Love A Child, based in Fort Myers, has announced several key sustainability partnerships to promote natural resource growth in Haiti.
According to the 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) published by Yale University, Haiti currently ranks 176th out of 178 countries profiled for environmental policies and protection of human health. While this low EPI position is indicative of Haiti's history of political strife and extreme poverty, Love A Child has announced key partnerships to promote natural resource growth. In partnership with organizations like Hope Seeds, Inc., Harrison Poultry, Inc., Morning Star Fishermen, and Open Hand, Inc., sustainable farming and development initiatives are making a difference in Haiti.
With its headquarters in Fort Myers, Love A Child, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Christian humanitarian organization, providing crucial outreach services in Haiti since 1985. Haiti is known as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Nearly 80 percent of the country lives in extreme poverty. Love A Child's sustainability initiatives consist of eight interdependent elements working together to help break the cycle of poverty. Each requires partnerships to promote and protect sustainable development.
One critical component to breaking the cycle of poverty is employment. Based on The World Factbook in 2010, Haiti's unemployment rate was more than 40 percent. The creation of jobs through the current construction of a Marketplace in Fond Parisien, Haiti will bring more than 2,000 people a steady source of income to pay for necessities, like food and medicine.
The Marketplace has already been providing many Haitian men an opportunity to work throughout the project's construction phase. Thanks to a partnership with Pastor Jentezen Franklin and the Kingdom Connection Partners, the commitment to Haiti's economy will endure. When complete in the fall of 2014, Love A Child's Marketplace will have 12 pavilion-style buildings and house more than 600 new small businesses on 20+ acres of land. Sustainable businesses like chicken, fish, and produce sales will bring empowerment back to the people and reduce unemployment.
In addition, deforestation and poverty are critically linked in Haiti. Deforestation through charcoal production, as well as severe weather conditions that contribute to soil erosion has left Haiti's agriculture vulnerable. Today's estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) indicate a perilous two percent of Haiti's forests remain.
While under the leadership of President Michel Martelly, the Haitian government launched a campaign in 2013 aimed at increasing the vegetation cover through reforestation. Reforestation, as well as providing critical sources to attain water for households and crops is a top priority for Love A Child's sustainability initiatives. Love A Child has established a reforestation program through its Agricultural Training Center that will teach and equip local farmers in Fond Parisien and other communities with seeds for fast-growing trees, cover crops, and grasses to help with improving the soil.
Backed by a partnership with Hope Seeds, the Agricultural Training Center program not only teaches local Haitian farmers how to grow plants, but will also teach appropriate plant propagation methods, like fruit tree grafting. Teaching farmers how to use simple tools, like drip irrigation kits and rain water catchment systems, will help with growing crops, conserving water, and ensuring food security.
One of Love A Child's key sources for sustainable reforestation growth is the Moringa tree. Moringa trees, which can grow up to 16-feet in one year from a seed, have the potential to provide a major source of renewable income. The Moringa seed also has the ability to purify water and save lives. Crushing just one Moringa seed in a liter of water will cause the floating impurities to coagulate, which can then be filtered out. A goal of planting 50,000 Moringa trees each year is one Love A Child intends to fulfill. With a keen focus on integrated management of natural resources, Haiti's children will one day hopefully be able to see more than an eight percent increase in forested land in their lifetime.
Additional sustainability initiatives emphasized through Love A Child's collaborative partnerships include aquaponics systems for tilapia fish farms, chicken co-ops, access to micro-loans for Haitian men and women, life skills training, and more. Working together, the projected impact for improvement in Haiti's environment and human health magnifies. For more information about the sustainability initiatives, visit: http://www.loveachild.com/sustainability-outreach/.