Why Build Self-Reliant Communities?
1- They have local markets that meet local needs
2- They build and support the region
3- They contribute as members of Caricom
4- They promote innovation
5- They increase economic opportunities
6- They create numerous family-owned industries
7- They allow money to circulate within the community
8- They generate other forms of resiliency
9- They become a teacher and example to the world
10- They strengthen social relationships
11- They build political stability
12- They promote dignity and self-esteem
We believe in the adage, “Give a person a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
For this reason, a central element of our methodology is a process of building these skills within the Haitian communities we work with and enabling them to become agents of their own stability.
To understand the struggle Haiti has had in rebuilding their communities, one has to understand their story. They were once called the "Pearl of the Caribbean."
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere at this time. More than half her population lives under the poverty line, and many people rely on subsistence farming to feed their families. The country is heavily dependent on external revenue.
The country’s major industries include sugar refining, flour milling, and cement and textile manufacturing. The United States is Haiti’s largest trade partner, followed by Canada and Mexico.
In recent years, natural disasters, disease, political instability, mismanagement of humanitarian relief, and the depreciation of Haiti’s currency have strained the economy. Tourism, once a vibrant sector, has declined.
International lenders canceled Haiti’s debt following the massive earthquake of 2010, but its borrowing has since risen to about $3.57 billion, including nearly $2 billion from PetroCaribe—the Venezuela-led regional alliance that offers its members subsidized oil.
Further upheaval, including an escalating protest movement, the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, back-to-back natural disasters in July and August 2021, and rampant gang violence have placed further stress on the country’s economic situation. | CLICK to read more
Humanitarian organizations have brought in their own people to carry out projects, thus denying Haitian workers and their communities the economic benefit. In other words, organizations (NGOs and private contractors) have received the money from secured contracts, instead of letting that money stay and circulate within Haitian communities.
Part of having a vibrant community means returning power to the people. When we restore a land's watershed in a regenerative and vibrant way, we restore a community's ability to make a living off the land.
We restore their ability to contribute in local markets and meet local needs. We restore their ability to circulate money within their communities. We restore their ability to create numerous family-owned industries. We restore their ability to establish political stability and to contribute as member of Caricom, the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world.
We restore their dignity and self-esteem. We restore their health. We restore their ability to be innovative, creative, teach, lead, and strengthen social relationships.
This is why we work to restore regenerative watersheds. They lead to self-reliant communities that thrive.