though having been assisted, have been responsible for the turnaround in their lives.
Surely this is the real goal for all serious ‘Help Projects’.
Thank you Rotarians!
Rotary year 2011-2012 has been a good year for the International involvement of our Club and District.Three Matching Grants have been approved and funds received totaling $75,000
The grants were for Zanmi Agrikol/ Centre de Formation Fritz Lafontant (Vocational School) situated in Corporant Haiti on the Agriculture farm.
- The first grant was for tools and equipment for the teaching of courses in Construction and Agriculture.
- The second grant was for furniture and equipment in the school.
- The third grant was for Computers (24)
A fourth grant is being prepared for Laboratory equipment for the classes in Earth sciences and Environmental science.
The school construction was started in 2009 and completed in time for the dedication and official opening on the 12th. March.
75 students have been accepted into the Initial Class, each course is for two years on an accelerated basis.
Each student is expected to find $1,000 for tuition the balance of $1,500 is provided through scholarships and funds being raised as the average student comes from families without resources.
The School is the only Vocational/Trade School with a full curriculum outside of Port a Prince.
The need for this facility became apparent and needed following the massive earthquake on January 12th. 2010 exposing the poor construction methods used in Haiti causing the loss of life of many thousands of its citizens. The food supply has not been adequate for decades as indicated by the number of children succumbing to malnutrition. 4,000 children admitted to clinics in 2004, 40% of who perished. In 2011 the number admitted reduced to 500 due to the food medication “Nourimanba” produced on the ZL farm.
Both the farm and School are managed and worked by Haitians trained especially for sustainability of the projects and self-sufficiency.
The Haitians are very thankful to Rotary for the assistance and guidance provided over many years in this the poorest region in the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
A great big thank you to all Rotarians in our Club and our District.