Rice for Life in Haiti!
A Recipe for Self-Sufficiency
What’s the recipe for equipping and empowering a community to end generational poverty and begin the journey to independence and self-sufficiency? In southern Haiti, Overture and invested community members have joined forces to cook up an innovative, transformational food packaging program branded Diri Lavi!, which means “Rice for Life” in Haitian Creole.
Diri Lavi! Food Packaging Program
Overture is not afraid to attempt bold projects that have the potential to transform communities we serve. We’re excited to share with you our vision of reducing, and potentially ending, food insecurity through the Diri Lavi! food packaging program.
Diri Lavi! will exponentially increase farming production capabilities and create a stronger infrastructure for building food security in communities. As with all of our efforts, this project empowers our friends in southern Haiti to move from generational dependence toward autonomy and self-sufficiency.
Here's how it works: Together with Midwest Food Bank, Overture has launched Diri Lavi! using the recipe of their packaged nutritional meals. Designed by dietitians to provide critical nutrition, the foundation of their recipe consists of savory rice and beans, spices, vitamins, and minerals. Midwest has agreed to provide the supplies, protein and essential vitamins needed to successfully support this project. Overture will manage the efforts in Haiti by providing secure storage and the facilities for operations, hiring local community members, and securing the rice and beans from our local farmers.
The initial beneficiaries of this program will be schools supported by Overture with a school lunch program where students will receive their daily meals from the food packaging program. Each serving is the equivalent of a well-balanced meal that contains healthy fats, fiber, and protein. A single meal has the calcium of 1 ½ glasses of milk, the potassium of 1 banana, the iron of a large bowl of spinach and the protein of a piece of fish.
Not only will this ensure the nutritional needs of the school children are met, but it will also provide economic benefits for the whole community. Farmers directly benefit from the Diri Lavi! program by Overture purchasing the rice and beans for the packages. Haiti has a history of flourishing agriculture, so the potential is great for it to once again be profitable. Imagine empowering local farmers, stimulating local economies and seeing locally sourced food being distributed and sold across the region. It is possible!
Our Goals for Diri Lavi!
You may ask why the Diri Lavi! food packaging program is a better solution than simply importing food like other aid organizations that serve Haiti do. Here are four compelling reasons for launching and sustaining Diri Lavi!:
FOOD SECURITY/NUTRITION: Hunger and food insecurity are rampant in southern Haiti. And emergency food aid programs only provide temporary relief to a persistent problem. Diri Lavi! is designed to build a reliable, sustainable operation that will provide a consistent source of healthy, nutritious food AND promote independence and self-sufficiency today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
EDUCATION: Diri Lavi! is also creating opportunities to educate farmers and community members around the importance of and value in building a strong agricultural economy from field to table. This education will provide farmers with the knowledge they need to optimize their operations and increase their productivity.
EMPLOYMENT: Diri Lavi! also supports building a working community which, by nature, strengthens families and communities. We empower the surrounding community by purchasing supplies from local farmers and vendors where possible and by hiring local community members. Going local means these men and women are able to support their families and gain hands-on experience that gives them skills toward gaining future employment.
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Agriculture is one of the few historically successful industries in Haiti. The challenge has been a lack of training and a viable economy to enable farmers and communities the ability to invest in methods and infrastructure that could expand farming production. Diri Lavi! is creating consistent consumer demand for the local products and in doing so, will stimulate the local economy and provide opportunities for future development in farming.