Training starts for villagers in cassava factory; exchange visits to take place between farming communities; planning maximum effectiveness with minimum funds; training for vulnerable Haitian migrant groups; setting up a new revolving fund for farmers in Restauración; meeting with community groups to explain delays due to late arrival of funding...

DW Gabriel: "The beneficiaries are fully engaged in the preparations"

This week we finally started with the training on management, accounting and marketing for the cassava factory activities. The workshop will last 5 days.

The official inauguration of the factory is planned for February 28th and we expect local authorities, representatives of our partner organisations and the whole community to be participating in this event. The beneficiaries are fully engaged in the preparations and really excited to make the factory and the marketing of the cassava bread a huge success for them and the whole community.

Exchange visits to share learning

This month we are also scheduling exchange visits between the communities of Dilaire and Hinche. A beneficiary group of each community will come to Ouanaminthe, to get to know the experience and the work done with beneficiary groups in Lamine and Gens de Nantes.

These kind of exchanges are an important part of learning and motivation. The beneficiaries who are living in similar conditions, though in different areas of the country, can learn from each other and better understand how to develop and implement solutions for common concerns of food insecurity, natural hazards [drought, floods] and environmental protection. The team of Solidarite Fwontalye is also learning from the experience and the work.

DW Karina: "Haitian migrant groups are the most vulnerable"

During the last two weeks, together with my colleagues I was planning the activities to be implemented in the upcoming weeks and during the next months. It is important to elaborate a clear schedule and coordinate with the beneficiary groups and promoters in food security and health care, who are helping us in the implementation of activities and monitoring of beneficiaries.

For this year the funds are still limited and some disbursement of funds have not been done yet. So we need to be efficient and prudent in the expenditure of funds, in order to achieve good results with the minimum investment.

Training on setting up family gardens and raising chickens

The priority now is to get started the activities with Haitian migrant groups, who are the most vulnerable due to their status as migrants – often excluded, discriminated against, and with little legal protection or support. It's urgent to start training for the implementation of small family gardens and chicken-raising with this group of beneficiaries.

We held a meeting with the promoters [food security promoters or ‘champion farmers’] of Cruz de Cabrera and Las Rosas, who are concerned about the delays in the implementation of activities, as they know best the immediate needs of families in risk. The motivation and engagement of the promoters to support these families is an inspiration for us to keep looking constantly for funding.

DW Bernardo: "it's important to hold a constant dialogue with the communities"

In the last days I was busy with meetings to schedule and coordinate some new activities for which we received some extra funding recently within the programme of agro-ecological production and trade along the northern border.

We will implement these activities with farmers’ associations linked to the Cooperative Union of Restauración. The idea is that these associations can join the project through special credits obtained through the Cooperative Union with less than 1% of interest per month.

Revolving fund will support sustainable development

The project funds will be used for the implementation of a revolving fund, where the union’s members can access the fund by presenting a proposal linked to agro-ecological production on an individual, group or association level. These proposals will be evaluated by a committee formed of community members and staff of Solidaridad Fronteriza. The evaluation will be through a feasibility analysis, enabling the fund to support the best proposals contributing to a sustainable development of the communities.

This idea will be a pilot, but we are opting for it as a strategy for ownership and sustainability of transformation processes that are contributing to the improvement of communities’ living standards.

Pressure from delays in receiving funds

On the other hand, we are under pressure regarding to the delayed disbursement of funds from the Ministry of Environment. The programme activities funded by the Ministry are currently stopped as budgeted funds are not arriving, repeating a situation that we faced already several times during the last year. This means that we have nearly a one year delay in the normal course of implementing the activities.

This difficulty has started to generate discontent and questioning by the target communities about the project management, which is negative for the credibility of the organisation, and also for the engagement of the communities with the projects that we are implementing with them. For this reason, we held several meetings with community-based organisations and beneficiary groups to explain the causes of these difficulties due to the delays caused by the Ministry.

It's important to hold a constant dialogue with the communties and to be accountable to them, as we are working for them and not them for us!

Photo: Oscar Eugenio Jimenéz with his chickens at this farm in Loma del Guano (photo © Fran Afonso/Progressio). Read more about Oscar and his wife Belcis Suero.

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Dear Progressio Readers,

My name is Caitlin Stilin-Rooney and I am currently living in the border town of Jimani in the Dominican Republic. I am working with MICFA (Christian Mission of Faith and Love),the parent organization of COTEDEMI (Technical Cooperation for Micro-entrepreneurial Development of Jimaní). COTEDEMI is an association of Haitian migrant women who have been displaced by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. COTEDMI’s main goal is to promote education, health, and economic development to the families of these women. Most of them are single women with children whose situation is growing worse day by day. COTEDMI is a micro-credit, and lending organization that has grown to a group of 68 members.

We are currently looking for any information, ideas, and/or financial support which would help us by products to be sold at a subsidized price to ensure that migrants are not harassed and violated when crossing to and from Haiti.

Hope to hear from you!


Caitlin Stilin-Rooney
Jimani, Republica Dominicana
Skype: cstilinr