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Haiti: Your Support Sustains Life In A Time Of Crisis

Haiti: Your support sustains life in a time of crisis

“After this training we realize that we still have many deep values. The country is in such bad shape because we had lost some of these values. We will now apply our values to uplift the country.” – Caracol President

Many of you are reading about the growing political unrest in Haiti. Thousands are taking to the streets in Port au Prince to protest corruption and demand removal of the President. How are ordinary people responding to this political paralysis and economic collapse that makes life so challenging? In the Northeast, OPODNE staff have been gathering leadership teams in all 11 rural communities for training and dialogue about their situation. For the past year, they have lifted up the principle, “Corruption is the enemy of Development”. Now training focuses on the values of community, transparency, and accountability for individuals, institutions and government. For OPODNE, values are more than words. They are cooperative actions that sustain everyday life through this crisis. Your support would go a long way to sustain organizing in Haiti in these troubled times.

OPODNE cooperatives are alive and well and helping hundreds of families survive in eight communities. In Capotille, leaders are building a pond to start a fish farm after drought wiped out their banana crop. In Mont Organise, leaders are expanding their goat-breeding project even though drought killed this year’s pepper crop. In Terrier Rouge, leaders have expanded their wholesale household and restaurant cooperative, even though some goods are no longer available because of inflation. These and five other cooperatives are sharing diminishing profits with coop members and using some funds to start new projects so more people can benefit. Read more here                                                  

Haiti: Haiti is in a state of total dysfunction and paralysis. Inflation is rampant and teachers and civil servants are not being paid. People are taking to the streets to protest government corruption and the theft of millions of dollars that were to be invested in economic development projects. The ouster of President Moise and the formation of a new government seem to be only a matter of time. Ordinary people are suffering mightily on so many levels. Despite these setbacks OPODNE leaders remain strong. OPODNE cooperatives are providing some economic support while OPODNE communities are modeling values the whole country desperately needs.

Many people across the country are barely able to buy food. Community efforts are disbanding and government cannot provide basic services. OPODNE teams of leaders in all 11 communities are staying strong; meeting monthly; and reminding one another of the deep values of the Haitian people. Over the last two years, even before the political crisis, OPODNE leaders were providing training and facilitating discussion on the theme “Corruption is the Enemy of Development”. In monthly training sessions OPODNE staff lead discussions on the need to sustain community, transparency, and accountability; and encourage people to apply these values at the personal, family and community levels. As the Caracol President says, “through this training we realize that we still have many deep values. The country is in such bad shape because we have lost some of these values. We will now apply our values to uplift the country.” – Caracol President

OPODNE cooperatives are alive and well and helping hundreds of families survive in eight communities. In Capotille, leaders are building a pond to start a fish farm after drought wiped out their banana crop. In Mont Organise, leaders are expanding their goat-breeding project even though drought killed this year’s pepper crop. In Terrier Rouge, leaders have expanded their wholesale household and restaurant cooperative, even though some goods are no longer available because of inflation. These and five other cooperatives are sharing diminishing profits with coop members and using some funds to start new projects so more people can benefit.

In addition to the collapse of political systems, a drought has devastated farmers in the Northeast. The pepper project in Mont Organise and the banana project in Capotille were largely wiped out this past year. The household goods resale cooperative in Terrier Rouge has been unable to buy many products because of the economic collapse in the country. The market for chickens has collapsed in Haiti, so the Grand Bassin cooperative in seeking other alternatives.  Despite these setbacks, communities have been resilient. Using funds generated in past years and set aside by the cooperatives for reinvestment, leaders have adapted existing projects and initiated new projects. Mont Organise is expanding its goat-breeding project and providing them to members of the cooperative for food or milk. Each goat is worth more than $40. In Capotille, cooperative members are constructing two ponds to begin farming fish. In Terrier Rouge, leaders are increasing the available stock of water and drinks which continue to be in high demand. Because the cooperatives in Mombin Crochu have already diversified, they are sustaining their efforts. Micro lending programs in these communities continue to provide much-needed low cost loans so people can pay emergency medical bills and school fees. Leadership teams continue to be models of effective, accountable leadership.

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