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Livelihoods in Northern Haiti
Summary
of a participatory
assessment
Vincent M. Mugisha
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Copyright © 2011 Catholic Relief Services
ISBN-13: 978-1-61492-053-3
ISBN-10: 1-61492-053-2
For any commercial reproduction, please obtain permission from pqpublications@crs.org or write to
Catholic Relief Services
228 West Lexington Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-3413 USA
Editing and design: Josh Tong
Cover photo: Community members and the assessment team collaborated to identify assets and needs. Vincent M.
Mugisha for CRS
Download this and other CRS publications at www.crsprogramquality.org.
LIVELIHOODS IN
NORTHERN HAITI
Summary of a participatory assessment
ii TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .iii
Map of Haiti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .iii
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .iv
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Integral Human Development framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Secondary sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Notes on Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Participatory assessment procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Summary of Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Gonaïves zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Port-de-Paix zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Ouanaminthe zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Figures
Figure 1. Integral Human Development framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Figure 2. Major livelihood zones in Haiti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Figure 3. Food insecurity map by administrative region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Figure 4. Sketch of Moulin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Figure 5. Institutional diagram of Jacquesyl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Figure 6. Daily meals per household in the Gonaïves zone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Figure 7. Daily meals per household in the Port-de-Paix zone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Figure 8. Daily meals per household in the Ouanaminthe zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Tables
Table 1. Communities selected for the assessment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Table 2. Weekly household food expenditures in the Gonaïves zone . . . . . . . . . . .7
Table 3. Weekly household food expenditures in the Port-de-Paix zone. . . . . . . .11
Table 4. Weekly household food expenditures in the Ouanaminthe zone . . . . . .13
Table 5. Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
iii
MAP OF HAITI
ABBREVIATIONS
CHAMP Community Health and AIDS Mitigation Project
CNSA National Coordination of Food Security (Coordination Nationale de la Sécurité Alimentaire)
FEWS NET Famine Early Warning Systems Network
IHD Integral Human Development
MYAP multiyear assistance program
PLA participatory livelihoods assessment
PRA participatory rural appraisal
USAID U.S. Agency for International Development
WFP World Food Program
Port-au-Prince
Jacmel
Les Cayes
Port-de-Paix
Baie des
Moustiques
Gonaïves
Marmelade
Hinche
Saint-Marc
Limbé
LacomaMoulin
ARTIBONITE
HAITI DOMINICANREPUBLIC
CENTER
WEST
SOUTHEAST
NIPPES
GRAND-ANSE
SOUTH
NORTHWEST
NORTH
NORTHEAST
Fort Liberté
Dérac
Jacquesyl
Ouanaminthe
La Gonâve
Island
Gros Morne
Miami
Havana
Cuba
Jamaica
Haiti Dominican
Republic
The
Bahamas
iv EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Catholic Relief Services conducted a participatory livelihoods assessment (PLA)
to collect data on livelihoods in northern Haiti and produce recommendations
for future programs. The assessment team received hands-on training in
participatory rural assessment data collection, the Integral Human Development
framework and an array of analysis methods and tools. The team then traveled
to Gonaïves, Port-de-Paix and Ouanaminthe to conduct the assessment in nine
communities in the Artibonite, Northwest and Northeast Departments.
Team members gathered quantitative and qualitative data on people’s livelihood
systems. Team members met with local authorities and community-based
organizations. They also conducted large-group and community-level interviews,
household surveys and focus groups. Interviewers asked community members
to assess their needs and offer ideas about how to strengthen livelihoods.
Community members actively participated in activities such as community
mapping, institutional ranking and mapping, well-being ranking, analysis of
vulnerability, problem identification and formulation of response strategies.
The PLA team analyzed the data, wrote profiles of each community and sought
feedback on its findings from community members.
Community members and the PLA team produced eight recommendations,
summarized below:
• Strengthen communities’ capacities to manage risks related to flooding in
Aciphat and Cité Maxo.
• Improve community hygiene and potable water conditions in all
nine communities.
• Improve each community’s access to affordable health services and
medical care.
• Enhance the capacity of people who fish along Baie des Moustiques,
Dérac and Jacquesyl.
• Enhance vulnerable families’ capacities to diversity their livelihood
activities in Lacoma, Baie des Moustiques, Jacquesyl, Dérac and Moulin.
• Improve school health and hygiene in Cité Maxo, Aciphat and Gaillard.
• Improve each community’s capacity to protect children from exploitation
and protect children’s rights to a quality education in Gaillard, Dérac, Cité
Maxo and Jacquesyl.
• Enhance the livelihood activities of young women and men in Aciphat, Cité
Maxo and Gaillard.
The PLA strengthened the ability of CRS local staff, partners and other stakeholders
to conduct participatory activities and assessments. Community members gained
experience in analyzing their own needs and developing possible solutions.
1
INTRODUCTION
Since 1954, Catholic Relief Services has been working in Haiti, especially in
rural development and food security in the southern peninsula. In 2008 and
2009, CRS opened an office in Miragoâne, Jérémie, Gonaïves and Port-de-Paix
to support implementation of the Community Health and AIDS Mitigation Project
(CHAMP).1 In 2010, CRS opened an office in the northeastern border town of
Ouanaminthe to support social protection and food security activities for people
who were displaced by the January 12 earthquake. CRS continues to offer
protection activities for communities in the department.
