“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
James 2: 14-17
In 2012 and 2013, with funding from Union Congregational Church in Hackensack, MN, we partnered with the Instituto Interamericano De Cooperacion Para La to train 20 families how to raise chickens, generating eggs as a food source. As part of the training, families built a chicken coop and received seven chickens.
In 2018, Rotary approved a matching grant to begin two sustainable poultry operations, and we are working to raise matching funds to receive the grant. The first operation, an egg-producing plant, will directly benefit the Farm Association that formed as a result of the Sustainable Farm Project of 2017 and 2018. The second will be a meat-production operation to provide long-term income for the Garde Saline Leadership Council; they will use the funds to financially sustain programs such as the school and medical clinic.
Sustainable Agriculture: Farm Pilot Program
A farm pilot program was started in 2012 to help assess the feasibility of developing sustainable agriculture on a larger scale. Two existing farmers participated in the program, and they received technical assistance, education, and funds to purchase additional seed, fertilizer, farm tools, and to hire laborers. Despite having crops ruined by Hurricane Sandy in the midst of the program, they replanted in Fall 2012 and May 2013. In November 2013, they tripled their crop yields and income. In addition, most of the laborers involved with the program learned enough – and earned enough – to start their own farm operations.
Phase II: Sustainable Agriculture
In late 2016/2017, with a challenge grant from the SG Foundation, the farm pilot program was expanded to provide opportunities to an additional twenty farmers. The farmers received classroom and field instruction; received business loans to expand their farming operations; and received ongoing technical assistance. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma destroyed farmers crops in the fall of 2017. In late 2017 and early 2018, farmers cleared their fields, replanted their crops, and most have experienced strong harvests in 2018. A farm association was started as part of the program, and we are currently working on an egg-production poultry project for the association.
In 2016, Hope for Haitians funded the construction of a rice mill in the village. This has become a primary economic development tool for farmers in and around the village.
The Garde Saline Leadership Council received almost six hectares of donated land over the past five years, and the plan is to clear the land, plant peanuts, and develop a peanut mill.
In the coming years, The Faith Project will focus heavily on economic development and sustainable agriculture to raise the economic base in the village so that families have solid income from annual harvests for food, education, clothing, and other basic necessities.
FIVE-YEAR IMPACT DATA
Sustainability Plan Program Area 2012 2017
Households reporting agriculture as their primary food source 100% 100%
Households reporting fish as a secondary food source 6% 30%
Households reporting eating one time per day, some days 72% 73%
Households reporting eating two times per day 12% 6%
Households owning farm animals 25% 31%
Households owning land 37% 38%
Individuals reporting “not enough to eat” —- 76%
Individuals reporting “enough to eat” —- 24%