OUR OBJECTIVES :
- Provide 2,000 farmers with training and support to increase their productivity and crop quality
- Transition farmers to practice organic agriculture, mutual support, and agro-entrepreneurship
- Produce annually 22,000 Metric Tons of organic vegetables for the domestic and export markets
- Establish a profitable marketing and sales entity; introduce profit-sharing
- Promote entrepreneurship in multiple sectors to diversify and strengthen the local economy
- Focus on profitability so the programs can become self-funded and sustainable long-term
Agricultural Production: Implementation Phase 1
EWI’s Talia Farms agricultural production is to grow organic vegetables. Current production includes: carrots, beets, beans, cabbage; sugar cane, bananas, and herbs. Growing other vegetables is being planned to better respond to market demand.
Recruiting Participating Farmers: Close to ten communities of the Commune of Ganthier are now participating in EWI’s Talia Farms program, which brings a total of 200 hectares under agricultural production. This development fast-tracks Talia Farms’ implementation schedule advancing it by one year which demonstrates the farmers’ eagerness to increase their productivity and crops quality, and finding solutions to their most pressing problems.
Only a portion of this available acreage is planted due to several hurdles, the most pressing one being lack of water.
Water: Access to water for agricultural production is the most urgent and formidable problem facing all Haitian farmers. Research confirms that our region has a significant number of aquifers thus building artesian wells is one potential solution; creating artificial lakes is another. These, however, are very expensive, long-term solutions. In the immediate, EWI and local partners are exploring other approaches that are more affordable and better suited for this first implementation phase.
Marketing: One of the important aspects of an agricultural production program is finding markets. Talia Farms has already secured a major domestic buyer for its entire Phase 1 vegetable production.
Training: Regular village meetings take place to engage farmers in sharing concepts and concerns about organic agriculture, market demand, farming as an entrepreneurial activity, and other subjects to create awareness and exchange of ideas.
To launch the permanent training support of farmers, EWI is enrolling three farmers in the extension training program of the Bas Boen Agricultural Center. They will graduate in May 2017.
Inclusion: Women – Between 10% to 20% of women are full time farmers, and almost all share farming responsibilities, yet they are woefully absent at the decision-making table. EWI ensures that women reach 50% of all organizations’ leadership and participate at all levels of the decision-making process. EWI also explores ways to help women better manage their farms, and respond to their desires of launching a business in other sectors.
Youths: Retaining young people in the region is another priority. Some see no future for them locally, others are not willing to take up farming. Too many have nothing to do so they look for trouble and, all too often, find it. Others migrate to the peri-urban areas which are already overcrowded and quite dangerous slums or shantytowns where drugs, prostitution and crime are the only way to survive.
Including youths in Talia Farms Program is a priority. EWI has been working with them to establish their own organization and start learning how to work towards articulating their aspirations and reaching their goals.
Entrepreneurship: From the start, EWI is looking for ways to start small businesses within the agricultural sector. One of the first ones will be to produce organic compost and sell it to other farmers. Another opportunity will be connected to accessing water for agricultural purposes.
Once the farming production is well under way, EWI will start an entrepreneurship training and support program to create local enterprises in other economic sectors to diversity and strengthen the local economy. EWI will also recruit business from other areas to move to our area where we hope to create a business-friendly environment. Our proximity to the capital, to the airport, to the port and to the Dominican Republic; a well-maintained main road; a constant flow of trucks; and some natural assets and pilgrimage site, are all assets that businesses can take advantage of.
Employment: EWI’s Talia Farms Program will create 30-50 new jobs and will prioritize local recruitment.
Promoting the Region: The region’s potential is not well-known, even in Haiti. EWI and LIGA (The Ligue for Initiative and Advancement of Ganthier) are partnering to promote the region’s assets, achievements and potentials. The program includes visits to our region by distinguished personalities from the political, business and social spheres. In January 2017, we hosted a visit by Michèle Pierre-Louis, the former Prime Minister of Haiti, and founder of Fonkoze – whom we greatly admire.
