“Never doubt
that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
—Margaret Mead
(1901-1978)
Anthropologist
 
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Current Project: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Ganthier, Haiti

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Project’s Focus

EcoWorks International (EWI) has initiated the Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Ganthier, Haiti Project in response to the dire needs that are prevalent in Haiti and in conformity with the priorities established by the Haitian government.  The Project’s aim is to establish a comprehensive program that will turn around this destitute area and transform it into a viable and sustainable community.  Ganthier, a ‘commune’ (a town made up of small villages) of 80,000 inhabitants is located east of Port of Prince between Croix-des-Bouquets and the Dominican Republic.

Though the Project will serve the entire population, its first emphasis will be to help single women who are sole providers for their families.  They are the mainstay of rural communities. Often, they are responsible for raising their own children and those of their relatives who died due to an egregious lack of access to healthcare. Each such family unit may comprise 4-6 children that are raised by one woman, and often on less than one dollar a day.

Project’s Goal and Components

The project’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty. To achieve this EWI has adopted a holistic approach based on the following three pillars:

A Regional Economic Growth Engine

  • An income producing 20,000 laying hen Egg Farm (priority)
  • A Cooperative to train, support and mentor independent egg farmers
  • An Entrepreneurship program for adults and youth to create new income generating businesses and create jobs in different sectors so as to diversify the economy. Also, to channel youth toward positive endeavors.
  • A Revolving Fund for farmers and entrepreneurs
  • Public information programs to increase egg consumption, particularly among the very poor to stem malnutrition

A Community Building Program

  • Access to education for children from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • A Montessori-based education program to enable children to thrive in becoming self-directed, self-reliant, independent thinkers who will respect themselves, other human beings and the environment, and who will be the change agents transforming the rural communities they come from.
  • An education program to bring children who have never been in school to their respective grade level
  • Adult Literacy
  • Vocational Training
  • Access to healthcare, including vaccination
  • Access to social services
  • Infrastructure: funded in part by the EWI Community Development Fund will focus on building schools, clinics, wells, etc.
  • Additional classes in parenting skills, nutrition, hygiene
  • Partnerships with other NGOs and community-based organizations

Environmental Stewardship

  • Protection of the Environment and Management of Natural Resources, especially in relation to immediate consequences of deforestation during hurricane season
  • The Egg Farm will use green building principles and materials; solar energy; water management; transform chicken waste into fertilizer.
  • Reforestation; urban and rural planning

The EWI Method

Part of the EWI holistic approach is to not only implement a comprehensive, multisectoral program, but to also create a built-in method to make the project self-sustainable and profitable for the community as a whole.

The not-for-profit egg production farm will be managed as if it were a for profit enterprise.  It will produce income that will make it self-sufficient in the third year of its operations.  In addition, it will generate a profit, 60% of which will be funneled into the EWI Community Development Fund (EWI-CDF) to co-fund local infrastructure such as schools, clinics and wells. To achieve this EWI-CDF will partner with the national and local government.  The EWI-CDF will be managed by a board representing EWI, the community, and the funders.  It will practice transparency and post at Ganthier’s city hall its programmatic and financial activities.

Beneficiaries

The EWI project will benefit the entire Ganthier population of 72,000.  Establishing the egg farm is a priority, and so is focusing first on women who are heads of household, and their children.

Partners

EcoWorks International’s partners are:

  • The Government of Haiti through its Presidential Commission on the Development of Border Territories (FDF), Ministry of Finance
  • The Community of Ganthier, the Mayor and his team
  • The 20-30 local organizations that geographically represent groups of peasants, women and youth who live in the different villages of the ‘commune’ of Ganthier
  • The Project’s Funders

Project Location: Ganthier

FDF and EWI have selected Ganthier as the location of the EWI Project for several reasons.

There is a demonstrable need:

  • Ganthier has no industry or business center
  • The majority of the population lives on less than one dollar a day
  • A large number of children are malnourished
  • A significant number of children do not attend school
  • Having been neglected for decades, the community’s needs are acute in all areas: employment, education, healthcare, access to potable water, hurricane preparedness, etc.

Ganthier has potential advantages:

  • Located between the capital and the Dominican Republic, Ganthier has one of the best main roads in the country that has been maintained because it is the main thoroughfare for imported goods.  The quality of the road is essential for accessing the main egg markets in Haiti without incurring significant breakage.
  • The proximity to the capital is also proximity to the main egg market
  • It has a dry climate but enough water to develop site-appropriate farming
  • It borders a lake which could be a tremendous asset for developing ecotourism
  • The mayor is a non-politician (he teaches literature at a high school) who is devoted to his community
  • There is a tremendous willpower of the local population to turnaround the community and transform it into a viable economic entity

Egg Market in Haiti

The egg market growth potential is huge.  In the US egg consumption is 250/year/person; in the Dominican Republic 176/year/person; in Haiti 18/year/person.  In addition, the Haitian government stopped the importation of eggs from the Dominican Republic following a bird flu alert in that country. This creates a severe egg shortage in Haiti.

Time-Frame

This is a five-year project, which will be completely self-sufficient in three years from the moment the egg farm is started.  It is currently in Phase One that includes planning, fundraising, land acquisition, creating architectural and engineering blueprints, starting partnering with the local organizations and, together, developing and prioritizing programs.