CRS is now examining programmatic expansion options in northern regions of
the country, where many of Haiti’s poorest people live. Livelihoods in Northern
Haiti is the result of a participatory study in zones around CRS offices in
Gonaïves (Artibonite Department), Port-de-Paix (Northwest Department) and
Ouanaminthe (Northeast Department). CRS will use the assessment to inform
future programming decisions.2
The PLA aimed to
1. collect data on assets, structures and systems; shocks, cycles and trends;
the vulnerability context and the priority problems in target communities;
livelihood strategies and outcomes related to food security; multisectoral
data on health and HIV/AIDS; education; water, sanitation and hygiene;
social protection; and peace and justice;
2. analyze the data to inform strategic choices, identify priorities and identify
programmatic themes in the intervention areas of each of the three CRS
field offices in Gonaïves, Port-de-Paix and Ouanaminthe; and
3. actively engage and strengthen the capacity of CRS local staff, partners
and other stakeholders in participatory methods and practices.
INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
The PLA team used CRS’ Integral Human Development (IHD) framework
to consider northern Haiti’s situation in a holistic way. The IHD approach
recognizes that people’s needs are intertwined and that human development
is multifaceted; personal well-being can be achieved only in the context of just
and peaceful relationships. The IHD framework is especially useful for analyzing
and explaining complex human development situations. The framework has
been instrumental in helping CRS and its partners become more effective in
supporting those who wish to improve their livelihood outcomes.3
1 CRS is a subimplementing agency to Family Health International for the CHAMP project.
2 This publication is an extremely condensed version of the complete assessment. To
request a copy of the complete assessment, please contact CRSHaiti.Info@crs.org.
3 Gaye Burpee, Geoff Heinrich and Rosanne Zemanek, “Integral Human Development
(IHD): The Concept & the Framework” (Baltimore: Catholic Relief Services, 2008).
2
Figure 1. Integral Human Development framework
Outcomes
STRUCTURES
Institutions & Organizations
Public
Private
Collective
SYSTEMS
Social
Economic
Religious
Political
Values & beliefs
Access
& Influence
ASSETS
Spiritual & Human
Financial
Physical
Natural
Social
Political
Shocks,
Cycles &
Trends
Strategies
Feedback = Opportunities or Constraints
Geoff Heinrich, David Leege and Carrie Miller, A User’s Guide to Integral Human Development (IHD):
Practical Guidance for CRS Staff and Partners (Baltimore: Catholic Relief Services, 2008).
Livelihood strategies are based primarily on people’s many different assets
and needs. Systems and structures are the institutions, rules and social norms
that people work within. These factors affect how different assets can be used.
In some cases, systems and structures determine who has access to specific
assets or resources. Individuals or communities with a lot of assets may also be
able to change some of the “rules.” People’s livelihood strategies have to take
into account risks that threaten lives and livelihoods. The framework refers to
these risks as shocks, cycles and trends. When people’s assets are not strong
enough to render them resilient in the midst of shocks, cycles and trends, their
vulnerability increases.
CRS seeks to understand and address the primary sources of risk and
vulnerability as a vital part of helping people develop successful livelihood
strategies and achieve long-term Integral Human Development through relief and
development interventions.
CRS saw the PLA as an opportunity not only to gather information about northern
Haiti but also to continue strengthening the capacity of local staff, partners and
other stakeholders. CRS hoped to improve team members’ understandings of
participatory assessments, development strategies and the IHD framework.
Likewise, CRS believed that by asking community members to reflect on their
assets and to pose possible ways to meet their needs, community members
could gain insights about how to improve their situations.
3
Port-au-Prince
Jacmel
Les Cayes
Port-de-Paix
Baie des
Moustiques
Gonaïves Marmelade
Hinche
Saint-Marc
Limbé
Lacoma
Moulin
ARTIBONITE
HAITI DOMINICANREPUBLIC
CENTER
WEST
SOUTHEAST
NIPPES
GRAND-ANSE
SOUTH
NORTHWEST
NORTH
NORTHEAST
Fort Liberté
Dérac
Jacquesyl
Ouanaminthe
La Gonâve
Island
Gros Morne
Miami
Havana
Cuba
Jamaica
Haiti Dominican
Republic
The
Bahamas
Dry agropastoral Agropastoral
Monoculture
plains
Dry agriculture
and shing
Humid mountain
agriculture
Sea salt production
Agropastoral
plateau
LEGEND
Figure 2. Major livelihood zones in Haiti
ARTIBONITE
HAITI DOMINICANREPUBLIC
CENTER
WEST
SOUTHEAST
NIPPES
GRAND-ANSE
SOUTH
NORTHWEST
NORTH
NORTH-
EAST
Miami
Havana
Cuba
Jamaica
Haiti Dominican
Republic
The
Bahamas
Risk of Extreme
Food Insecurity
Household
Food Insecurity
LEGEND
Very high
High
Moderate
Low ModerateHigh Low
1. Dry agropastoral zone, 2. monoculture plains zone, 3. humid mountain agriculture zone, 4. agropastoral plateau zone, 5.
agropastoral zone, 6. dry agriculture and fi shing zone, 7. sea salt production zone, 8. urban livelihood zone. Adapted from Famine
Early Warning Systems Network, FEWS NET–USAID Report 2005 (n.p.: USAID, 2005).
