PLD works with peasant organizations in Haiti to sustainably improve their agricultural production, income generation, food security, health and natural resource management.
PLD staff have succeeded where so many have failed largely because they focus on strengthening local leadership and peasant organizations through a practical “learning by doing” approach to addressing basic needs. Support is provided to community groups to identify priority issues, start small, and experiment to find workable solutions. The mobilization and use of local assets is prioritized.
When successful approaches are identified, these are spread among farmers, families, and community-based organizations through volunteer promoters and farmer-to-farmer exchanges. Experience has shown that people learn better from their neighbors who have achieved successes while facing similar circumstances, as opposed to from external experts promoting technological packages that may not be accessible or sustainable over the long term.
Cantave Jean Baptiste, PLD’s National Coordinator, describes the work as follows. “In our approach, when we strengthen local organizations, we are not trying to just plant ‘annual crops’ but to plant and grow a strong tree that can continue to give life and fruit for the long term. We have to nurture the young seedling with a lot of intense care and support at the beginning – to water it, give it organic matter, and make sure the animals don’t eat it. Then when it is a young tree we provide less support but continue to make sure it can grow strong and bear fruit. And then when it is strong and can flourish, we leave it to grow on its own. We continue a relationship and a connection, but the goal is that the tree, the local organization, is growing strong on its own, without us, and is giving fruit and life to the community for many, many years. And we are seeing that this approach works.”