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Food For Work Projects Support Agriculture And Reconstruction in Haiti

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In the weeks after the earthquake struck in Haiti, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) rushed in emergency rations such as high energy biscuits and ready-to-eat meals.  Over time, the food aid has shifted toward programs that not only fight hunger, but help to rebuild the country.

These are Cash and Food for Work projects for Haitians. The World Food Programme uses a 60 percent cash and 40 percent food incentive for Haitian workers to do reconstruction projects. The food ration is enough for a family of five.

 

                 

photo of a Food for Work project building walls in hillside gullies to prevent flooding and to preserve arable land for farming (World Food Programme photo)

 

During April about 26,000 workers are in the program.  In this initial stage, WFP's Anne Poulsen says the work includes “debris and drainage clearing to mitigate flooding during the rainy season" and "activities that support agriculture such as irrigation canal repair and clearance of rural feeder roads.”

Helping agricultural development is a vital component of rebuilding Haiti. The more food Haiti can produce at home, the better. As an example, WFP's school feeding program for Haiti relies on importing food into the country.  In the future, WFP would like to obtain the majority of food for school feeding from farmers within Haiti.

Local purchase of food would help the Haitian economy and save WFP money on shipping costs.  Haiti could ultimately become self-sufficient in supporting a national school feeding program for its children.

All this will take time.  For now, the hard work has to continue to rebuild Haiti. There is a long way to go and funding has to be maintained over a significant period so that Food for Work and other projects can move forward.  To learn more, please visit the World Food Programme or the Friends of the World Food Program.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • Kate

    “WFP would like to obtain the majority of food for school feeding from farmers within Haiti.”

    Great point – this is the goal – to make Haiti self-sufficient. Thanks for the follow-up.

  • Jon

    Mike – not sure I really follow you there?

    William – nice article. Question for you… what is the relative monetary value of the food rations? That is, if someone did reconstruction work and got 40% of their compensation as food rations, would that be “worth” more or less to them than getting just another 40% in currency? I would hope the answer was “more” as that would a) do a better job feeding people, and b) probably motivate them a bit more. Thoughts? Just a detail obviously, this is a great program (or programme) in general.