A New Approach: Internal Relief Aid

Haiti is situated at an intersection of natural disaster risks. The devastation of the earthquake in 2010, and that of Hurricane Matthew in 2016 both laid bare the shortcomings of international relief aid. In the days immediately following both events, the international community responded with generous donations of much-needed food and water. This aid has helped the people of Haiti to survive during the critical times after each disaster.

However, during the following months that aid has shown itself to be devastating in its own way. As foreign-grown food floods the market, the local farmers are left without customers. The fields are abandoned and rural people are forced to seek a new life in the already overcrowded urban zones. This influx leads to increased poverty and aid-dependence, which brings further relief efforts, as well as displaces more farmers into urban life. It is an unintended and downward cycle.

The Quixote Center is implementing a different approach, one that strengthens Haitian farms, increases independence from imports, and provides locally-known supplies to feed the rebuilding process.

  1. Our partners in Gros-Morne have put out a call to their farmer-members: “Bring your excess to market and we will buy it.” Rural farmers in Haiti often grow at the subsistence level because they have no access to buyers deep in the countryside. With this purchase program in effect, they will have an incentive to plant more, produce more, and secure in their knowledge that much-needed cash payments await them for their efforts.
  2. We are assessing the need in the hardest-hit departments of Haiti and preparing to ship food and seeds to those zones for consumption and planting. Hurricane Matthew wiped out the harvest in southern and far-northwestern Haiti. This destruction makes famine a real possibility absent a major effort to re-plant. The seeds produced in Gros-Morne will meet this need for smallholder farmers in the affected area, providing local food in a matter of months.
  3. Each gift improves the livelihoods of Haitian farmers, provides essential food and seeds for the affected areas, and reduces dependence on foreign aid. Haiti lies at a confluence of risk from natural disasters. The fallout from these extreme events includes the real risk of perpetual aid dependency. At the Quixote Center, we are working with our partners to foster independence and strengthen local capacity through innovation and collaboration. We dream of a self-reliant Haiti, even in the face of natural disasters.

Join us today on this quixotic mission by donating and spreading the word. To learn more about how your support has helped during this time of need, please click here. You have our thanks for your support!