Because of Tropical Storm Chantal, we've been making sure community members were prepared for it: the devasting consequences of this kind of storm are difficult to mitigate in these impoverished and highly vulnerable communities.
Luckily the storm passed without causing major harm, though we did have to postpone some activities in the field because of the weather.
I took the opportunity to do some preparation for an upcoming activity - the construction of ecological stoves. These stoves will considerably reduce the use of charcoal and hopefully contribute a the decrease in the cutting down of trees, which leads to the high levels of deforestation that Haiti suffers.
Last Friday we planned to have a meeting with the community of Lamine to raise awareness and explain the construction of the ecological stoves, unfortunately the road was blocked as consequence of the storm, even motorcycles could not cross.
However, this week we've caught up on the training sessions with the Agro-Sylvicolas Brigades (agro-forestry brigades), establishing new groups and starting work on monitoring and protection of reforested areas.
We completed 19 sessions of multiplication in Lamine and Gens de Nantes involving 15-16 people per session. Through these activities we managed to retain so far 14,312 m2 of land with slopes and perform 781.3 linear meters of contour line channels and 781.3 linear meters of stone barriers. These are biomechanical soil conservation methods to counter the effects of erosion and also restore and improve soil quality and water. Additionally, we distributed 60 kits of tools and 50 copies of training guides for monitors of the brigades.
We completed also the construction of a watershed in Vosagens - community Lamine. The impluvio has a foreseen capacity of 100 m3 and its actual capacity is 120 m3 for collection and storage of rainwater in a cistern which irrigates vegetable plots when there is a shortage of rain. This activity is benefiting 189 persons in the community of Vosagens and has resolved a huge problem of lack of irrigation water. It's a problem which is affecting nearly all the communities we are working with, but as it a costly investment, through the project we were able only to construct one watertank. It's our committment to look for more funds in order to provide more of these water storage and irrigation systems.
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Photo © Fran Afonso/Progressio - Gabriel Petit-Homme addresses villagers in Gens de Nantes