LAMARDELLE REVITALIZATION PROJECT.

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 Lives were lost, homes were destroyed, and farms were washed away.

Lamardelle currently faces an existential threat. Due to climate change, the intensity and frequency of the hurricanes which hit the region have substantially increased. As a result, Lamardelle is under constant threat of being devastated  by the next major hurricane. As it stands, the main road of Lamardelle becomes an impassable river with every rain fall.

 Lamardelle is located in the western region of Haiti. It is  approximately 13 miles west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of the country.

 

Lamardelle is an agricultural community. But unfortunately, like most of the country, Lamardelle suffers from poverty, poor infrastructure, minimal healthcare and high unemployment.

 

In October of 2016, hurricane Matthews, devastated the community.

 

While located far from the eye of the hurricane, Lamardelle nevertheless suffered great loss due its location at the base of two mountains. An unobstructed deluge came pouring down from the mouth of the river, leaving a terrified community in its wake.  

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TRADITIONAL AID 

 

To put it simply, the current model for aid to underdeveloped countries has simply not worked.  While billions of dollars have been spent in Subsaharan Africa, South America and the Caribbean, in most instances, the economic and political prosperity and stability of those regions have actually declined. 

 

This has been especially true in Haiti. While some may claim progress in certain areas, there has been such a decline in the country that others find themselves wishing for the bad old days of Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier. Which, given the country’s history, is a shocking proposition.  

 

There are currently over ten thousand NGO’s (non governmental organizations) working in Haiti. And while their efforts and their intentions may be good, and while they may in fact be having significant impact on  small/individualized scales, the country as a whole (including the departments, cities and towns) are arguably worse  today than they were 60 years ago.  

 

There are many reasons for this, including;

  • The donor countries have put their political interests above the interests of the people of Haiti

  • Haiti’s leaders have put their personal interest above the interest of the country and its people. 

  • Moneys which have been dedicated to helping Haiti have been misappropriated by both donors and recipients.

  • Political instability has not allowed progress to take hold.

  • Haitian have developed a mentality of dependency. 

  • There’s a tremendous amount of skepticism and mistrust within the Haitian community.

  • NGO’s take a piecemeal approach to aid rather than a comprehensive one.  

  • and so on and so on.

 

Whatever the reasons, the fact remains, Haiti and subsequently Africa, deserve better.

 

Since traditional aid has not worked, a new path for development and prosperity must be found in order to truly affect change and engender progress in the country.

 

 

 

 

 

REALIZATIONS

 

In order for change to truly take hold and for Haiti to truly elevate itself  beyond its “third world” status, several things must be acknowledged. 

Namely:

 

  • Change cannot come from without, it must come from within.

  • Instead of NGOs coming to Haiti and doing work with the support of Haitians. Haitians must take the initiative to do the work  themselves with the support of NGOs.

  • Haitians  must take the initiative to reverse the course of their circumstance.

  • Change must  be focused and concentrated rather than diluted and dispersed.

  • In order for change to be transformative it must be visible and tangible.

  • Haitians must reverse the negative/unproductive mindset which has been ingrained in the culture. 

  • Haiti’s problem is neither a lack of funding or opportunity. 

  • Haitians can no longer afford to wait for funding or resources from the outside. 

  • Haitians can no longer wait for their government to do its job.

  • Fixing individual problems i.e., a faulty bridge, building a clinic, building a road or a church, while helpful, isn’t transformative.

  • In order for Haiti to reach its full potential, the approach must be multidisciplinary and comprehensive. 

 

And most importantly:

  • Haitians have the talent, the intelligence and the work ethic to make their communities prosper both economically and culturally. 

 

LAMARDELLE REVITALIZATION PROJECT

 

The Lamardelle revitalization project reverses the current model of aid to Haiti.

 

The basic tenets of the revitalization plan are as follows:

 

 

  • Identify a specific community in which to concentrate all the revitalization efforts.

  • Identify the essential aspects of community development.

  • Identify the specific needs of the community.