Figure 3. Food insecurity map by administrative region
Adapted from World Food Program and National Coordination of Food Security, “Executive Brief—Haiti: Comprehensive Food
Security and Vulnerability Analysis” (New York: United Nations, 2008).
4
SECONDARY SOURCES
The PLA advisor reviewed other assessments and studies that provided macro
and micro perspectives on livelihoods and food security issues. The review also
included documents on related multisectoral issues in education, health, HIV/
AIDS, water and sanitation in Haiti. The findings provided important information
on the vulnerability contexts of different regions in northern Haiti and helped the
team and CRS/Haiti staff decide which communities to visit.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) and the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID) divided Haiti into eight zones: dry agropastoral
zone, monoculture plains zone, humid mountain agriculture zone, agropastoral
plateau zone, agropastoral zone, dry agriculture and fishing zone, sea salt
production zone and urban livelihood zone. However, for the purposes of CRS’
assessment, it was necessary to determine how the three targeted PLA regions fit
into the above livelihood zones. According to the map,
• the CRS/Gonaïves office intervention areas mainly fell into the
monoculture plains zone, which is predominantly a zone for growing a
single crop, such as rice, across a large area;
• the CRS/Port-de-Paix office intervention area fell into the agropastoral and
dry agropastoral zones, which are zones where small-scale cropping and
livestock keeping are diversified with other activities, such as fishing and
charcoal production;
• the CRS/Ouanaminthe office intervention fell in the monoculture plains
zone and the dry agropastoral zones.
The review of secondary sources yielded rankings of zones by vulnerability
and food security. Both CRS/Port-de-Paix and Ouanaminthe office intervention
areas were in the most food-insecure regions of Haiti. The CRS/Gonaïves office
intervention areas were in the very food-insecure region. The document review
findings on livelihood zones and food insecurity were therefore instrumental in
planning the PLA activities and selecting the target communities.4
4 National Coordination of Food Security (CNSA) created a new vulnerability map of Haiti
in 2011. The new report has yet to be published for external use.
5
NOTES ON METHODOLOGY
The PLA team used purposive sampling methods to select the communities
in which the PLA would be conducted; as such, the results of this assessment
are not representative of a larger area. Having identified three departments
that have high levels of food insecurity and vulnerability, the team selected
three disparate communities from each department for a total of nine target
communities. The criteria for the purposive sampling included
• level of vulnerability,
• likelihood that the community would be the site of future interventions by
CRS or its local partners,
• availability of CRS and local partners field agents to assist in planning
PLA processes,
• diversity of livelihood and agroecological systems, including the mixture of
rural, semirural, urban, lowland and highland characteristics,
• accessibility of the area during the PLA period and
• availability and willingness of the communities to participate in the
PLA activities.
PAR TICIPATORY ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES
Next, a team development exercise led to the formation of PLA subteams that
took into account the need for diversity in gender, background (education and
work experience) and employment status (i.e., whether team members are CRS
staff or partner staff). Subteam members selected and developed their own roles
Table 1. Communities selected for the assessment
Region Communi ty Descr ip t ion L ive l ihood
Zone*
Dis t ance
f rom Neares t
CRS/Fie ld
Of f ice
CRS-Gonaïves
Intervention Region,
Artibonite Department,
Gonaïves Diocese
Aciphat Urban, lowland Monoculture plains 15-minute drive
Moulin Rural, highland Monoculture plains 70-minute drive
Ville de Gros Morne Semirural/semiurban Monoculture plains 50-minute drive
CRS–Port-dePaix Intervention
Region, Northwest
Department, Port-dePaix Diocese
Baie des Moustiques Rural, coastal plains Dry agropastoral 45-minute drive
Cité Maxo Urban coastal
highland
Dry agropastoral 10-minute drive
Lacoma Rural plains Agropastoral 75-minute drive
CRS-Ouanaminthe
Intervention
Region, Northeast
Department, Fort
Liberté Diocese
Dérac Rural coastal
border community
Agropastoral 50-minute drive
Gaillard Urban border
community
Monoculture plains 10-minute drive
Jacquesyl Rural coastal
community
Agropastoral 50-minute drive
*Famine Early Warning Systems Network, Livelihoods Profiles in Haiti (Washington, DC: USAID, 2005).
6
as subteam leaders, interview facilitators, interview
cofacilitators and note-takers.
The subteams received training in participatory rural
assessment (PRA) data collection and in analysis
methods and tools. Topics included large-group
community interviews, community and institutional
mapping tools, focus group interviews based on
livelihood clusters, seasonal calendars, well-being
ranking tools, key information and household
interviews, institutional analysis matrices, vulnerability
analysis matrices, livelihood strategies and IHD
concepts. Diverse qualitative methods were used in
order to triangulate information sources.
After field-testing the tools and processes, team
members began conducting the assessment in the
three target regions. Team members mainly gathered
qualitative data on people’s livelihood systems,
including the kind and quality of assets that support
their livelihoods, the different systems and structures
that affect their livelihoods and their vulnerability
context in terms of shocks, cycles and trends. The
PLA also utilized a small-household survey/interview
tool to collect numerical data on the number of
households that are headed by men or women, the
number of children in the households, the number
of children that attend school and the levels of
weekly food expenditures.