Women’s Literacy: this one-year literacy course within our “Women’s Voices and Choices” program started May 30th, 2015 and was completed in June 2016. The course uses the Alphalit method and consists of reading, writing and basic math. It enables participating women to come out of the shadows of illiteracy into the light of literature, news, and self-expression. Forty women signed up, forty graduated in a July 2016 ceremony.
Feed-a-Child, a nutrition, treatment and support project for malnourished young children and pregnant women. There is an urgency to intervene quickly because the window of opportunity to treat the child without leaving long-term physical and mental damage is very short. The most effective treatment is within the first 1,000 days of the child’s life; after that the later the intervention occurs the more danger there is for the child to become permanently stunted both physically and mentally.
EWI received a matching grant from the prestigious OECD’s War on Hunger Group to launch this project.
The Patrice Lumumba Primary School: Ralph Lapointe, the former Mayor of the Commune of Ganthier and EWI’s partner, is a professor of history and social studies. Through his own efforts, he built a school which is still not completely finished, but it is functioning. Children learn every day. He funded the school partly through his own salary as a teacher, and partly through the generosity of his friends. EWI made an early donation and then again donated funds to repair the school post-Hurricane Matthew.
The EWI team tours the country. Following the 2008 flash flooding in Gonaives, the team researches why the sophisticated alarm system installed recently to warn the population in case of flooding, was ineffective. More than 800 died and tens of thousands lost their homes. We reported the findings at a by-invitation-only work meeting convened by the World Bank. EWI selects to settle in Ganthier and researches regional assets and needs. Establishes a collaborative partnership with Max Antoine, Director General of the Commission for the Security and Development of Border Territories; with the then Mayor of the Commune of Ganthier, Ralph Lapointe; and with several farmers’ representatives. Begins work on the long-term socio-economic development program (September).
January 12th a 7.0 earthquake devastates the country. Close to 300,000 perish; 1,5 million become homeless. EWI temporarily closes its program in Ganthier and moves all its resources to the Bernard Mevs Hospital, in Port-au-Prince, to work alongside the Haitian medical teams to help save lives and rehabilitate severely wounded victims, including new amputees. EWI receives a $200,000 grant from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to respond to the disaster in the name of the American Jewish community; in addition, it receives funding from generous individuals. The funds enable EWI to make a profound, life-changing difference in the lives of amputees and severely wounded victims hospitalized at Bernard Mevs. Working with the hospital’s staff was a privilege: they worked under extremely stressful conditions; many lost their loved ones and their homes, yet showed up for work every day.
- Brings from the United States medical teams, medications and medical equipment; brings an expert from the US to train hospital staff in usage of medical equipment. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, EWI benefits from significantly reduced prices to fly on American Airlines from Miami to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as the Port-au-Prince airport is closed; and receives free flights from the US Southern Command which transports our team and medical and water pump equipment.
- Purchases and donates a Ford ambulance to Bernard Mevs Hospital
- Distributes books and toys to hospitalized children; pays close attention to their needs
- Sets-up a program to accompany discharged patients ensuring they have a place to go, transportation to get there and a small stipend to meet their needs in their first few days; most lost everything they owned and became homeless.
In addition to a full day’s work at the hospital, Henryka Manès makes daily rounds in a 30- mile radius to find urgently needed medication and supplies. To palliate their acute pain, amputees are given only regular Tylenol as nothing else is available. Desperate needs include sutures, anesthesia, pain killers, antibiotics, specific meds for follow-up care and to treat chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, arthritis, cancer, etc. Shortages of medicine are acute.
The US NGO Americare is exemplary in managing their medication distribution program in Port-au-Prince and the whole hospital team relies on it daily. Still, availability is limited because the needs are so great and supplies are insufficient.
The American Red Cross is nowhere to be found, despite raising half billion dollars specifically for Haiti earthquake relief response. Despite numerous press reports (ProPublica and National Public Radio, among them) and a US Senate inquiry (Senator Grassley), to this day (2017) no acceptable response exists why they were not there when needed the most, what happened to those funds, and why, as reported in the media, they published that they built 300,000 homes in Haiti when they did nothing of the sort.
