“Involvement and empowerment of the local community” is one of the guiding values for Covenant World Relief. Strategically, we know that by developing resources and talents already present in the community we will do much more good than if we try to implant our own foreign techniques into irrelevant contexts.
Theologically, we believe that all of humankind has been created in the image of the creator God, and that through Christ we are redeemed to carry out fully restored lives. A fully restored life, of course, means more than having needs (like food and shelter) satisfied. It also means being able to work and do things of worth, whether that be creating a piece of art, raising a family, or harvesting the fields.
Haiti Christian Development Fund (HCDF) is one example of a CWR partner doing a fantastic job of involving and empowering the people of Haiti. HCDF not only asks how to feed the hungry (an important first step!) but also how to make self-sufficiency a realistic possibility.
This is why when HCDF asked us for support in helping to establish a farming co-op in Fond-des-Blancs, we enthusiastically joined their cause. The goal of the co-op is to help each farmer multiply their annual productivity through projects that are too big for a single farmer to take on in an individual basis. For example, HCDF has been providing irrigation systems so that farmers can take advantage of Haiti’s abundant water supply, managed use of a communal tractor to speed up land preparation for seeding, and also a marketing arm so that farmers can be guaranteed they are getting the best price for their surplus crops. This all is in addition to guaranteeing the empowerment of the local community through land ownership and education in agricultural techniques.
We reported last year on the co-op’s successful corn harvest, which was harvested in July. Since then, the co-op has also had a good millet crop, which was planted in August and harvested in January. The next crop for the co-op will be beans, which remarkably will be the third harvest in less than a year. Surely enough, the cycle of poverty is being gradually trumped by each new crop that emerges from the ground, not just filling stomachs but helping to restore entire lives and communities.
Covenant World Relief is committed to continuing to working with HCDF’s Fond-des-Blancs farming co-op project, which you can learn more about here. Be sure to check out audio recordings of HCDF founder Jean Thomas, who presented at the Covenant Midwinter Conference on the topic “The Three R’s of Christian Community Development” and later delved into the social justice implications of the Book of Esther in “Mordecai at the Gate: Advocacy for the Poor and Oppressed”.