The PLA team asked community members to assess their needs and
offer ideas about how to strengthen their livelihoods. Team members
met with local authorities and community-based organizations. They also
conducted large-group and community-level interviews, household surveys
and focus groups. Community members actively participated in activities
such as community mapping, institutional ranking and mapping, well-being
ranking, vulnerability analysis, problem identification and response strategy
formulation. Then the PLA team analyzed the data, wrote profiles of each
community and reported back to each community to share the results and
seek feedback.
During the training sessions, the long-term goal was to strengthen staff
capacities. The consultant assessed team members’ skills and knowledge
and then designed the PLA training sessions accordingly. He accompanied
the staff into the field to ensure that team members had mastered their new
skills and that they could use their new knowledge to train others effectively.
Figure 4. Sketch of Moulin
Figure 5. Institutional diagram of Jacquesyl
Sketch by Vincent M. Mugisha, July 2011
Community members collaborated with the PLA team in
August 2011 to create this institutional map of Jacquesyl.
Vincent M. Mugisha for CRS
7
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
The following summary focuses on major community assets and livelihood
activities, food security issues and overall vulnerability.
GONAÏVES ZONE
Moulin
Of the three PLA sites in Gonaïves, the rural community of Moulin is
best endowed with natural resources. Fertile soils are evenly distributed
throughout the community. During the large-group consultations, community
members and the PLA team created well-being rankings to categorize
families as very poor, poor and well-off.
Very poor families have very simple houses. The walls are made of mud, and
the roofs are made of straw. Very poor families eat at most one meal per day
and consume only what they grow. The children are malnourished. Families
can’t afford basic medical care. They earn money by cutting down trees to
burn the wood for charcoal.
Poor families live in houses that have walls
made of rocks and roofs made of straw.
These families eat at most two meals per
day and consume only what they grow.
Poor families can afford medical care in
the local health center. They often own
sugarcane fields and sell local products
for cash. They may have access to mutual
solidarity financial services.
Well-off families live in permanent
structures. The walls are made of rocks,
bricks or cement. The roofs are made of
corrugated iron sheets. Well-off families
eat at most three meals per day and
consume food that they grow or purchase.
These families can afford medical
treatment in Ville de Gros Morne’s better
medical centers. Well-off families own
bigger sugarcane fields. They sell their
goods in and beyond Moulin, and they
receive money from family members who
are living abroad.
Communi ty Min imum
(USD)
Maximum
(USD)
Mean
(USD)
Moulin $8.75 $122.50 $44.58
Ville de
Gros Morne
$2.50 $37.50 $12.50
Aciphat $17.50 $105.00 $63.75
Table 2. Weekly household food expenditures in the
Gonaïves zone
Figure 6. Daily meals per household in the Gonaïves zone
Moulin 50%
50%
41.7%
16.6%
41.7%
66.7%
33.3%
Ville de
Gros Morne
Aciphat One
Two
Three
Meals Per Day
LEGEND
8
The major livelihood activities are sugarcane cultivation, production of sugarcane
syrup and production of an alcoholic drink known as clarin. Women and men
are active in the local sugarcane industry. Men specialize in the manual work of
sugarcane cultivation, while women mainly engage in the commercial side of the
industry (e.g., vending sugarcane, syrup and clarin). Other livelihood activities
include growing mixed crops of corn, beans, bananas, avocados and mangoes for
local consumption and the local market. On a small scale, residents of Moulin also
raise animals such as chicken, pigs, goats and cows.
Many households grow more sugarcane than other food crops because
sugarcane products are marketable and are good sources of household incomes.
Households therefore spend part of their incomes to purchase food such as rice
and cooking oil from local markets—a larger-than-usual weekly food expenditure
of $45, which buys one or two main meals a day.
Moulin is exposed to unexpected drought and tropical storms, which significantly
affect the community’s activities and cause occasional hunger. Although the
community is endowed with two rivers, households do not have a means of
using the river water to irrigate their fields during droughts. As a coping strategy,
households seek both in-kind and cash credit to enhance their food security.
Other challenges include poor hygiene, due to a lack of latrines in the community,
and poor access to clean water.
Ville de Gros Morne
Ville de Gros Morne is a provincial trading center; its main community asset is its
access to buyers. Very poor families live in houses that have mud walls and straw
roofs. These families eat at most one meal per day. Their food comes mainly from
small gardens, although they sometimes buy food to supplement their diets. The
children are in poor health and are malnourished. Very poor families sometimes
earn money from their small-business activities.
Poor families live in houses that have walls made of rocks and roofs made of
old corrugated iron sheets. These families eat at most two meals per day. They
supplement their diets with rice that they purchase from markets. Poor families
can afford basic services that are offered in private and public health centers.
They may have access to mutual solidarity financial services.
Well-off families own their homes, which are well constructed and located in
residential neighborhoods. These houses have big periurban gardens. Well-off
families own generators or other energy sources, and they own a vehicle. They
eat at most three meals per day. They buy most of their food (e.g., rice, meats,
cooking oil, bread, spaghetti) from markets.
Women engage in food vending activities. Men work in small grocery shops and
cultivate crops in the surrounding areas. Men also pursue small trades such as
9
masonry, carpentry and iron working. They raise animals such as goats, sheep,
cows and pigs.
Poor households with weak income-generating activities endure frequent periods
of hunger. The surveyed households indicated that the vast majority could only
afford one meal a day. People living with HIV and AIDS are among the most
vulnerable groups in the community. Many of these people receive different types
of assistance, including counseling, medication, food items and children’s tuition
from the CHAMP project (and from other NGOs’ projects).