In addition to working at the Bernard Mevs Hospital, EWI:
- Works with three orphanages to supply them with basic food staples at a time of severe food shortages
- Brings to Haiti from Miami two distinguished performance artists: Natasha Tsakos and Lucky Bruno who entertained children in hospitals, schools and street camps to help them overcome trauma and start healing emotionally.
- A short video of these performances can be viewed on YouTube:
Fondation Maison D’Espoir in Gressier, one of the three orphanages EWI helped post-earthquake with food deliveries. The children of the orphanage. 2010 © Henryka Manès
PAST PROJECTS OF EWI TEAM MEMBERS
HENRYKA MANÈS’ JDC-IDP PROJECTS (SELECTION)
During her tenure and in different posts at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s division of International Development Program (JDC-IDP), including as its Director, Henryka Manès led programs in 24 countries for non-Jewish communities in the name of the American Jewish Community. To make the world better than how each of us finds it is embodied in the Jewish principle of “Tikkun Olam”, the healing of the world, which guides JDC-IDP’s operations. Below are examples of JDC-IDP programs she was responsible for.
AGRICULTURE / HUNGER RELIEF / ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Argentina: Entrepreneurship Center, Buenos Aires
Established a Small Business Center to promote entrepreneurship among the poorest populations of Buenos Aires, those who live in the ‘villa miseria’, or shanty towns. This Center was a hybrid of a traditional business center and a business incubator to provide training, close guidance and support to first time entrepreneurs who lived in dire poverty. New businesses created included an industrial sized bakery; a music production studio; and a clothing workshop.
Introduced hybrid cotton seeds that permitted double cropping in one season. Worked closely with an agricultural cooperative in the Hebei Province on testing the seeds, their adaptation to local soil and climate, and the successful planting and harvesting of first crops.
Czech Republic: Agriculture
A two-year cooperative project between Czech and Israeli scientists to research and study micro-irrigation; irrigation of flowers and vegetables under plastic; use of drip and automatic irrigation techniques. Project created a greenhouse management model for the country; and developed an advanced mathematical model for tracking and utilizing rainfall.
Kenya: Agricultural Women’s Cooperative
Worked with an agricultural women’s cooperative in the Kitui District (Eastern Kenya) on improving soil quality, planting and harvesting methods to increase yields. Provided specialists in horticulture and hydrology to train cooperative members who were 900 female heads of households. Uncovered health problems and a cluster of severe birth defects; identified the root cause – use of fertilizers and pesticides outlawed in the U.S. and Europe; and introduced the first phyto-remediation program in Africa, which is the use of plants, instead of chemicals, to protect crops from weeds. Within one year, incidents of birth defects in this community were drastically reduced.
Related projects included cooperation with Nairobi University to improve goats’ nutrition; and the establishment of a goat-raising program that used advanced grazing methods and cross-breeding to improve herd quality.
Economic Development and Community Building
Established a roof tile workshop to create jobs for women who lived in makeshift huts built on top of a city garbage dump, near Nairobi’s Kibera slum. The women left their villages after facing severe hunger. But the peri-urban community they created functioned only as a barter-based economy because they could not find jobs. This project grew exponentially and became the driver for transforming this makeshift habitat into a full-fledged brick and mortar village, with a land deed, and a full range of essential community services such as education, healthcare, and agriculture. Its success enabled the men to come back and reunite with their families. They worked at the workshop on the night shift. The project negotiated a contract to provide roof tiles to single homes built by the government.
This project was established in partnership with Kenyan NGO African Housing, founded by Ingrid Monroe, and was funded, in part, by the Aga Khan Foundation. The project was expanded to Uganda.
Improved chicken coops and general physical and working conditions in a teaching farm connected to the Agricultural University in Ho Chi Minh.
