In an effort to showcase our work, we wanted to introduce you to the organizations we partner with to transform development in Haiti! Each quarter, we will profile a different organization and motivated leader, so that you can learn about how these grassroots organizations are leading the economic and social revolution in their rural communities.
The Southern city of Les Cayes suffered heavily during the Hurricane. Hurricane Matthew severely destroyed fruit bearing trees, cattle, and agricultural fields, as well as rural infrastructure such as schools, irrigation canals, and micro-enterprises that support the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people, leaving the communities utterly devastated. ACAPE was central to the recovery of their community; as their buildings remained intact. They focused on constructing a community buildings using a flexible building material that can withstand natural disasters, as well as using locally sourced building materials to minimize their carbon footprint. As a result, they were able to offer shelter and services to those in desperate need.
To support the work of ACAPE directly, you are welcome to make a grant to ACAPE through HDI’s intermediary services. https://www.hdihaiti.org/donate. Additionally, if you are interested in learning more about the work of ACAPE please reach out to Pierre Noel, firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to connect you.
Meet Jean Raymond Délinois, the Executive Director of Association des Cadres pour la Protection de l’Environnement, ACAPE (Association of Executives for the Protection of the Environment).
Describe the community where your organization is based.
ACAPE’s agricultural programs are currently located in three communities in the Southern Department, Cayes, Aquin, and Torbeck, all hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. Our work in sustainable construction, the training of contractors and construction of schools touches communities in Grande Anse, Camp-Perrin, Port a Piment, and St. Jean. Our office is located in Laborde/Codère, the 3rd communal section of Les Cayes. Laborde has a population of about 15,000 inhabitants. It is an agricultural community, meaning that people overwhelmingly depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
When did your organization begin and why?
ACAPE was founded on August 19, 2006 by 10 executives and peasant farmers who participated in a training session led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on alternative energy at the Centre du Développement Communautaire Chrétien Haïtien/DCCH in Laborde.
While we all were concerned by the environmental degradation taking place in our community, there were few practical and sustainable solutions to protect the environment. Either the solutions were short-term and did not address the root causes, such as deforestation, or they did not take into consideration the needs of the surrounding populations. Following the training, we came together to create an organization that would put into practice the knowledge and outcomes from the training. We wanted to design solutions that simultaneously protected the environment and produced economic development in rural communities.
We saw that one way to accomplish this goal would be to work across sectors with the private sector, public sector, and the surrounding communities.
What are some of your successful programs and activities?
We have organized seed, agricultural, gastronomic, and cultural fairs to showcase local production and increase access to local markets.
We have successfully processed and marketed many local products including cassava, peanuts, honey, castor and mahogany for local far
We have promoted environmental education by integrating environmental science education into local area schools and worked with young schoolchildren to develop school gardens.
We have trained local community members on sustainable building techniques, and have helped construct houses using local, environmentally friendly materials using the TCLA (Improved Local Construction Technique) method. These houses can withstand natural disasters and do not degrade the environment.
We have built a welcome and community center that provides both accommodation and catering for visitors to the ACAPE premises.
Why is your organization important to your community?
First, ACAPE works to promote long-term, environmental, sustainable economic growth in our community. Unlike emergency projects such as cash or food-for-work, which typically only last 2 to 3 months, we invest in long-term growth and development in our community. Second, our strategy depends upon community participation. We work in harmony with the community by integrating community participation into all of our activities to encourage buy-in to our projects and programs. Third, our organization works to build the capacity of leaders and grassroots organizations. Fourth, our services correspond to the specific needs of the community and always respect human dignity. We help create economic opportunities for those who are the most vulnerable by providing access to markets, training, and support. Finally, we work with very vulnerable people who live in difficult conditions in our community and allow them to live dignified lives.
What is your background and why do you participate in this organization?
I am an agronomist, manager, and accountant by profession. I have been working in development projects in the region and across the country since 1985. I am a member of the community and I enjoy working in sustainable development projects. I love my country and my hometown.