Many households and their crop fields that are located on the riverbanks are
vulnerable to flash flooding during tropical storms and the rainy season. Hygiene
is also a huge challenge in the community due to a severe lack of latrines.
Community members often suffer from waterborne diseases such as typhoid
and, recently, cholera.
Aciphat
Aciphat is an urban community in the city of Gonaïves. Very poor families live
in small, poorly built houses that are often badly affected by flooding. These
families can afford one meal per day. Sometimes they can afford more meals
because of aid from community members and churches. Very poor families
sometimes beg to pay for health care and other basic services.
Poor families live in small houses that have walls made of rocks or cement
blocks. Their roofs are made of corrugated iron sheets. Poor families can afford
one or two meals per day thanks to their small businesses. Some of these
families belong to savings groups.
Well-off families live in houses that were built to resist flood damage. They own
big businesses such as food depots and hardware stores. These families are
financially stable and can afford three meals per day.
Women engage in grocery vending activities. Men perform manual trade
activities such as sewing, masonry and iron working. Among the key community
assets are good neighborhood relations and solidarity with fellow church
members. There are several Christian denominations (with missionary linkages
to the United States) that provide resources for the community that enhance
household livelihood security.
The main source of food is the market, which is why weekly mean food
expenditure is higher in Aciphat than in Moulin or Ville de Gros Morne. Rice,
beans and cooking oil are readily available on the market. Affordability is the
main issue; poor households with weak income-generating activities can afford
only one meal a day, while better-off ones eat two or three meals a day.
10
Owing to poor drainage and bad waste management, the community is
vulnerable to flooding whenever it rains. During the flooding seasons, many
people—especially young men and women—leave Aciphat. Other vulnerabilities
include poor hygiene due to the lack of latrines among poor households.
POR T-DE-PAIX ZONE
Among the three zones, communities in the Port-de-Paix zone have the highest
levels of food insecurity and overall vulnerability.
Lacoma
The most valuable economic asset in Lacoma is the well-built public market,
which attracts buyers and sellers from the entire department twice a week. Very
poor families live in small houses with walls made of wood from acacia trees and
roofs made of leaves from latanier trees. These families struggle to get even one
meal per day. They can’t afford medical services at the clinic; they use traditional
medicine instead. They work small jobs through the métayage system.
Poor families live in small houses that have walls of cement blocks or rocks.
Their roofs are made of latanier leaves. Poor families grow their own food and
generally eat one meal per day. They may supplement their diets with food from
the market. They may be able to afford only basic medications from the health
clinic. Their incomes come from selling food items and animals.
Well-off families live in houses that have walls made of bricks or cement blocks.
The roofs are made of corrugated iron sheets or concrete. Families own their
own housing plots, and their houses are permanent structures. Well-off families
can afford at least two meals per day. They grow and purchase their food. These
families can afford medical services at the clinic, and they have the means to
access medical treatment in Port-de-Paix, which is 65 kilometers away. Their
incomes come from sales of surplus crops and animals. Well-off families own
motorcycle taxis, and they own their own land, which they lease through the
métayage system.
Market vending is the leading livelihood activity. Women deal in locally produced
crops such as corn, manioc and pearl millet, whereas men specialize in selling
locally raised animals such as goats, sheep and cows. Men also grow rain-fed
mixed crops. Youth and poorer households with no land engage in the system of
métayage, which enables people to cultivate the owner’s land and equally share
the harvest.
Food security is largely affected by the community’s vulnerability to the
vagaries of the weather. Extended drought leads to crop failures and small
harvests. The large bridgeless river Trois Rivières, which must be crossed in
order to access Lacoma and other communities to the west of Port-de-Paix,
often overflows its banks because of the rainwater that flows from the rainy
regions outside the department. This affects the market activities in Lacoma
11
and household food security. The majority of the surveyed households
could only afford one meal a day.
Baie des Moustiques
The most valuable community asset in Baie des Moustiques is the sea,
and the leading livelihood activity is fishing. Very poor families own poorly
built homes that are made of mud and latanier leaves. They may have a
few small plots of land that they inherited from relatives. These families
struggle to obtain one full meal per day. They can’t afford medicine. They
use traditional treatments instead. Their children attend public schools,
and families struggle to raise school fees. Very poor families own a few
animals that they sell to earn money. They also work in fields through the
métayage system.
Many poor families live in simple houses, many of which are not near the
sea. These families can afford one meal per day, basic medical treatment
and tuition for their children’s enrollment in public schools. Poor families
own more animals than very poor families. They sell animals to earn
money during hard times. They also seek to organize themselves in mutual
solidarity groups to enhance their financial security.
Well-off families live in the center of
the community in relatively well-built
homes. They can comfortably afford two
meals per day and good health care
within and beyond the community. Their
children go to either the best schools
in the community or to Port-de-Paix’s
private schools. Well-off families own
motorcycle taxis and have access to
credit facilities, which help them to enrich
their businesses.
Fishermen’s assets include rudimentary
fishing boats, nets and fishing rods.
They catch fish mainly to sell them.
Men specialize in catching fish while
women engage in vending. In order to
sell their catch at higher prices than
what households in Baie des Moustique
can afford, fishermen sometimes risk
dangerous waters to sail their boats to
Port-de-Paix, Poste Métier and Beauchamp.
