When U.N. World Food Programme Director Cindy McCain visited Haiti this summer, she said, “one of the world’s worst hunger crises is unfolding unseen, unheard, and unaddressed….half of the country is hungry.” We know, however, that there are pockets of hope. As the crisis in
Konbit Vanyan Kapab Farmers Stepped Up Again Community-led Earthquake Response
This past fall, farmers of the Konbit Vanyan Kapab Farmer-to-Farmer initiative played a crucial role in a community-led effort to deliver food and other aid to four earthquake affected communities. In the face of a worsening and unpredictable security conditions, the village-to-village response distributed 17 tons of corn, beans, peanuts (processed into peanut butter) and rice to families in need. Farmers supplied the food and also helped with organizing food purchases, processing peanuts for peanut butter, and staging and packaging food kits for three distributions. Each food kit included a small amount of cash, along with hygiene supplies from Unlocking Communities (https://unlockingcommunities.org).
Heavy duty tarps were also distributed. First aid medical backpacks donated by Global Links (https://globallinks.org) were delivered to local health clinics. Vita Mamba, a fortified peanut butter used to prevent malnutrition, was provided to families with toddlers. Jack Bean and Velvet Bean cover crop seeds have been distributed to farmers in one community to assist with erosion control and improving soil fertility. Coordination of the response was a joint effort of farmers from eight communities: Ecole Gamaliel Communautaire de Deslandes (EGD), PIP and two organizations working in the earthquake area, HaitiH2O (https://www.haitih2o.org) and Youthaiti.org (https://youthaiti.org).
The impact of this community-led response goes beyond relief. Through collaboration across communities and organizations, farmers and local partner organizations are strengthening capacity not only for crisis response, but also for development planning and action. Pride and confidence in their ability to create change is also growing among farmers. Sylvio Sanan, a Konbit Vanyan Kapab Agroecology Educator, said: “It makes me feel happy to be able to help. I didn’t think I could do something like this.” It is not only the farmers providing aid that feel this sense of pride, but those receiving it as well. One aid recipient said: “It makes me feel good to know that this is helping farmers in another part of my country.”
This was not the first time Konbit Vanyan Kapab farmer rose to the occasion. When Covid-19 hit, these farmers were part of grassroots Covid-19 response that reached 6,300 children and adults across nine communities. Farmers provided education and supplies to community members, managed community hand washing stations, and provided critical food relief.