Russia: Emergency Food Distribution
Obtained essential food staples worth $15 million from USDA for an emergency hunger relief program in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In both cities, oversaw the food distribution to orphanages, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Uganda: Economic Development and Community Building
Established a roof tile workshop to create jobs for women who lived in shacks in Jinja. This fragile community, like the rest of the country, still suffered from the unspeakable terror under the murderous dictator, Idi Amin who killed more than 300,000 citizens. It became the economic driver for this community which transitioned from shacks into a brick and mortar village with a school, clinic and all essential services and infrastructure. Since most teachers were killed, the Project selected a group of women and sent them to Kenya to be trained as teachers and to run the school.
Zimbabwe: Eye Treatment Clinic and Professional Training
Built in Bindura, near Harare, it was the country’s first eye treatment clinic. It had state-of-the-art equipment and an operating room to serve a population of five million. Treated 20,000 patients in the first 24 months; restoring the sight of 600 legally blind individuals. The clinic was certified by the Harare University’s Ophthalmology Department as a “teaching clinic” where doctors received their practical training.
The Project also trained nurses which were then dispatched to serve in remote areas; and established an eyeglass production workshop that produced affordable glasses for all patients. The clinic’s mobile unit brought eye treatment to isolated communities and to refugees fleeing the conflict in Mozambique.
Morocco: Dental Treatment and Hygiene Program for Children Living in Poverty
Established a mobile dental clinic which toured the country and in its first two years treated 10,000 children and taught dental hygiene to 15,000 none of whom had ever used a toothbrush. Transported to Morocco an American city bus outfitted with sinks and mirrors at child’s height, and had a video player showing a fun educational film in French and Arabic of a bunny brushing its teeth and explaining the necessity of oral hygiene.
The bus and the mobile clinic stopped in the most underserved communities and state funded summer camps. The Project recruited Moroccan dental students to volunteer for the first time in the history of the state university, if not the country. Students taught dental hygiene, while American and European dentists provided treatment. Upon completing the Project, JDC-IDP donated the clinic, bus and equipment to the Moroccan government, and Moroccan dentists trained by the Project used them to established a permanent dental clinic for children in BenMsik, Casablanca’s largest shantytown.
PALESTINE, The Gaza Strip: Primary School Hygiene, Healthcare and Public Safety Programs
In partnership with Palestinian and Israeli teachers and health professionals, and funded by the World Bank, the Project established Health, Hygiene, and Public Safety Programs for all primary schools in Gaza. After developing educational guidelines and materials, it instructed trainers who in turn, trained teachers, administrators and medical staff in schools. Training sessions took place alternately in Israel and Gaza.
The Palestinian medical staff established a schedule enabling them to see each school-age child at least once a year and monitor treatment. Teachers developed educational modules to teach children the importance of healthcare and prepare them for their medical visits. To attend school, children in Gaza walk long distances on dirt roads with no safe walkways, so anther module taught safety when crossing the street or walking home. Additional modules dealt with the experience of living in conflict areas, and what to do when finding an unidentified object, which could be a bomb.
SOCIAL SERVICES and NATIONAL HEALTH POLICIES
Czech and Slovak Republics: Transform National Norms of Treatment and Services for People with Disabilities
The project achieved historical transformation in how to treat and support people with disabilities. Under the auspices of the first Czech Minister of Health, Dr. Martin Bojar, JDC-IDP worked with a broad range of professionals and institutions providing care to individuals with disabilities with the goal of transitioning the country from Soviet era antiquated and often cruel methods and a dismal infrastructure into 20th century modern practices and technologies.
Communities served included individuals with mental and physical disabilities; the deaf and mute; women with breast cancer; professional and family caregivers; and the staff of clinics, hospitals, and ministries. One of the innovative concepts introduced was independent living for people with mental disabilities. The Project opened several model independent living apartments, established support programs and demonstrated how to transition patients from mental institutions to independent living environments. While hospitalized these patients had been branded “uneducable” and tranquilized to a state of immobility. Within six months of participating in the project the same patients were taken off unnecessary medication, and helped in their transition to living on their own in regular apartments, held full time jobs and took care of their own basic needs. Newly trained staff provided oversight and guidance.
