First, we would like to introduce you to one of our partner-communities where we currently work. Indeed, our partners substantially determine what we do, the approach we take, and what are the goals toward which we diligently work together. Although each community is distinct, the overall conditions are similar.
Our current partner-community is the isolated village of Marre-Roseau, located at about 6,000 feet in the mountain range of La Selle, Commune of Ganthier.
Getting there is not for the faint of heart. The only way is to take the winding dirt road, full of potholes and stones, and accessible only by small motorcycle-taxis, or 4X4 vehicles. While trying to find the best path, the young, adroit motorcycle drivers swirl from side to side of the narrow road to avoid the hurdles. And, If you happen to look at your foot rest, you will also see right there the sharp drop of the mountain. Once in Marre-Roseau, the breathtaking view of the Cul-de-Sac plane, the Lake Azueï, and the villages flanking the mountain slopes, make you revel in the cooler air and the surrounding beauty.
Soon, however, you also notice the dry riverbed at the foot of the mountain, the all-around deforestation, and the houses that reflect the pervasive harsh poverty.
What we take for granted in the US: running water, electricity and toilets, they don’t have. Varied and nutritious food, they can’t afford. Access to good medical care, and a safe, professional place where to give birth, they lack.
How one survives in these conditions is hard to imagine. What we do know is that our local partners are hard-working, resilient farming families who think ‘smart’ to survive – albeit barely – in these harsh conditions. Somehow, they grow vegetables and herbs, raise their families, and, miraculously, make something out of the small parcel of land they possess.
They are people we admire, respect and trust. They are our teachers and worthy partners who have the will and ability to grow and prosper.
EcoWorks International (EWI), is a nonprofit, social-change organization that works alongside communities determined to overcome their deeply entrenched poverty through collaboration, capacity building, and the pursuit of autonomy and self-sufficiency.
Our Mission: To inspire and empower Haiti’s most vulnerable communities to grow just and sustainable regional economies that can compete nationally and globally.
Our Values: We believe in the power of cooperation, and in the limitless human potential to undo manmade poverty. We are committed to building ecosystems in nature and in communities to drive positive change, and to fulfill our obligation to be responsible for one another and for our planet’s survival.
Our Approach: We help our partners identify their talents, skills, and achievements then,
together, build upon these assets to develop a program based on self-sustainability. Through this process, we establish stronger, more inclusive organizational structures that are owned and controlled by the partner-community. The program responds to their needs and aspiration, and offers new opportunities they may not have been exposed to before. Our common goal is to raise capacity, income, and the standard of living.
What We Do: Based on this approach, our partners and EWI created the regional Talia Farms
development program, comprising several initiatives, the most important is the Talia Farms Cooperatives (TFC). TFC calls for the establishment of five agricultural cooperatives in the Lake Azueï region. The first will open in Marre-Roseau, in the first quarter of 2020 . In the meantime, we are training our partners, share know-how, resources, technology and anything else they may need to become the creators, owners and leaders of their cooperative.
Like the road to Marre-Roseau, life in Haiti is tough: dire poverty, dysfunctional administrative structures, misguided economic and social priorities, lack of security, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, and intermittent violent riots, all contribute to the destruction of lives, homes, businesses and crops. They also cause social and psychological trauma.
We have lived through all of these alongside our communities. It has impacted us as well, yet, more than ever, we remain steadfast in our commitment to Haiti, to our partner-communities, and to our mission.
The reason is that Haitians possess an indomitable spirit and great pride. They created an incredibly rich culture, many successful ventures, and have proven time and again that they can succeed despite past tragedies and present challenges. (Read our section “About Haiti.”)
In the US, EWI benefits from our donors’ most generous support which makes our work possible, from the dedication of our Board of Directors, and from our highly experienced professional teams. Our Haiti Team , is entirely composed of local members of the community. They intimately know the local culture, have a strong bond with the farming families , and command respect from their peers.
The five cooperatives will create employment and a better quality of life for thousands in the Lake Azueï region. Through their efforts and our support they will build an economic engine for local development.
Our Board of Directors, Haiti
Anthony Aruffo, Business Consultant, BTS Group, NY / Stockholm;
Mr. Aruffo recently joined the BTS Group’s US Headquarters of the Swedish global business consulting firm, where he is responsible for working with rising CEO’s of major corporations to further hone their strategic thinking and decision-making skills. Previously, he was the CFO at Oceangrown, an ocean-mineral fertilizer manufacture company. His pro-bono work includes working with EcoWorks International on delivering a full financial model, proforma financial statements, and co-authoring the business plan for EWI’s Talia Farms program.
Mr. Aruffo holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin. He chairs the Board of Directors of the Vero Beach Wine & Film Festival; and, as an actor, he received the Theatre Guild 2014 Genie Award – Best Male Lead in a Musical.
Deanne Butchey, Professor at Florida International University (FIU);
Professor Butchey holds a PhD in Business Administration and has been teaching at Florida International University (FIU) for more than ten years. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in areas of financial markets, financial management and corporate finance.
She authored and co-authored more than thirty publications covering Stock market and Trader Behavior, Contagion (International Finance), Insurance and Risk Mitigation Issues, Pedagogical Research in Corporate Finance, International Finance, and Commercial Banking, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Dr. Butchey is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing her leadership and academic excellence.
Marie- Florence Estimé, Economist, Paris, France
Senior Advisor on Economic Development
Former Deputy Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Local Development at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Paris, France
Ms. Leclercq is an entrepreneur and experienced business, product and brand manager in various industries. She has managed real estate development and asset acquisition, and led licensing and purchase agreements with technology companies in the payment industry. She has worked at Visa International, London and Miami; Master Card, London; The Financial Times, London as well as private clients and family offices in Monaco. She resides in Monaco.
Ms. Leclercq has volunteered at EWI since 2010 and has been a staunch supporter of our work. She joined EWI’s Board of Directors in December 2016.
Henryka Manès, Founder and Executive Director, EcoWorks International
For the past thirty years, Ms. Manès has been working with developing and emerging economy countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East and South America. Haiti is her 25th country. Her expertise spans from designing and directing of long-term, socio-economic programs to disaster responses following natural catastrophes and armed conflicts. Prior to EWI, Ms. Manès worked at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) where she progressively reached the position of Director of non-sectarian programs worldwide. She began her career as an art historian and worked as Junior Curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She then joined the seminal Light Gallery, New York City, and founded and directed the HF Manes Art Gallery in New York City.
Our US Team
Our Haitian Team
Our Professional Support
Accounting: Chaney Block, CPA
Legal: Maggie Block, Esq.
Website: Quality Tech Miami Corp.
Social Media: Cool Ideas Marketing, Miami