Progressio development worker Gabriel Petit-Homme writes:

Last Thursday the cassava factory in Gens de Nantes was officially opened under the slogan "Eat cassava bread produced in Gens de Nantes and encourage our local production" (in Creole: "Manje kasav ki fet Jandnant, se ankouraje pwodiksyon laky nou!"). You can see in the slideshow pictures of staff and villagers wearing blue t-shirts with the slogan on them!

The event organised by our partner Solidarite Fwontalye brought together the villagers of Gens de Nantes, together with a group of beneficiaries from the Hinche area, national and international coordinators of the project from the four partner organisations, as well as local and regional authorities (Departmental Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources for Rural Development, the Vice Delegate of Ouanaminthe, the Mayor of Ounaminthe and representatives of community-based organisations of the communities of Gens de Nantes and Lamine). So it was a big occasion!

Training in production and marketing

Before the official opening, we completed the training course in production and marketing of cassava bread, as well as training in management, maintenance and accounting for the steering committee of the factory.

The factory aims to give a boost to the production of yucca and peanuts in the Gens de Nantes area. People will be marketing cassava products in local and national markets, with emphasis on Ouanaminthe and Cap Haitien.

"We learned that progress is possible"

This activity represents an important source of income, particularly for women in the local community. Luisanne Polimus, coordinator of the steering commitee, said during her speech at the inauguration:

"Thanks to Solidarite Fwontalye, Progressio and the partner organisations, we are encouraged to work together in the development of our community and to grow through the opportunity to reach other communities and markets with our local production. We learned that progress is possible with joint efforts and motivation."

Sharing knowledge with other communities

The beneficiary group from the community of Hinche (area of Plateau Central) arrived two days earlier as part of an exchange visit between the two areas. They were impressed by the factory and the achievements so far in the communities of Gens de Nantes and Lamine.

This exchange activity has been important for groups from both areas, as it opened opportunities to discuss experiences within the project and also how the groups can work together and support each other. They exchanged best practice and lessons learned on organisational structures, problems and solutions of common difficulties, and in general the work each organisation is doing.

A huge success

The exchange visit and the inauguration have been a huge success and therefore we are now trying to reschedule the canceled visit of the group from Ouanaminthe to Hinche as soon as possible.

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