The demonstration models and professional training spurred the closing of most mental institutions. Several directors of these institutions, who had by then been trained by the Project, transformed their old facilities into independent living apartments for their former patients.
Also, the Program persuaded Czech business owners to hire formerly institutionalized patients. At first, the business staff was extremely reluctant to do so as employing individuals with mental disabilities was unheard of. JDC-IDP offered a close support to the employees and employers. Within one year, the demand for these employees far exceeded their number as employers discovered that they were passionate about their jobs, loved repetitive tasks, were prompt, uncomplaining and pleasant to work with.
Other program’s projects included:
- At the request of the deaf and hard of hearing community, JDC-IDP updated and re-introduced the use of Czech sign language which was banned during the Soviet era because “it showed that Communism was imperfect”; instead only lip reading was allowed. Sign language is essential in being able to fully understand each other.
- Created the first support groups for breast cancer patients; promoted the crucial importance to honor a patient’s dignity; provided in-depth professional training in medical treatment; and brought in the latest diagnostic methods and technology.
- Brought in prominent US advocacy leaders (themselves individuals with disabilities) to serve as mentors in the nascent advocacy movement for people with disabilities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
- At the request from Czech officials and advocates, brought in American experts to assist in creating the first Czech Disability Act, modeled on the American ADA.
- When the project was planned, the Czech and Slovak Republics were still one country, but as implementation began they split and became two entities. To continue supporting the Slovak professionals, JDC-IDP expanded the programs into Slovakia.
- Organized an international conference to present the program and it successes to other east and central European countries, organized workshops to encourage them in adopting and adapting it to their own needs. Later, trained professionals from Poland, Hungary and Romania and guided them in establishing like projects in their respective countries. This program was funded by USAID.
China – A Three-Part Program for Vulnerable Populations in Shanghai
Children with Mental Disabilities: Based in the Hongkou District of Shanghai, the JDC-IDP project created a one-of-a-kind center and introduced ground-breaking educational programs for children with mental disabilities. Using computer-based interactive software, the children worked on enhancing their comprehension, reading and motor skills. Their progress was remarkable and encouraged the Chinese educators to expand the program and include children with special needs from other Shanghai districts. The Project also introduced the concept of mainstreaming children with developmental disabilities into regular schools; sensitized educators and caregivers to attitudes, gestures and language detrimental to inclusion, education and respectful treatment of children with mental handicaps.
This was the first time that computers were used in educating children in China. The fact that this latest technology and center served children with mental disabilities and that they were benefiting from the attention of foreign experts and from technology not available in regular schools, inspired a change in the overall attitude to educating children with special needs in China.
Disadvantaged Elderly in Municipal Retirement Homes: provided extensive training in modern geriatric care to the staff of municipal retirement homes. Although there is great respect in China for the elderly, the retirement homes lacked programs specific to this age group to stimulate their physical well-being and mental alertness. The new programs ranged from music and theater to choir; art, participatory games, and calligraphy.
Adults with Physical Disabilities: When the Project started, almost all individuals with physical disabilities in China lacked basic aids (walkers, canes, wheelchairs); and the profession of physical therapy was unknown. For example, most Chinese people who were unable to walk, crawled when at home, and some had makeshift three-wheel motorcycles adapted to their needs to which they had to be carried. The Project brought in highly trained Israeli physical therapists who trained staff of the JDC-IDP / Shanghai Municipality new center where people could rent on a short or long-term basis different types of physical aids imported from the US. They paid what they could afford.
Since this programs were initiated in the early stages of China’s openness toward the West, they were without precedent. Therefore, they were difficulties for the Chinese staff and decision-makers to understand certain concepts – not because of language difficulties but for lack of exposure. To solve this, JDC-IDP took a large delegation of Chinese officials and professionals to Israel to show successful programs that delivered the type of services JDC-IDP planned on helping establish in China. The visit was an eye-opener for the Chinese delegation which visited schools that mainstreamed children with disabilities; educational centers for children with severe multiple disabilities; programs for parents of children with disabilities; and homes for the elderly.
