haiti: reforestation to combat climate change

In 2006, Friends of the Earth Haiti / Haiti Survie and Friends of the Earth Mauritius developed a climate change project which concluded with some recommendations, one of which was to take action to mitigate climate change impacts on affected communities. With this aim, FoE Haiti proposed a project to reforest certain zones. The goal was to achieve, on the one hand, watershed protection as a way to stop soil degradation, and on the other hand, to generate additional sources of income for local populations.

 

haiti reforestation and climate change adaptationThese goals were realised though three main objectives: regenerating woodlands of the Damassin region through reforestation and community capacity building; producing 20,000 forest and fruit tree seedlings; and providing 100 schoolchildren with basic environmental knowledge.


what happened: Educating and sensitizing the community in general and children in particular were among the activities organized to accomplish these objectives. To do this, FoE Haiti organized seven training sessions of two days each, addressed to all sectors and social classes of the population. In addition, they organized a massive awareness-raising campaign by spreading existing relevant material, by holding radio interviews, and by developing a cultural approach to involve several artists in environmental management issues. Not least of all, they produced 25,000 seedlings, including 10,000 forest species and 15,000 fruit species. FoE Haiti’s executive secretary was in charge of the project and a specialized technician was responsible for its execution.

what changed: FoE Haiti wishes to highlight that they succeeded in strengthening the capacity of the groups they worked with; they also promoted gender equity within the project and inspired women to participate in environmental issues. They further made schoolchildren aware of the role of trees and environmental management. They succeeded in reforesting certain mountain regions that posed a real danger to the community. In addition, the number of seedlings produced was 25 percent higher than expected, and their growth was so good during the rainy season that their survival through the next dry season is assured.

what we learned: The project not only benefited the local people, but also the environment and biological diversity. Furthermore, it had positive results on the community from the social and economic point of view.

It is also important to underline that the participative approach was a useful tool that encouraged the population to work jointly to help develop their community. The various activities we organized made this project a good model to follow up elsewhere, since it allows affected communities to improve their living conditions and minimize their vulnerability by transforming their area into a more protected environment.

with thanks to our funders: the dutch ministry of foreign affairs

 

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