  • Get the leaders of the community to agree to motivate and engage the people of the community to do the work necessary to address and fix the problems.

  • Assign committees for every aspect of the plan.

  • Appoint committee leaders to each committee.

  • Make the revitalization plan a community based effort (aka  “Konbit”). 

  • Create a reward based participation program.

  • Work with experts and professionals to find the optimal solutions to the problems.

  • Partner with NGOs and combine their efforts into a single comprehensive and supportive plan.

  • Connect and assign the solutions to the committee leaders.

  • Cater generic solutions to the specific needs, environment, resources and cultural nuances of each community.

  • Recruit others to participate as the work develops. 

  • Create visible change.

  • Engage both the national as well as international media to cover the change.

  • Promote greater participation and donations through media coverage. 

  • Rinse and repeat.

 

 

 

Identifying a specific community.

 

FEJ (FONDATION ENFANT JESUS) is an organization which is working to bring education, healthcare and economic development to Lamardelle. FEJ educates over 500 children annually, provides basic healthcare to over 7000 every year, educates the community regarding HIV/AIDS, provides one on one counseling to individuals and trains the community on the importance of clean water. FEJ also runs an orphanage which houses over 70 children. They provide food, housing as well as healthcare to those children. FEJ also connects those children to their adoptive parents.

 

Because of the influence and impact FEJ has had in Lamardelle, as well as our connection to FEJ, Lamardelle was chosen as the community in which the project will be implemented.

 

As previously stated, concentrating all efforts in a single community will make the changes visible and therefore transformative.  The success of the community  will  then serve as a model for other communities to follow. 

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KODELAM

The community leaders of Lamardelle were gathered and were presented the revitalization plan. T he tenets of the plan were discussed. The community leaders not only understood and agreed with all the points made, they emphasized and explained them even better than we did. They agreed to follow our process and to work for one another to better their community. In addition, they assembled the community and presented the plan to the people. After long discussions and  many questions, everyone agreed to participate. As a result, they formed an organization called KODELAM. This organization will be responsible for implementing the plan. 

This is a tremendous step toward success as the change of mindset is the most difficult aspect of the plan.

UPDATE:

 

KODELAM has since followed up their words with action by beginning the process ahead of schedule.

Since the initial launch of the project, in collaboration with A Dollar A Tree for Haiti, FEJ and Kodelam we:

 

  • Organized and mobilized the community 

  • Sent tools to the region

  • Did several “Konbits”i where the people of the community have gathered to clean, repair and improve the community with the tools we sent them.

  • Improved the infrastructure by providing the funds to purchase electrical transformers  

  • Organized soccer tournaments to boost moral

  • Sent money to fund the repair of a Damn

  • And much more

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Identifying the essential aspects of the community development.

 

We’ve identified five essential aspects to community development which will produce transformative change. 

 

  • Cleanliness and Beauty

  • Infrastructure

  • Economic development

  • Education

  • Culture

 

CLEANLINESS AND BEAUTY.

 

CLEANLINESS-

Cleanliness is an essential aspect of community development. It may in fact be the single most important factor in identifying the status of a community. Cleanliness is the most obvious factor which labels a community as “bad” or low income. It influences property values and impacts investment/interest from the outside.  Lack of cleanliness creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of poverty.  If your environment is dirty, you think poorly of yourself. If you think poorly of yourself, you  become less motivated.  If you’re less motivated you fall into poverty.  

 

Cleanliness also impacts the health of a community. The cleaner a community, the healthier the residents of the community. This is particularly important in under-developed countries, as cleanliness plays a crucial role in preventative health. Low income communities in under-developed countries suffer from many preventable diseases which could simply be avoided through proper personal hygiene.

    

Therefore, in order for a community to raise itself from the hardships of poverty, it must first tackle its level of cleanliness.

 

3 types of cleanliness were identified.

 

  • Personal hygiene

  • Cleanliness of home/property

  • Cleanliness of community

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Personal Hygiene - As previously stated personal hygiene plays a key role in reducing health related issues in children, women and men. Hygiene therefore has a direct impact on the overall health of  communities.