Sometimes their boats capsize and the
fishermen drown. Men also rear animals
Communi ty Min imum
(USD)
Maximum
(USD)
Mean
(USD)
Lacoma $5.00 $75.00 $37.50
Baie des
Moustiques
$2.50 $43.75 $30.00
Cite Maxo $17.50 $125.00 $50.40
Table 3. Weekly household food expenditures in the Portde-Paix zone
Figure 7. Daily meals per household in the Portde-Paix zone
Lacoma
Baie des
Moustiques
One
Two
Three
Meals Per Day
LEGEND
Cité Maxo
70%
100%
30%
50%
50%
12
and burn wood to make charcoal as an income diversification strategy. Women
sell the charcoal of their spouses.
Baie des Moustiques is the most food insecure among the three communities
in the Port-de-Paix zone, and food insecurity is the biggest vulnerability of the
community. This is due to the vagaries of nature and the poor quality of their
fishing technology. Rudimentary equipment and techniques hinder fishermen
from getting into the inner sea where they report that fish are abundant. Nearly
all the surveyed households could only afford one meal a day, and their weekly
mean expenditure was $30. Poor health facilities pose another challenge.
Cité Maxo
Cité Maxo is an urban community. The leading livelihood activities are selling
food items and other products for general domestic use. Very poor families live in
houses that are made of old iron sheets. These families struggle to earn enough
for one meal per day. The children sometimes have to beg for food. Some family
members earn money by working as porters (manutentionnaires).
Poor families live in small houses with walls made of wood and concrete
and roofs made of old corrugated iron sheets. They can afford one meal per
day and sometimes two meals per day. They earn money from their small,
unstable businesses.
Well-off families live in well-built houses with walls made of concrete blocks and
roofs made of either concrete or new corrugated iron sheets. They can afford at
least two meals per day. These families have collateral and access to credit. They
run stable businesses and receive money from relatives who are living overseas.
To cope with the high cost of food in the city, some community members cross
the river to the community of Lacogne, where they practice mixed cropping of
manioc, bananas, peas and shallots. While women specialize in selling food
items and pépé (used clothes) and working in gardens in Lacogne, men run
small grocery shops, work in construction and work as moped taxi drivers. Young
men also work as porters to earn a living. Women’s groups are important assets
in the community and, in one case, even led to the establishment of a popular
community school.
Food insecurity is a major challenge. The main source of food is the market,
where food prices are generally higher than in the other two communities. This
accounts for the high weekly mean expenditure. Poor households can afford only
one meal per day. Other vulnerabilities include poor sanitation and bad hygiene
due to a chronic lack of latrines in the community. The most critical case is the
popular community school, which has no latrine and no access to drinking water.
Children and their teachers relieve themselves in nature, thus exposing the
children and the entire community to health risks.
13
OUANAMINTHE ZONE
The communities in Ounaminthe differed greatly from those in the other
two zones in that their livelihoods were influenced by their proximity to the
Haiti–Dominican Republic border.
Jacquesyl
The sea is the most valuable natural asset and the most significant
source of livelihoods security in the community of Jacquesyl. The major
livelihood activities are fishing and extraction of sea salt for both domestic
consumption and income generation. Very poor families live in small
houses with walls made of sticks and mud and roofs made of thatched
grass. They are squatters who struggle to afford one full meal per day.
These families earn a little money by extracting salt and selling charcoal.
Poor families own sturdier houses that are made of thatched grass or
old iron sheets. They may have inherited some small tracts of land. Poor
families can afford at least one meal per day. They sell some of their goats,
sheep and pigs when they need extra money.
Well-off families own well-built houses that are made of concrete and
corrugated iron sheets. These families can comfortably afford two meals
per day. They own money-making assets such as salt basins and fishing
boats, and they receive money from relatives
who live abroad.
Key assets of well-off households are salt
basins and fishing boats. Men specialize
in catching fish and extracting salt while
women engage in the commercial aspects
of the industry and sell other food items.
Men burn wood from acacia and mangrove
trees to make charcoal, and women sell
the charcoal produced by their spouses.
Community members also grow smallscale rain-fed mixed crops of corn, manioc
and beans.
The main source of food for households
is the market, which accounts for the
high weekly mean food expenditure of
$59.22 among the surveyed households.
With income from salt and fish products,
households buy rice and flour for domestic
consumption. Households have fairly easy
access to well-priced food items because
the community is located only about 50
kilometers from the Haiti–Dominican
Communi ty Min imum
(USD)
Maximum
(USD)
Mean
(USD)
Jacquesyl $17.50 $131.25 $59.22
Dérac $6.25 $62.50 $32.90
Gaillard $8.75 $43.75 $23.63
Table 4. Weekly household food expenditures in the
Ouanaminthe zone
Figure 8. Daily meals per household in the
Ouanaminthe zone
Jacquesyl
Dérac
One
Two
Three
Meals Per Day
LEGEND
Gaillard
50%
50%
33.3%
66.7%
40%
60%
14
Republic border. Despite these advantages, there are many poor households in
the community that can only afford one meal a day. Households that are more
well-off can afford two meals a day.
