Sturdy Construction, Risk Reduction
When natural disaster strikes and homes and crops get damaged or destroyed, Haitian farmers often have to resort to eating the seed they’d saved for the next planting season or sell off any surviving livestock to pay expenses. Both lead to more hunger in the months following the catastrophe. To improve their level of preparedness, members of all nine farmer cooperatives received training in managing risks and building sturdy homes, latrines and animal enclosures.
Having a sound plan and strong structures reduces loss of life and serves to strengthen food security in the face of Haiti’s frequent hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. When people understand and follow the building code they’re more able to withstand the country’s inevitable emergencies without having to start over again each time. One cooperative member said, “I give God thanks because this training protects people’s lives.”
People generally build their own homes, mud-and-stick structures without foundations, so the training sessions start by reviewing the need for digging a foundation, using rebar, and mixing cement to form concrete blocks. The co-ops buy materials in bulk to lower the cost to members, and offer loans and discounts as well, to encourage participation. When families are ready to build, engineers from Church World Service are there to supervise.
Roger, another coop member, said, “Now we don’t need to be afraid anymore, with the work the engineers do.”
Photo caption: Explaining reinforced concrete construction
Haiti Northwest Program
Led by Church World Service and SKDE
10 communities, 6,000 households, 21,000 individuals