 

Solution: Working with doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals and the community leaders, the LRP (Lamaradelle Revitalization Project) will create a series  of lessons designed to educate the community on how to improve their personal hygiene. (see education) 

Committee leader-

Cleanliness of home/property-  The cleanliness of a home has a direct impact on both the physical and the mental health of the individuals who reside within it. The cleaner the home, the greater the standards of those who live in the home. And the greater the standards, the greater the effort to meet and improve those standards… in every aspect of life. 

 

Solution: Working with experts, professional, and the community leaders, the LRP will create a series of lessons designed to motivate and educate people about the ways, means and benefits of having clean homes. (see education)

 

Committee leader-

Cleanliness of the community- The same logic applies to the standards of a community. As previously stated, the cleaner a community, the healthier and more successful the community. 

Committee Leader

However, in order for a community to properly clean itself it must manage its waste.

In order for Lamardelle to maintain a high standard of cleanliness a waste management system must be developed and implemented.

The LRP waste management plan includes:

 

  • Motivating the people of Lamardelle to properly discard, manage and control their personal waste.

  • Creating a waste collection system.

  • Determining a dump site.

  • Determining ways to maximize waste.

 

As previously stated, the development plan will be broken up into committees. Committee leaders will then be appointed to run and manage each committee.

(see chart)

 

It will be the responsibility of the Waster management committee to motivate the people of Lamardelle to manage their personal waste. Supported by efforts from the LRP. (See education.)  

 

LET’S CLEAN LAMARDELLE DAY. 

The waste management plan will start with a  clean up day.

On that day, the community will come together to pick up and properly discard all the garbage in their homes as well as in the community.

Committee leader.

 

Once the cleanup has taken place, the collected waste, (and all future waste) will be separated into three different categories.

 

  • Organic waste

  • Non organic waste

  • Plastics.

 

Organic waste will be composted and sold to farmers as a soil conditioner.

 

Non Organic waste will be converted into charcoal briquettes, and sold as a cheaper alternative to charcoal. Doing this will also have the added benefit of greatly impacting tree conservation. 

 

Plastics will be collected and sold to Plastic Bank/konbit plastic for money. 

Appoint waste system managers.

Waste system managers will be responsible for collecting and managing the waste in the community. In return they will earn money by selling their compost and their faux charcoals back to the community. They will also earn money by selling their collected plastics to the plastic bank.

BEAUTY-

Beauty is an essential aspect of prosperity, health and wealth.

Poverty neither means ugly nor dirty.

The more beautiful a city, the more economically and socially viable it becomes.

 

As such, it is imperative  for the people of Lamardelle  to take steps to beautify their living spaces as well as their community.

This will be done in collaboration with two organizations, PAC (Pan African Collective) and  ADATH ( A Dollar A Tree For Haiti).

As with every other aspect of the plan, a committee will be created and a committee leader will be appointed.

committee leader. 

 

The beautification of Lamardelle will be promoted in three areas.

  • Homes

  • Businesses

  • Community

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HOMES

Committee Leader

BGF is a non profit organization which  builds, renovates and repairs structures in under developed countries. They currently build homes for the very poor in Haiti.  Their houses are built with  high standards and are made to be both functional, sturdy and beautiful. BGF has agreed to teach the people of Lamardelle ways to improve their current homes.  They may also provide resources such as paint and paint brushes which will allow home owners to beautify their homes. The beautification  of Lamardelle will take place in incremental steps  (one street at a time) and will grow out of a central location.

 

  • Mud huts will be replaced by BGF homes.

  • Unfinished homes will be painted and finished. (see tax laws)

HOMES

Committee Leader

BGF is a non profit organization which  builds, renovates and repairs structures in under developed countries. They currently build homes for the very poor in Haiti.  Their houses are built with  high standards and are made to be both functional, sturdy and beautiful. BGF has agreed to teach the people of Lamardelle ways to improve their current homes.  They may also provide resources such as paint and paint brushes which will allow home owners to beautify their homes. The beautification  of Lamardelle will take place in incremental steps  (one street at a time) and will grow out of a central location.

