In late May 2004, mudslide and flooding killed over 2000 Haitians on the Southeast of Haiti. On September 18, 2004, Hurricane Jeanne
killed nearly 3,000 in northern Haiti; over 1,500 were missing, and another 300,000 homeless. The earthquake on January 12, 2010 left an estimated 222,000 dead and with around 1.3 million living in tarps and tents. Haiti used to be one of the most forested places in the western hemisphere and now it is the most deforested country. Haiti’s deforestation is in large part the result of underprivileged peasants cutting down tree to make charcoal. The charcoal is then sold on the market to earn cash that enables them to buy basic survival food or pay a child’s school fee. However, the profit made is not sufficient to maintain a family financially and the cycle continues.
In an effort to tackle the problem and find an alternative solution, Fondasyon Mapou is launching its “Reforesting Haiti One Tree at a Time!” Campaign. This will be a countrywide Sustainable Agriculture program that will promote reforestation through native tree planting and food security program that respects the existing agro-economic system in Haiti and provides training for peasant farmers to enhance their harvest and increase local food consumption. Promote soil conservation throughout rural Haiti to prevent erosion and diminish flood impact during the rainy and hurricane seasons.
Simultaneously, Fondayon Mapou will introduce its “Rent a Tree Campaign”, something that Haitian peasants already do to secure money during emergency. This campaign will encourage peasants to rent their tree to Fondasyon Mapou for a limited period of time rather than cutting them for charcoal production. During the rental term, Fondasyon Mapou will work directly with the peasant in question to find other creative way for him/her to develop an alternative economic source to maintain their family. In addition, FondasyonMapou will work in conjunction with the Father Jean Marie Vincent Center in Gros Morne, Gonaives that houses an existing reforestation program, which has already planted over a million trees in the area. The Jean Marie Vincent Center, named after a valiant priest who was killed for his work with the Haitian peasants in 1994. Fondasyon Mapou will collaborate with this Center in an attempt to replicate the concept use in their program across the country while promoting a broader reforestation campaign.