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  • "Give Me Light, Give Me Life": How Renewables Are Rekindling Hope in Haiti (Part 3), November 4, 2015...[1]

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Networks and sustainability initiatives[edit | edit source]

Papaye Peasant Movement[edit | edit source]

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The Papaye Peasant Movement, Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP) in Haitian Creole, is a grass-roots organization recognized as the largest peasant movement in Haiti. MPP has approximately 60,000 members, including 20,000 women and 10,000 youths. It is localized in the Central Plateau, home to about 13% of the Haitian population, the majority of whom are rural subsistence farmers or agricultural workers.

MPP focuses on re-establishing food sovereignty in Haiti through a number or programs and methods which include educating people on sustainable farming methods and organizing skills. While these are the primary foci of MPP, the organization has expanded to provide a plethora of other services to its members, including legal aid, health care services, and university scholarships. The movement seeks to empower peasants to control their own livelihood, thus decreasing dependency on multinational organizations which have flooded the Haitian agricultural market in recent decades.

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Workers in the same neighborhood join to form groups which meet weekly. At least seven groups in the same region form a local assembly, which meets monthly. The regional assembly, comprising at least four local assemblies, meets every three months, while the general assembly – which all local assemblies attend – meets once a year.

Youth initiatives[edit | edit source]

Other initiatives[edit | edit source]

  • Let Haiti Live
  • SOIL Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods or SOIL is an American nonprofit developmental aid organization co-founded by Sasha Kramer and Sarah Brownell in 2006. Its goal is to develop integrated approaches to the problems of poverty, poor public health, agricultural productivity, and environmental destruction in Haiti. SOIL's efforts have focused on the community-identified priority of increasing access to ecological sanitation, where human wastes are converted into compost. Ecological sanitation simultaneously tackles some of Haiti's toughest challenges – providing improved sanitation to people who would otherwise have no access to a toilet and producing organic compost critical for agriculture and reforestation. W

Ecovillages[edit | edit source]

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After the 2010 earthquake, there was an urban exodus to rural areas like Papaye, particularly from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. MMP set up a camp for internally displaced people, and in collaborations with partners such as Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), helped refugees build eco-villages. Earthquake survivors, MMP members, and volunteers built the houses, – survivors were paid a minimum salary for their work – taught urban dwellers sustainable farming methods, and set up personal and community gardens. Water management methods were also installed so that eco-village dwellers would have access to clean water. So far, the experiment has been a success and many other organizations are replicating this model in Haiti and elsewhere.

Community resources[edit | edit source]

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Haiti Communitere is primarily a resource center that is located close to the international airport in Port-au-Prince. They are anchored in community work and approach it by supporting organizations that are already engaged in positive change. They support them by offering services, such as a large and well-equipped workshop on site and a space to test ideas. Haiti communitere hosts a monthly community round table were community leaders come together to discuss their past and upcoming activities and how they can help each other to realize them. They have a computer lab which is at the disposal of communities and they hold trainings on topics like technology, construction, hygiene, business, and language. Haiti Communitere is also an exposition site for green and sustainable building methods and alternative sanitation systems. They run a social enterprise to keep themselves financially stable and independent. They offer housing (from tents and dorms to private rooms) to international groups and individuals in order to share overhead and provide opportunities for people to connect with each other and the communities where their projects are implemented.

Haiti Communitere is a part of the Communitere International network.

Water supply and sanitation[edit | edit source]

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Haiti faces key challenges in the water supply and sanitation sector:Notably, access to public services is very low, their quality is inadequate and public institutions remain very weak despite foreign aid and the government's declared intent to strengthen the sector's institutions. Foreign and Haitian NGOs play an important role in the sector, especially in rural and urban slum areas.

Trees, woodland and forest[edit | edit source]

Blogs: Treemobile

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Pwojè Pyebwa (Tree Project) is a tree-planting project in Haiti. It was designed, implemented, and initially run by cultural anthropologists. Different from reforestation projects, Pwojè Pyebwa promoted agroforestry—the strategic mixing of crops, trees, and animals. The agroforestry project in Haiti project was funded by the United States Agency for International Development USAID, but implemented through the Pan American Development Organization (PADF) and CARE. It was originally called the Agroforestry Outreach Project (AOP). The original project spanned a decade (1981–1991), but policies from Pwojè Pyebwa continued to direct PADF tree-planting through a second decade (1992–2000).

Deforestation[edit | edit source]

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Deforestation in Haiti is a complex and intertwined environmental and social problem. The most-recent national research on charcoal estimates that approximately 946,500 metric tons of charcoal are produced and consumed annually in Haiti, making it the second-largest agricultural value chain in the country and representing approximately 5% of GDP.

Land in Haiti is extremely variable, and frequently appears as a patchwork of different land-uses, including agriculture, agroforestry, forests, savanna, and barren lands.

Agro-ecology[edit | edit source]

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About 75% of the Haitian population lives in rural areas, a large portion of whom practice subsistence agriculture. Until the 1980s, the country was in large part self-sustainable in terms of rice, manioc, and potato production. After the dismantlement of the Duvalier dictatorship, however, organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank urged the country to liberalize markets and undergo structural reform, leading to a rural exodus and greatly affecting the agricultural sector. The liberalization of markets caused government funding for agricultural and public-sector development to decrease, further depleting the agricultural sector. Many multinational corporations took advantage of the newly liberalized market to export goods, creating Haitian dependency on agricultural imports. Additionally, deforestation has caused mass erosion, thus decreasing soil arability and quality.

