The Haiti Nutrition Security Program (NSP) is working with local organization Makouti Agro Entrerprise to identify the best options for small scale livelihood enhancement activities. Makouti, a diversified Haitian-owned agriculture business and marketing cooperative, has been assisting small farmers and agribusinesses in Haiti since 2004. They are bringing their expertise in livelihood development to NSP. Their activities will vary based on local demand and feasibility but could include gardens and animal production, small business training, post-harvest processing and other value-added operations.
Partnerships with local Haitian counterparts increase the sustainability of interventions and are also essential in ensuring that NSP activities and strategies most appropriately and effectively meet the specific needs of malnourished populations, since each region of the country is culturally and economically distinct.
Working with NSP field staff, mother leaders, and women’s clubs, Makouti has begun developing home gardens in target program areas. Each garden is under the management of one mother leader or women’s club and serves as a demonstration garden for all of the group members. Women are participating in a structured training program on topics that include the basics of home gardening, composting and soil preparation, transplanting seedlings, and integrated pests and disease management.
Equipped with this knowledge and training, along with seeds and gardening kits, members of the mother groups will then be able to develop their own home gardens. Small-scale home gardens provide convenient and inexpensive access to fresh fruits and vegetables, encouraging diversified diets while taking minimal time from women’s many other household responsibilities. Gardens are also a great way to involve all household members in the provision of nutritious foods to the family. They offer an opportunity to improve dietary diversity within the family.
Last week, in the northern region of Haiti, 35 new gardens were installed for the mother leaders. There are now a total of 74 gardens in the areas of Milot, Acul-du-Nord, and Plaine-du-Nord. Fruits and vegetables planted include tomatoes, green beans, spinach, kale, carrots, okra, and more.
These small gardens are just the first phase of livelihoods activities planned under the NSP. Community-level livelihoods activities are also being organized. These could include entrepreneurship and business training programs, expanding regional nurseries, seed banks, or small animal production units, and will be determined by community needs, interest, and support.
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