 

  • Mud huts will be replaced by BGF homes.

  • Unfinished homes will be painted and finished. (see tax laws)

BUSINESS

committee leader

A Business standard committee will be established to improve the standards of businesses in  Lamardelle. The responsibility of the Business standard committee will be to motivate all business owners, including street vendors, market vendors, restaurant and store owners, to increase the standard by which they offer their goods and services to the community. The keys which business owners will focus on will be

  • Neatness

  • Cleanliness

  • Customer service

  • Respect for the customer (including the locals)

  • Beauty 

  • Pricing

 

The goal will be to make Lamardelle’s markets so neat and beautiful, they attract even tourists to them.

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COMMUNITY

In addition to personal spaces and businesses, the Lamardelle community must come together to beautify their community as a whole.

Committee Leader

This will involve mobilizing the community to 

  • Plant flowers throughout the community

  • Make beautiful pathways throughout the community

  • Find other ways to make the community as beautiful as possible. 

 

In addition to the reward based participation program, the beautification aspect of the LRP will involve a reward based competition program.

 

Cash and other prizes will be awarded to:

  • Most beautiful homes

  • Most improved homes

  • Most beautiful area

  • Most improved area.

  • Most beautiful gardens

  • and so on

 

 

Cleaning and beautifying Lamardelle will create a visible change which will not only have tremendous impact on on the community itself but to all outside visitors.

 

 

It will:

  • Give residents a sense of pride  

  • Boost their morale and psyche 

  • Engender economic opportunity 

  • Engender social prosperity

  • Boost tourism and business

  • Promote participation from international sources

  • Promote donations from the Haitian Diaspora

  • Bring money into Lamardelle

  • and much more

INFRASTRUCTURE

The key to the LRP lies in the fact that the steps involved can be accomplished by the people of the community and in the fact that it requires much less external resources to succeed.

As such, we must take a short term and a long term approach to infrastructure.

 

Our Short term goals involve things which require minimal resources  and which can be started relatively quickly. However, our solutions and methods will implement the latest most innovative scientific and engineering solutions available today. The LRP will work with universities (such as Morgan State University, University of the District Of Columbia,Oregon State University  and others) as well as working professionals to develop the processes necessary to get the job done.  

 

Our short term infrastructure plan will include:

  • Roads

  • Irrigation

  • Water

  • Electricity

 

ROADS 

The roads to Lamardelle are in such disrepair they are a real impediment to any kind of progress. The roads make it difficult for;

  • Farmers to bring their goods to market

  • People to get to and from work

  • People to visit the town 

  • Children to get to school

  • People to travel to and fro

 

As such, fixing Lamardelle’s roads is a priority.

Committee leader

The engineering department at Morgan state University has agreed to help us find and implement the proper methods for building Lamardelle’s roads.

The committee leader will mobilize a volunteer crew to get the job done.  

The LRP will look for the tools and machinery necessary to get the job done.

Bulldozers can be rented to flatten the roads and make them much more accessible. 

 

IRRIGATION 

Committee leader

As an agricultural community, Lamardelle is very reliant on irrigation. While flooding is a danger during the rainy season, the area practically becomes a desert during the dry season. This places tremendous limitations on the farmers and the growers of the town. Currently, farms operate at a 30% capacity. This has declined to a 10% capacity due to a recent drought.  Unfortunately no infrastructure has been put in place to either manage the water during the rainy season or store the water during the dry season. As a result, production grinds to a halt and the whole community suffers.

Through the University of the District of Columbia the RFP will build self sustaining, solar powered wells which will be able to irrigate the whole area.

This will not only allow farmers to grow year round, it will increase their productivity by a factor of 10.

 

 

WATER 

Committee leader

The RFP also plans to build water stations throughout the community where people will be able to get clean water and bathe in privacy. (many of the people and the children of lamardelle bathe outdoor in unsanitary streams and rivers). 

