Haitian proverbs tell not only of that country's problems, but also how her people overcome. "Behind mountains, more mountains," one says, to which another proverb is echoed in reply: "Many hands lighten the load."
Indeed, the load is heavy. Excruciating poverty, rampant deforestation and political instability from the outside in have taken a toll on the Haitian people. But even in the midst of this, powerful social movements and grassroots organizations offer local solutions for the country's long-term growth. And it is those groups that form Grassroots International's Haitian partnerships.
Coalitions like the Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA) and the Haitian Human Rights Platform (POHDH) provide space for local community groups to bring their concern and expertise to national and international levels. They also work closely with rural social movements. The Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP), for example, is active in food sovereignty and reforestation initiatives in central Haiti. That experience drove them to spearhead a broader movement, the National Congress of the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPNKP), with hopes of it being replicated throughout the country.
Foreign interventions, distrust, and violence have undermined a national agenda that might have met the needs of Haiti's poor throughout successive Haitian governments.
When international financial institutions implemented the triple whammy of the Washington Consensus--stabilization to curb inflation, structural adjustment, and export-led growth, the Haitian economy collapsed across sectors, with agriculture particularly hard-hit. Government services were reduced in an attempt to balance the budget--often leaving rural Haitians entirely out of the overcrowded "Republic of Port-au-Prince."
In 2010, a devastating earthquake struck the capital and surrounding areas--resulting in unprecedented loss of lives and livelihoods
In the face of these and other challenges, Haitians have demonstrated impressive creativity and a frequently-tested will to survive.
We are honored to walk with our partners and allies as they join together to build a new Haiti on the foundation of dignity and human rights.