The sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) FONHOH is promoting is a way to improve understanding of the livelihoods of the people living in rural areas. The SLA framework places people, particularly rural poor people, at the center of a web of inter-related influences that affect how these people create a livelihood for themselves and their households. These people living in rural communities are not empty handed or blank slate; they have resources and livelihood assets that they have had access to and used for centuries.
The resources and assets we’re referring to include natural resources, technologies, their skills, knowledge and capacity, their health, access to education, sources of credit, or their networks of social support. Without any support from the successive Haitian government, these communities have been able to sustain themselves and the whole country through their hard labor. However, due to the rapid and mind-boggling development of technology and the new needs created by such a development, coupled with the growth rate of the rural populations, these communities can’t afford to do business as usual. Most of these communities have already been living under the poverty line. Without a new paradigm, a shit in the mind, these communities will be unable to continue sustaining themselves as they’ve done it for centuries. To this end, FONHOH plans to provide technical assistance to these communities so they can sustain themselves in a better fashion and improve their livelihood and that of the next generations.
In general, agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Through agriculture, Haitians living in rural areas have managed to earn their livelihood over hundreds of years. Due to many factors such as overpopulation, environmental degradation, land ownership issues, nonsupport from the government, and traditional farming methods, many farmers can no longer sustain themselves. To address this problem, FONHOH proposes new farming methods to increase productivity without jeopardizing the environment. The new farming technique FONHOH is referring to are easy to learn, low cost, and doesn’t use heavy machinery. With the increase of agricultural production, families will be able to sustain themselves.
As Haiti is now importing vegetables, fruits, chickens, eggs, and many other products that Haitian farmers used to produce abundantly, FONHOH has been working with rural communities and establish mechanisms to increase agricultural production, which will contribute in reducing importation and create lots of jobs. Based on an experiment conducted in the Nord-Ouest region of Haiti by Ayiti Gouvènans (a sister organization), in just three months, areas whose communities were used to importing vegetables from Kenscoff and the Artibonite Valley, produced such a large amount of vegetables that families had them in excess. As a result, the beneficiaries had to trade or sell the surplus and bring in some extra income. Such an experiment can be repeated in many rural areas throughout Haiti. And this is what FONHOH has planned to initiate in rural areas of Belladère, Lascahobas, and Bon-Repos. On the other hand, during harvest time, there is always a lot of crop waste due to transportation and lack of knowledge in food preservation. FONOH proposes to address these problems together with the communities.