We took this unique opportunity to also expose the Chinese city and regional decision-makers to other new concepts such as business incubators; state-of- the-arts hospitals; community centers and cultural institutions. The delegation participated in several workshops especially formulate for them on urban planning, municipal policy development, and city management that included a long visit to the city of Jerusalem’s administrative and infrastructure management centers. This program was entirely funded by the American Jewish community.
Hungary: Homecare for the Elderly
Introduced in Hungary the concept of homecare and trained the first group of Hungarian physicians, nurses, and nurses’ aides in the homecare discipline; also, provided training in the diagnosis of chronic diseases prevalent among the elderly. The homecare program greatly reduced public health costs by offering an alternative to the national habit of older people spending entire winters in hospitals because they were unable to care for themselves at home, medically or practically. This program freed doctors from performing menial tasks and gave them more time to practice medicine.
The Project also introduced specialized physical therapy for the elderly which had dramatic results in enabling bed-ridden patients to walk again. Courses based on this method were introduced into the regular Hungarian university curriculums of geriatric care specialties.
Post-War / Post-Disaster Response
Armenia: Three-Part Emergency Response: Airlift of Earthquake victims to Israel; Building the Country’s First Physical Rehabilitation Center; Introducing the Profession of Physical and Occupational Therapist
Following the devastating earthquake of December 1988, the project airlifted to Israel victims who had lost limbs. Once in Israel, they underwent surgery, received prosthesis and rehabilitation treatment, and returned to Armenia six weeks later on the historical first EL-AL flight to land on Soviet soil (reported on the front page of the New York Times). JDC took care of more amputees than all of the other NGOs working in Armenia combined.
Then, the Project designed and built Armenia’s first physical and occupational rehabilitation center, in Gyumri (formerly Leninakan): the earthquake’s epicenter, named the “JDC-Aryeh Cooperstock Center”. The project introduced the concept of physical and occupational therapy to Armenia. It brought teams of expatriate doctors and therapists form the US and Israel who for three years trained the first cadre of Armenian physical and occupational physicians and therapists. The project obtained official governmental recognition for this new profession, and partnered to create the first Armenian Rehabilitation Therapy Professional Association.
To respond to the Armenian emergency in a comprehensive manner, JDC-IDP co-founded a consortium with the International Red Cross (Switzerland), Project Hope (US), and the Armenian Assembly (US) to create one of the first cross-sectoral partnerships in USAID history. USAID awarded the consortium $5 million for this joint disaster relief program
Somalia : Emergency Medical Response for War Victims
In partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the project provided four mobile medical units that offered urgently needed basic healthcare to war victims inside refugee camps and to those returning to their villages. Special programs were developed to meet the particular needs of women and children who were an egregiously underserved population. The clinics provided general medical practice as well as more specialized care to war and rape victims; also inoculation, OBGYN, and nutrition programs for malnourished Somalis.
At the request of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), the Project established a refugee camp in Ruiru, near Nairobi, Kenya. This camp housed 3,000 Somali refugees with medical problems too severe to be treated in Somalia. Once fully operational, the camp was turned over to UNHCR.
Turkey: Response to Earthquake Survivors
In partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent Society, provided a mobile health clinic, and built a school and recreational facilities for a 6,000 displaced person (mostly Kurds) camp in Silopi.
Rwanda: Multifaceted Emergency Response to Genocide
(1) Provided an emergency medical team, to treat victims of genocide, mainly comprised of African health professionals who spoke the local languages. This proved to be a major advantage particularly when dealing with severely traumatized individuals. (2) Partnered with orphanages to provide emergency supplies, basic educational materials, much needed medical and psychological treatment, and family reunification programs. These orphanages were established in the neighboring Congo for safety purposes. (3) Built sanitation equipment in refugee camps.