Haiti’s women peasants are key in hurricane response | Development and Peace

Haiti’s women peasants are key in hurricane response

December 22, 2016
Haiti’s women peasants are key in hurricane response

Women peasants in Haiti are crucial for ensuring the country does not go hungry. Their work contributes to feeding their families and communities. Sadly, they are one of the groups that was most affected by the ravages of Hurricane Matthew, which is why Development and Peace is making them a special focus of its response to this natural disaster.

With your donations, we are working with partner organizations like OFTAG and FESMAR in Grand’Anse, one of the departments to have suffered the worst impacts of the hurricane, to help peasant women repair their homes and relaunch their agricultural activities.

Up to 90% of homes in the region suffered damages or were completely destroyed. Crops were also ruined in this fertile region, which is considered the bread basket of the country, and torrential rains in the ensuing weeks washed away whatever plantings were left.

OFTAG is an association of women small farmers in Grand’Anse that is supporting them in earning a better livelihood from their agricultural activities by providing technical training, creating communal infrastructure such as mills and organizing cooperatives. With Development and Peace, OFTAG launched a cooperative to allow women in the community to transform their manioc crops (manioc is a root crop) into cassava bread that can be sold at the market. The offices of OFTAG and the building that houses the cooperative were both severely damaged, but if enough funds are raised they will be repaired. In order to help women and their families address their immediate needs, Development and Peace is working with OFTAG to provide urgent food aid. For the members of OFTAG, however, the solidarity they have between one other is as important as the help provided by OFTAG.

“When you are part of OFTAG, you are part of a family. We need to find a way to rebuild and live better,” said Delva Marie Sonise, who has four children, yet who sheltered five other families in her home during the hurricane.

Haiti’s women peasants are key in hurricane response

Delva Marie Sonise lost all her crops and her house was extensively damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

FESMAR is an organization that also works with peasants and is particularly focused on the region’s rich cocoa production. It organizes cooperatives and helps cocoa farmers improve their crops and gain better access to markets so they can receive a better price for their quality cocoa beans.


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With your support, FESMAR and Development and Peace are helping women like Noelina, a single mother of three who lost everything to Matthew, who is one of the twelve members of the women’s cocoa cooperative supported by FESMAR. Emergency aid has been provided to help distribute seeds for planting, repair housing for the most vulnerable, clean gardens, launch nurseries for reforestation and get small manufacturing workshops managed by women up and running again.