The Global Food Initiative (GFI) director Jeff Boshart, and a member of the GFI review panel, Pat Krabacher, have traveled to Haiti for a year-end evaluation of an agriculture project carried out jointly with Eglise des Freres Haitiens and Growing Hope Globally. The evaluation is ongoing under the direction of Klebert Exceus, former Haiti disaster response coordinator for Brethren Disaster Ministries.
Boshart took part in the first part of the evaluation and also was able to visit 7 of the 14 communities that are participating in the Soil Conservation and Income Generation project.
Krabacher participated in the GFI visit with potential collaborators in Cape Haitian. She then stayed on with her husband, John, to meet with Dale Minnich and the staff of the Haiti Medical Project as they met to plan for 2020 activities. Krabacher will be sharing her expertise in grant writing and knowledge of working with governmental agencies in order to strengthen the capacity of the staff of Haiti Medical Project, if there is a desire to seek funds beyond the Church of the Brethren.
“As part of the evaluation, we learned of the disastrous impacts of last year’s civil unrest or ‘lock down,’ as it was called by the political opposition to the current administration in Haiti,” reported Boshart. “Roads were closed from September through November. Schools were closed and life became even more of a struggle than it normally is in Haiti. During the ‘lock down’ it became difficult for people to get medical care and lives were disrupted in other ways (postponed weddings, lack of commerce, halted infrastructure projects). Schools opened again in January in the major cities but school administrators are dealing with not receiving school fees during the first semester of the school year, which means that teachers went unpaid and students lost a half year of schooling.
“The animal raising projects of Eglise des Freres saw significant deaths of animals as veterinary services were not able to get to remote villages,” he continued. “Many rabbits died. The goat projects fared a bit better, and the fish projects looked excellent. The silver lining for the agriculture projects is that we learned which communities are more resourceful when outside help is unable to reach them. Some projects thrived due to the commitment of local project committees and others did not. The evaluation is giving us a clear direction of interventions in the third and final year of this project, which will begin in April.”
For more information about the Global Food Initiative, go to www.brethren.org/gfi .