Updated: Feb 22
While challenges and crises are nothing new for Haiti, the ongoing and heightened political instability and gang violence is crippling this nation already overwhelmed by extreme poverty and damages from recent natural disasters. Farming households have been severely limited in their ability to plant crops, which has resulted in extremely low production at harvest. Furthermore, inflation and the deterioration of the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar have deteriorated their income to levels most families cannot bear.
But together, we are changing this by fostering steps that can be taken to provide families and communities with opportunities that will lead them to long-term food security.
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. We see it. Can you?
Overture Launches Pilot Project To Build Food Security
Because we can count on our supporters to consistently invest in our work, 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 in the southern region of Haiti with a food packaging program that will use locally sourced products and create jobs for local community members.
Overture believes in the power of collaboration and partnership!
Together with Midwest Food Bank, we will soon launch a pilot project for food packaging using the recipe of their packaged meal called Tender Mercies. Designed by dietitians to provide critical nutrition, the foundation of the Tender Mercies recipe consists of savory rice and beans, spices, vitamins, and minerals.
Each serving of Tender Mercies is the equivalent of a well-balanced meal that contains healthy fats, fiber, and protein.
A single bowl of Tender Mercies 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.
Beginning in mid-June of 2022, the Midwest Food Bank will provide supplies, protein and essential vitamins needed to successfully launch the project. Overture will manage the efforts in Haiti by hiring local community members and securing the rice and beans from our local farmers.
This partnership and YOUR support makes the packaging of a nutritious meal using locally sourced Haitian rice and beans from community farmers possible.
Opportunity for Farmers
As you may already be aware, our community farm program at ESPWA equips more than 60 farmers from six communities with resources that expand crop production. Rice and beans will be purchased from the farmers in the communities we serve to launch the packaging project and will be the model for developing similar programs in other communities, enabling us to exponentially increase production with each expansion. Not only does this increase our production capabilities, but it will also create a stronger infrastructure for building food security in our communities.
There will also be an education component of this program designed to educate
farmers on best practices for consistent production to ensure reliable supplies for the program throughout and beyond the pilot. As with all our efforts, this project empowers our friends in southern Haiti to move from generational dependence toward autonomy and self-sufficiency.
The Pilot Project
Conducting a pilot project will allow us to test our process and to determine what will be needed to expand the program to meet our current school lunch programs and emergency relief inventory needs and beyond.
Each package of ingredients will contain 25 servings, and our goal is to assemble 4,000 packages in Haiti.
Upon completion, our pilot project will provide a total of 100,000 servings of Tender Mercies to the school lunch programs we support, providing 2,400 students a nutritious meal each school day for two months.
When this pilot project proves to be successful as we predict, the expansion of food packaging will ensure the nutritional needs for school lunch programs, provide wage-earning jobs to community members, and equip farmers with the resources for development that will increase their production.
Here are four compelling reasons for investing in the Overture Diri Lavi! food packaging program:
1: 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. The Diri Lavi! program is designed to build a reliable, sustainable program that will provide a consistent source of healthy, nutritious food AND promote independence and self-sufficiency today, tomorrow and for generations to come. And as Nutrition is one pillar of our Social Support Model, the infrastructure to ensure food supplies are available and accessible is critical.
The Diri Lavi! program will also create 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. Education will also extend to other community members including parents, teachers and other leaders who can benefit from a clear understanding of the program, how they can benefit from it, and how they can contribute to its success by acting as ambassadors and advocates for the entire community to get behind this important initiative.
The Diri Lavi! program also leads to a working community which, by nature, strengthens families and communities. We empower the surrounding community by collaborating with local leadership, purchasing supplies locally and hiring community members. And through the process, local crew members are able to support their families and gain hands-on experience that gives them skills toward gaining future employment. Developing a generation of employed Haitians will foster a sense of independence, accountability and self-sufficiency for generations to come and help end the cycle of dependence and poverty so pervasive in the communities we serve.
4: 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! will create a consistent consumer demand for the local products and in doing so, will stimulate the local economy and provide opportunities for future development in farming.
We are excited to share this program with you and welcome your questions, prayers, and support.
Click here to learn more about our Nutrition Programs or click on the image to download our May Nutrition Letter to share with a friend!
You can reach out with any questions by emailing: email@example.com or calling 336-870-5723 and invest in the program by donating to Overture today.