 

Long term infrastructure will include much bigger projects at much bigger costs.

Long term infrastructure will be implemented in phase two of the project.

 

ELECTRICITY

As with everything in the country, Lamardelle’s electrical grid is shoddy at best and terrible at worst. Electricity is unreliable and large portions of the town often go without electricity because of broken or faulty transformers and electrical lines. The RFP has recently provided the funds to replace an electrical transformer which provided electricity to half of the town. The fundraising was a collaboration between the RFP, ADATH and the community itself (people donated money to the project). The repairs and installation was done by volunteers in the community.

This was yet another powerful example of the change in the mindset of the people.

 

Electricity also plays an essential role in the economic potential of the area. As explained by the leaders, electricity will provide lights which will allow the community to extend, not only its social life but its economic life as well. Business and commerce can be prolonged by electricity.

Some businesses, such as restaurants can even be created as a result.

 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

The economic development part of the LRP is perhaps the most impactful of all. In order for Lamardelle to flourish it must prosper economically.  

The goal of the LRP isn’t to have a beautiful town where the people are starving and lacking proper education, but rather to have a beautiful town which is economically viable and productive. 

 

As previously stated, cleaning, beautifying, and providing electricity to Lamardelle will have an economic impact on the town.

So too will fixing the roads and providing water.

However, much more can be done with respect to economic development.

 

Lamardelle is a farming community. However, due to improper irrigation, the dry season, and more recently, droughts, Lamardelle’s farms are producing at about 10% of their capacity. While this may be disastrous news, it also presents a very big opportunity to quickly turn things around. By simply providing irrigation to farmers, crop output/revenue will increase by over a factor of 10. In addition, the LRP will not only help farmers sell their products nationally, but internationally as well. There is tremendous demand in Haiti for goods which can be produced in Lamardelle. Just as there is tremendous international demand for good as well. 

Lamardelle happens to be central to Haiti. As a result, it has a market where people from all over the country come to buy.

Increasing crop output, while restoring the market place through the clean/beautification plan will create the avenue by which the increased production will be sold. In addition, through the cold cube project, which provides solar generated refrigeration units, the life of those goods can be extended and preserved.

Furthermore, the LRP can help establish factories which can transform goods into value added goods, thereby providing jobs in the community.

The influx of income to the area will be supported by other businesses such as restaurants and cinema and so on.

 

Lamardelle’s economic transformation can be as follows.

 

  • Build wells which irrigate farms

  • Rebuilt and beautify the market place

  • Increase crop production ten folds

  • Use “Nutreent” to help produce an exceptionally high quality product

  • Increase the shelf life of those goods

  • Sell those goods in the market

  • Identify international demand for goods which Lamardelle can produce

  • Identify value added goods which are in demand both nationally and internationally

  • Find entrepreneurs to build factories to transform the goods produced by the farmers into those value added goods (such as dried fruit)

  • Provide jobs through those factories

  • Help the community increase their standard of living.

  • Create a service industry to meet those needs

  • Provide micro loans to farmers to rent or buy machinery to better manage their farms

  • Provide micro loans to entrepreneurs to build businesses to service the community, such as restaurants and cinemas

  • Expand the capabilities of the farmers by providing livestock or teaching how to manage hatcheries or poultry farms

  • and so on

LIVESTOCK

LRP will attempt to partner with HEIFER international to provide livestock to the people of Lamardelle. We will also help to educate them on how to properly manage and maximize their livestocks. Including 

  • Chicken coops for egg and meat production. 

  • Pig farms 

  • Goat farms

  • And more

 

 

 

 

EDUCATION

Committee leader

Education is an essential aspect of every society. It is in fact arguably the most important aspect of societies.

Education provides the foundation on which progress is made.

There are however limitations on trying to provide traditional education to under developed countries.

 

These limitations include

 

  • Cost

  • Resources

  • Teachers

  • Access

  • Impact

 

Cost

It is costly to build the infrastructure needed to provide proper education to tens of thousands of young people.

