Grassroots International provided start-up funds to the Dessalines Brigade, a learning exchange of agricultural and technical cooperation between Haitians and Brazilians, and continues to partner with the groups involved. A version of this article originally appeared in ALBA Movimentos.
Last month the Jean -Jacques Brigade of International Solidarity with Haiti held various activities in the women’s and agricultural sectors.
The first activity was a survey of about 60 women from the organization Peasant Movement for Justice in the Artibonite (MOREPLA), in the town of Preval, in the department of Artibonite. The survey highlighted some of the most pressing issues that rural women face in the region: the problems that arise from the monoculture of rice, the shortage of potable water, the lack of health infrastructure, and the lack of economic autonomy for women that cause vulnerability and an increase in the rate of violence against women. In Haiti, women have a prominent presence in the creation and support of all kinds of social movements, so a goal of the brigade is to strengthen the organizational capacity and leadership development of women.
Another activity that took place was a joint training with Tet Kole around the creation of heirloom seed banks and grain storage. This training was held in the town of Pwikouzen, in the Northwest department. The training was approached from an agroecological perspective with the intention of developing food sovereignty. Sadly, in the context of the military occupation and continued imperial interference, Haiti’s agricultural sector is underdeveloped and Haiti remains dependent on foreign aid.
Both of these activities were approached from the perspective of popular education, which draws from historical social movements like ALBA Movimientos and Via Campesina.
Below is a slideshow of the learning exchange.