HEKS/EPER supports rural communities in the departments of Grand'Anse and Petit Goâve in building up high value-added agricultural production chains so as to enable them to meet their basic needs. HEKS/EPER also assists the Haitian Government in implementing development plans and provides emergency relief after natural disasters.
Haiti is one of the world's poorest countries. Some 60 per cent of its people live in poverty and at least 40 per cent can neither read nor write. The causes of the country's precarious situation are political instability, bad governance and the neglect of public investment. Besides, annual hurricanes repeatedly wipe out people's efforts to secure their own food supplies. HEKS/EPER promotes development in the remote department of Grand'Anse, which was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Much of the population in this region live in hard-to-reach mountain areas and can only get to the nearest market or village via roads and paths in very poor condition. What little infrastructure there was, and the once luxuriant vegetation that provided residents with a livelihood were all but destroyed by the hurricane. HEKS/EPER responded rapidly to the disaster and mounted an emergency aid programme to meet the most pressing needs. Some months later, longer-term development projects were resumed – with the aim of helping to provide more resilient living conditions for the local people through improved access to basic services. The transfer of responsibility to local communities is paving the way for autonomous and needs-based development.
Objectives and priorities
The HEKS/EPER Country Programme in Haiti is helping to create a higher, more resilient standard of living for residents of remote mountain regions of Grand'Anse. Access to basic services is to be improved through the promotion of higher incomes and greater food security by upgrading rural infrastructure and fostering dialogue between rural communities and local authorities.
Promoting higher incomes and food security: HEKS/EPER promotes high value-added agriculture. This includes, for example fruit and vegetable cultivation and the keeping of small animals. It also entails processing and marketing products so as to boost earnings, which in turn enable communities and producer groups to invest in processing and refining their products. Parent committees are also able to help fund the schools they support with HEKS/EPER assistance, thereby providing access for their children to education.
Upgrading rural infrastructure: To help communities living in the difficult-to-access mountain areas of Grand'Anse find a way out of their isolation and gain better access to basic services, HEKS/EPER assists them in upgrading rural infrastructure such as roads, markets and schools. To ensure that infrastructure is maintained and that schools keep functioning, local community structures are mobilized and strengthened and specific training is provided.
More dialogue between rural communities and local authorities: To place the local people in a better position to claim their rights, HEKS/EPER encourages dialogue between rural communities and local authorities. In this way, our Country Programme makes rural communities and authorities central to local development, thus helping to bring about greater transparency in the management of resources.
If you have further questions
Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER)
Phone: +41 44 360 88 10