MPP's agro-ecology program seeks to address the issue of dependence and food sovereignty by focusing on forms of agriculture based on environmental health. The organization teaches innovative farming practices, including germinating seedlings inside discarded tires and using other methods so as not to exhaust the land. Farmers focus on growing organic, indigenous crops in order to maintain biodiversity, and thus reject hybrid and GMO seed donations from multinational corporations. The program also comprises a reforestation component in order to help improve soil quality and prevent further erosion. Since its inception, MPP members have planted over 20 million trees, and their efforts continue.

Food insecurity[edit | edit source]

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Roughly 40% of the total land in Haiti is farmed, with agriculture being the basis of the country's economy. Given agriculture's high dependence on natural ecosystem services, farming systems are at high risk to be negatively affected by climate change and climate-induced shocks. Food security is poor in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters, and more erratic and unpredictable rainfall will place strain on the agriculture industry in the future. Following the hurricanes of 2012, about 70% of Haitian residents reported suffering from moderate or severe hunger, and more than two-thirds of farmers reported having crops destroyed, losing materials to plant new crops, or losing farming equipment. A warning system to aid farmers in preparing for these natural disasters would be an efficient way to reduce the impact of storms on the agricultural system. The farming sector will also have to build resilience against drought and water scarcity as rainfall patterns change. Drought particularly affects the Northwest, Artibonite, and Centre departments of Haiti. Erratic rainfall patterns and poor water management infrastructure cause droughts, which destroy crops, reduce agricultural production, and decrease food security. Improved infrastructure could play a role in increasing food security, as Haiti largely relies on small rural farms and struggles to transport enough food from the countryside to village markets and urban centres. Specific improvements needed to aid the Haitian food system are improved public infrastructure and more paved roads.

Towards sustainable economies[edit | edit source]

Haitian Coalition to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA)

News and comment[edit | edit source]

2015

Reforesting Haiti For Food & Resilience, August 18[2]

2014

Haiti slum blooms into urban oasis, June 3[3]

Environmental issues[edit | edit source]

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In 1925, Haiti was lush, with 60% of its original forest covering the lands and mountainous regions. Since then, recent in-depth study of satellite imagery has erroneously concluded an estimate of <1% primary forest cover. Erosion has been severe in the mountainous areas. Most Haitian logging is done for agriculture and to produce charcoal, the country's chief source of fuel.

In the 19th century, arable land in the size of 15 hectares was distributed to farmers. It was inherited and divided by their children. In 1971, the average farm size was less than 1.5 hectares. To survive, the landowners had to overuse the land. It became infertile within a few years. The farmers moved to clear steeper hillsides and finally become unemployed. Eventually the shortage of arable land and rising rural poverty pushed peasants from hillside subsistence farms to search for work in Port-au-Prince, where the concentration of desperate people in slums contributed to the country's tragic history of civil strife.

Despite the large environmental crises, Haiti retains a very high amount of biodiversity in proportion to its small size.

Natural disasters[edit | edit source]

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Throughout its history, Haiti has suffered cyclones, hurricanes, tropical storms, torrential rains, floods, famine, disease and earthquakes.

The hurricane season in Haiti lasts from June to the end of November.

Effects of climate change[edit | edit source]

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Haiti's position as a southern island nation makes it particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change. Factors that make Haiti more vulnerable than other Caribbean nations, such as the Dominican Republic, are its higher population density, extensive deforestation, extreme soil erosion, and high income-inequality. Several effects of increased intensity of tropical storms, depleted coral reefs, and desertification. Since 1960 the mean annual rainfall has decreased by 5mm per month per decade, and mean temperatures have increased by 0.45 °C. The combination of increased temperatures and decreased rainfall will likely lead to the intensification of drought conditions, especially in the centre of the country. According to the IPCC climate change predictions for 2050, more than 50% of Haiti will be in danger of desertification. The frequency of hot days and nights has increased, while the frequency of cold days and nights have steadily decreased. Sea-level rise is projected to rise between 0.13 and 0.56 m by 2090. The US Climate Change Science program estimates that with each 1 °C increase in temperature, hurricane rainfall will increase by 6–17% and hurricane wind speeds will increase by 1–8%.

About Haiti[edit | edit source]

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Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti, is a country on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea, east of Cuba and Jamaica, and south of The Bahamas. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean, and with an estimated population of 11.4 million, is the most populous Caribbean country. The capital and largest city is Port-au-Prince.

The island was originally inhabited by the Taíno people. The first Europeans arrived in December 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, establishing the first European settlement in the Americas, La Navidad, on what is now the northeastern coast of Haiti. The island formed part of the Spanish Empire until 1697, when the western portion was ceded to France and subsequently renamed Saint-Domingue. French colonists established sugarcane plantations, worked by slaves brought from Africa, which made the colony one of the world's richest.

Near you[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Keywords countries
Authors Phil Green
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related subpages, pages link here
Aliases Haiti
Impact 897 page views
Created January 14, 2010 by Lonny Grafman
Modified January 19, 2024 by Phil Green
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