Nearly 1300 people are building dry walls and planting trees to fight erosion and restore agricultural land. WFP/Anne Poulsen
A project in the mountains of Haiti's Southeast is contributing to the rehabilitation of agricultural land.
Driving to Duvillon Lagarde has never been easy. The town, a small community up in the mountains of Haiti’s Southeast, is hard to reach and isolated. It is also one of several areas of the country that has suffered tremendously from deforestation. Erosion is a major problem.
Vanise Jean-Pierre is 28 years old. She was born here and shares a small house with her 2 children and her 8 brothers and sisters. Her mother died a few years ago, and she is now in charge of everyone in her household.
To make a living, her family is growing vegetables on a small patch of land. Two years ago, she did what a lot of people have done in the past, she left. “Life had become so hard that I moved to Port-au-Prince, she said. When the earthquake struck, my house was destroyed. I had lost everything and decided it was time to come back home.”
One thing that’s made her return to Duvillon Lagarde possible is a project that started on the hills of her village in July. The World Food Programme, working with the Food and Agriculture Organization, local authorities and community associations, has started an integrated project that is rehabilitating agricultural land. Vanise Jean-Pierre was hired and has been working at improving the hills of her community since then.
For the past 6 months, nearly 1300 people from the area have been busy building dry walls and planting trees to fight erosion. All this to make sure that water stays on the mountain to irrigate the land where local people grow food.
In exchange for their labour, workers receive money and food rations. “This is a good project for me, said Vanise Jean-Pierre. Now, I have the assurance that I will have food for my family and money to pay for household expenses.” Paying workers with a combination of food and cash is an innovative way for WFP to both ensure that Haitian workers get a steady access to nutritional food, and help them improve their lives by providing money resources to pay for household expenses.
People here know that their work will have a long term impact. Their land will produce more food, revenues will increase and overall, life on the mountain will be easier. “If I can make a living here, I’ll stay” concluded Vanise.