Haitian proverbs tell not only of the country’s problems, but also how its people continuously overcome. “Behind mountains, more mountains,” one says, to which another proverb is echoed in reply: “Many hands lighten the load.”
Indeed, the load is heavy. Once the home of a powerful slave revolt that created the world’s first Black republic, and known as the richest colony in the “new world,” today Haiti is among the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. Excruciating poverty, rampant deforestation and political instability imposed from the outside in have taken a toll on the Haitian people.
Haiti also faces massive environmental challenges. Deforestation has left the country even more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as hurricanes, long-term drought, massive flooding, and erosion.
But even in the midst of this, powerful social movements and grassroots organizations offer local solutions for the country’s long-term growth. And it is those groups that form our Haitian partnerships. Through these partnerships, Grassroots International aims to be part of efforts to lift up the pivotal historical and current role of Haitian movements in the global struggle for Black liberation, to promote food sovereignty, defend the right to land, and promote climate and ecological justice.
Among the objectives of our Haiti program are: promote sustainable food production and its equitable distribution; foster opportunities for solidarity economies that promote community-based sustainable livelihoods, especially for women; strengthen grassroots communities’ capacities to become the authors of their own future; secure human rights as outlined in the Haitian constitution and by the United Nations; and contribute to the restoration of Haiti’s natural environment as a key component of food sovereignty and climate justice.
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