Resources

Resources such as books, pens, paper and desks are often scarce.

Teachers

It is often difficult to find educated and trained teachers in rural and impoverished communities.

Access

Even when schools are built, resources are provided and teachers are available, the majority of kids still don’t have access to education as those schools only cover a small percentage of the potential student population.

 

 

 

 

 

Impact

Even when kids have received formal education, if their environment is economically limited, that education has very little value. Ironically, educated young people tend to leave their towns in search of opportunity elsewhere, thereby maintaining the cycle of poverty.

 

While we often think of academic education when we think of education, it’s important to note Academic education isn’t always the most appropriate type of education for rural/low income areas. Other types of education can in fact have equal if not greater impact.

 

Including:

 

  • Social education

  • lifestyle and standards education

  • Non-formal education

  • Skilled labor training

  • Trade schools 

  • Education on things like preventable diseases and hygiene 

  • and more

 

EDUCATION PROGRAM 

 

While the LRP will continue to fully support FEJ and its efforts towards formal education, our focus will be elsewhere.

In fact the LRP has developed a new method of education designed to reach the optimal number of people while having the optimal impact.

Through a series of videos provided by battery powered projectors, we will create lessons on essential topics for the people of the community.

Through those programs we will not only be able to teach the fundamentals of reading, writing, arithmetic and history, we will also be able to teach basic skills in carpentry, construction, agriculture and much more. We will teach the skills and provide the knowledge people can use to maximize their daily lives.

 

The LRP will achieve this through through two means. Community leaders and videos.

 

Community Leaders

The LRP will train community leaders to educate the people of Lamardelle. These leaders will not only be responsible for operating the projectors, they will also:

  • Help create the lesson plan

  • Set the schedule for the lessons

  • Be educated themselves in each lesson

  • Be available to help and answer questions on the lessons.

  • Constantly reinforce the principals of the LRP

 

Books and pencils will be provided for children and adults interested in learning the basics the reading, writing and math.

 

Videos

Committee leader

Our videos will be our most powerful tool in changing the mindset of the community. Lamardelle is an extremely rural community with limited electricity and resources. As such, the people neither have access to televisions or cinema. Providing these will bring people from far and wide.

The LRP will set up screens where people will be able to watch movies and shows for free. However, the shows will be interrupted by messages and lessons which will greatly benefit the people of the community.

Once this system has been accepted and adopted we will provide classes at specific times for specific subjects. Including classes on basic reading, writing and arithmetic.

CULTURE

Culture is yet an important aspect of community. Culture promotes life and happiness. It celebrates food, dance and music. 

A clean, beautiful and prosperous community will set the stage for Lamardelle’s culture to be promoted and enjoyed.

 

The cultural drive will include 

  • Food/Restaurants

  • Music/Clubs and bars

  • Theatre/actors, dance and performance art

  • Vendors

  • Art

and more

 

 

CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND

One of the most wonderful plans the LRP will implement will be the Christmas wonderland Project.

Through our partnership with the PAC, ADATH, FEJ and others, we will gather toys and solar powered Christmas lights to decorate FEJ’s compound into a Christmas wonderland.

We will invite the people of the community, more importantly the children of the community to come and enjoy the light show.

There will be music and games.

Toys will be handed out to children who’ve never owned an actual toy in their life.

 

 

 

REWARD BASED PARTICIPATION- The LRP is a volunteer program. The people of the community must agree to freely participate. However, those who participate will be rewarded for their efforts by being first in line to receive the resources, tools, benefits and rewards our partners will provide towards this project.  Participants will be in line to receive items such as flowers, fruit trees, livestock, access to water,  paint, paint brushes, loans, machinery and even houses.

The LRP, in accord with CODLAM will also implement a competitive aspect to the plan.

Prizes will be handed out for things such as:

Most beautiful home

Most improved home

Most beautiful garden

Hardest working volunteer

And so on

 

 

Those who participate the most will receive the most.