What type of support is needed to help you to continue to pursue your work?
We need more training and financial support for our projects that support women entrepreneurs; our economic development programs that provide training, access to markets, and assistance with production and marketing for farmers; and our programs that support the next-generation, including environmental education and school gardens. Furthermore, our organization also requires unrestricted funds to complete the cnstruction of hew rooms so our welcome and training center can service more people.
What has been your biggest success?
Our biggest success thus far has been the creation of this local organization, filling a much needed void in our community. Today our organization has grown into a supportive and respected community institution that offers quality services and jobs to our neighbors and friends. My personal satisfaction has been seeing this organization move in the right direction, become more visible, and have its own offices to accommodate and meet with community members. Our office has served as a space for exchange and training in agroecology and rural housing, thanks to our leadership.
How has HDI/Haiti Fund helped you achieve your work?
Through the Haiti Fund and HDI, we received leadership, governance, and management training and coaching through their nonprofit strengthening program. This type of training has allowed us to increase our impact by creating new programs, servicing more community members, and it has also allowed us to diversify our funding to sustain our operations overtime. We also have received funding from the Haiti Fund/HDI to support our activities and funding for the construction of our welcome center. Finally, more recently, HDI provided a grant to help the most vulnerable families after Hurricane Matthew through the distribution of tin roofs and seeds to grow their farms.
Why do you think an organization like HDI is necessary in Haiti?
HDI, by its very name, is a development institute in Haiti. This tells us that the organization is prioritizing local development. It is a supportive institution that offers training and helps to facilitate networking opportunities for all actors working in the sector. Equally important, HDI also interfaces with donors to benefit grassroots organizations such as ACAPE. There currently are no other organizations in Haiti that play a similar role, and yet it is something that is so desperately needed.
How can you help ACAPE?
To support the work of ACAPE directly, you are welcome to make a grant to ACAPE through HDI’s intermediary services (https://www.hdihaiti.org/donate). Additionally, if you are interested in learning more about the work of ACAPE, please reach out to Pierre Noel, email@example.com and we will be happy to connect you.
Prosperous communities that preserve and protect the environment while also providing access to basic services for all individuals.
The Association of Environmental Managers (ACAPE) accompanies communities in Haiti towards a better future through holistic actions that preserve and protect the environment.
Respect for natural structures;
Adhering to an integrated approach and a participatory methodology;
Building local leadership and self-confidence;
Acting as a catalyst for change while always taking into account local resources and human values.
ACAPE's main objective is to work with all sectors, public or private, in order to promote environmentally sustainable economic development in target communities.
To educate peasant farmers about respect for natural resources;
To improve the living conditions of the peasant farmers and ensure food security;
To disseminate all new technologies aimed at protecting the environment;
To create natural spaces that are conducive to eco-tourism.
Leveraging local resources, knowledge, and networks;
Training that promotes peer to peer networking and open communication;
Promoting agroecology to combat climate change and food security;
Promoting the local economy by nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit and promoting gender equality.
Agro-ecology:(synonyms include sustainable agriculture, ecological agriculture, low-external input agriculture or people-centered agriculture) is a term that many people use to describe an approach to farming that focuses on food production that makes the best use of nature’s goods and services while not damaging these resources. Essentially, instead of relying on outside tools like toxic pesticides, it works with nature to improve crop yields and production. This is important for poor farmers, because rather than destroying the soil and cutting down trees (which over the long-term results in less nutritious crops and lower crop yields, it promotes the use of trees), it promotes crop rotation, tree planting, and it requires less inputs—meaning it is less expensive for poor farmers.
Capacity Building: So what do we mean by capacity building? Capacity Building refers to many different types of activities that intended to improve a nonprofit’s ability to achieve its mission and sustain its impact over time. This could mean bringing a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity. It is not a one-time effort or training, but rather a continuous improvement strategy. You can think of it as the foundation or basic infrastructure of all nonprofits, without which they could not exist.