Households’ major livelihood activities are vulnerable because of climatic cycles
and the poor quality of physical and social assets. Salt extraction, for instance,
is only viable during hot and dry conditions. The fishermen’s equipment does
not enable them to make the most of the sea. Community members reported
frequent occasions in which better-equipped fishermen from the Dominican
Republic came and fished in their waters. The local fishermen reported that their
fishermen association is too loosely organized to attract assistance from NGOs
and government agencies.
Dérac
Dérac is also a maritime community near the small informal border community
of Masiani in the Dominican Republic. The sea is the most valuable natural
asset. Very poor families live in the old staff quarters that belonged to the
Dauphin factory. Others live in simple structures that are made out of sticks,
mud, thatched grass or old corrugated iron sheets. Many of these families
are squatters who may lose their homes at any time. Fondation St. Vincent
provides one meal per day. Family members beg for cash and rely on friends
for assistance. Very poor families send their children to other cities as domestic
servants. Sometimes the children are able to send back a little money.
Poor families live in similar houses, but their homes sometimes have concrete
roofs. These families may have access to land, where they grow mixed crops
without irrigation. Many poor families are squatters on the Dauphin factory’s
land. Depending on the season, they can afford either one meal or two meals per
day. They earn money by selling their labor and crops. Poor families also send
their children to other cities as domestic servants.
Well-off families live in the community’s best houses. They can comfortably
afford two meals per day. These families earn their money from diversified
livelihood activities, such as fishing, producing charcoal and selling goods. They
also receive money from relatives who live abroad.
Men catch fish using their rudimentary equipment such as simple boats and
nets, and women specialize in selling the fish products. An important social asset
is the good business relationship between the women in Dérac and the business
people in Masiani. Women from Dérac are able to get products from their
counterparts in Masiani on credit, sell them in their local markets for a profit, pay
back their debts and maintain the business cycle.
The community of Dérac was reported to have some of the most vulnerable
households. These are families with no solid and stable livelihood activities. To
cope with poverty, they send their children to larger towns for domestic servitude,
a system known as restavec in Haitian Creole. However, these children oftentimes
continue living in the cycle of poverty and fail to send any money to their parents.
15
Many households in Dérac can only afford one meal a day. Their food security is
enhanced by a local NGO, Fondation St. Vincent, which operates a community
canteen for the poor and provides a daily hot meal to poor households.
Other vulnerabilities in the community include poor access to potable water and
medical care. Hygiene is also a huge challenge, as many poor households do not
own proper latrines.
Gaillard
Gaillard is a periurban border community in Ouanaminthe. Gaillard’s main assets
include easy access to well-priced products and manual jobs in the Dominican
Republic, the sands on the bed of the River Massacre and the Haiti–Dominican
Republic industrial park in the Free Zone (La Zone Franche). Very poor families
have small houses that are made of mud, wood and old corrugated iron sheets.
Their homes are surrounded by small cactus fences. These families do not own
their homes and could be evicted at any time. Very poor families struggle to
afford one meal per day and are barely able to afford any medical treatment.
They earn money by doing manual labor. The children spend much of the day
selling water sachets. Some families spend most of their time begging. Parents
sometimes send their children to other cities in Haiti or the Dominican Republic
as servants.
Poor families own bigger homes that have concrete roofs atop mud walls. Many
of these families are squatters. They can afford one meal per day, sometimes two
meals per day. They mainly eat food from their urban gardens. Poor families can
afford basic medications, such as painkillers. They earn money by selling goods,
including food from their gardens.
Well-off families own the land upon which their homes are built. The walls of their
homes are made of concrete blocks, and the roofs are made of either concrete
or new iron sheets. These families can comfortably afford at least two meals per
day. They grow food and purchase food from the market. Well-off families can
afford medical treatment from hospitals in the region. The families own grocery
shops and have access to the Dominican Republic for legal business activities.
Women conduct small business activities, namely dealing in salami, spaghetti,
eggs and soft drinks from the Dominican Republic. Young women work in the
garments factory. Other women operate mobile restaurants and sell hot meals
as peddlers. Men work as laborers on private farms in the Dominican Republic,
collect and sell sand from the River Massacre, rear animals and grow mixed
crops in periurban areas along the banks of the River Massacre.
Food security is highly dependent on the market, and access to food depends only
on the household’s purchasing power. Many poor households with weak incomegenerating activities engage in low-paying illegal manual jobs in the Dominican
Republic. In spite of their hard work, many households can only afford one meal a day.
16
Among the most vulnerable social groups are children. Many boys and girls from
poor households do not attend school, or they drop out of school and beg at the
border. Girls sell water sachets as peddlers throughout the day. Boys spend their
entire day standing in the polluted River Massacre, guiding people across the
river and lifting their luggage for tips. Other vulnerable groups are the men and
women who engage in illegal work in the Dominican Republic. Their employers
often take advantage of their illegal status and either pay them too little or
nothing at all. Women also become victims of sexual exploitation.
17
RECOMMENDATIONS
The assessment team asked community members to identify activities that could reduce their vulnerability. The team then
compiled the following recommendations.5
Table 5. Recommendations
Recommended In ter vent ions Vu lnerab i l i t ies Causes Target
Communi t ies
Strengthen communities’
capacities to manage risks
related to fl ooding
• Construct and rehabilitate
drainage canals
• Strengthen communities’ waste
management capacity
Flooding during the
rainy seasons
Inadequate drainage
canals; existing drainage
canals are used as
garbage pits
Aciphat, Cité Maxo and
other similar vulnerable
urban communities
Improve community
hygiene and potable
water conditions
• Construct community latrines for use in
schools and among household clusters
• Strengthen communities’ capacities to
maintain community latrines
• Sensitize communities and raise
awareness of key hygiene practices
• Extract and treat drinking water at
natural springs where applicable
• Drill more community borehole wells
and improve access to domestic water
treatment substances
Hygiene-related and
waterborne diseases
(cholera, typhoid,
skin diseases)
Lack of latrines among
poor households; limited
access to potable water
and domestic water
purifi cation substances
All communities
Improve community access
to affordable health
services and medical care
• Provide technical assistance in the
form of medical equipment, medication
and personnel
• Provide mobile clinics to vulnerable
households
• Provide health grants to very vulnerable
households
Chronic sickness;
recurrent diseases/
sicknesses
Poor access to affordable
health services
All communities
Enhance the capacities
of people who fi sh,
thereby helping them to
manage and sustain their
livelihood security
• Strengthen associative/organizational
capacities
• Improve access to fi nancial/credit
services to enable the purchase of
improved fi shing technology
Low catches; low
revenues; hunger in
the home
Inability to access the
high seas, where fi sh are
perceived to be more
abundant than near
the shores
Baie des Moustiques,
Dérac, Jacquesyl and all
other similar communities
in the north
Enhance vulnerable
families’ capacities
to diversify their
livelihood activities
• Provide in-kind grants (e.g., for
drought-resistant agricultural seeds
and for animals that are suitable for
commercial rearing)
• Provide training on how to sustain
households’ livelihood activities
• Engage vulnerable households
in solidarity, savings and internal
lending activities
Persistent hunger
and malnutrition
Dependence on only a
few sources of food
Lacoma, Baie des
Moustiques, Jacquesyl,
Dérac, Moulin and other
similar communities in
the north
Improve school health
and hygiene
• Construct latrines in community and
public schools
• Integrate health/hygiene education in
school curricula
• Strengthen schools’ capacity to
sustain health/hygiene education in
the curriculum
Chronic sicknesses;
recurrent diseases/
sicknesses
Lack of latrines; poor
hygiene in schools with
and without latrines
Cité Maxo, Aciphat,
Gaillard and other similar
communities in the north
5 These recommendations do not refl ect senior management decisions; all recommendations will be further analyzed and vetted before
CRS takes any action. CRS’ review process will include an analysis to ensure that any action pursued by CRS will not aggravate vulnerable
environmental conditions.
18
Recommended In ter vent ions Vu lnerab i l i t ies Causes Target
Communi t ies
Improve communities’
capacity to protect children
from exploitation, and
protect children’s rights to a
quality education
• Raise awareness of risks and
consequences of the restavec system
• Strengthen/diversify the livelihood
activities of vulnerable families that send
children to be restavecs
• Engage community-based organizations
in campaigns to enroll children
Child exploitation in
domestic servitude,
begging and petty
abusive activities
Poverty in families;
ignorance about how
child exploitation can
threaten a child’s future
Gaillard, Dérac, Cité
Maxo, Jacquesyl and
other communities that
have similar situations in
the north
Enhance the livelihood
activities of young women
and men
• Train vulnerable youth in market-driven
vocational skills (e.g., baking)
• Provide start-up capital (equipment and
tools) to youth
• Provide follow-up technical assistance
and on-the-job support until youths’
incomes begin to improve
Recurrent youth
unemployment
Lack of meaningful
income-generation
activities for youth
Aciphat, Cité Maxo,
Gaillard and other urban
communities that have
similar situations in
the north
19
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S
I would like to thank CRS for giving me the opportunity to guide, lead, train,
advise and strengthen the capacity of emerging Haitian civil society leaders
in participatory rural appraisal methodologies and to conduct a participatory
livelihoods assessment in northern Haiti. This project is a true reflection of the
hard work and proven capacities of CRS’ staff and partners to act as catalysts
for local development. They have achieved this by engaging various Haitian
communities in critical discussions about their livelihoods and strategies to
enhance their local assets and mitigate their vulnerability. I believe CRS’ staff
and partners who served on the team will be the future trainers, advisors
and team leaders on similar assessment interventions for CRS in Haiti. The
assessment truly belongs to the 16 Haitian women and men who first attended
my training sessions and then traveled with me to the nine communities in
northern Haiti. I believe the content of this report will guide CRS to develop an
informed strategy and design effective programs for northern Haiti.
Subteam 1
Name Sex T i t le PLA Ro le
Roland Joseph Male CRS-Gonaïves, Livelihoods Officer Subteam Leader
Magdala Suire Female CRS-Ouanaminthe, Livelihoods Officer Interview Facilitator
Genel Eugène Male Caritas–Port-de-Paix, Agriculture
Program Manager
Interview Cofacilitator
Sindy Pierre
Bellegarde
Female CRS–Christ Roi, Shelter and
Housing Officer
Interview Note-Taker
Willem Magloire Male Caritas–Fort Liberté, Ecosol
Program Manager
Interview Note-Taker
Bachémy Jean Male CRS-Solino, Social Protection Program
Trainer/Facilitator
Interview Note-Taker
Subteam 2
Name Sex T i t le PLA Ro le
Waldo Beauséjour Male CRS–Port-au-Prince, M&E Manager Subteam Leader
Darly M. Nicole
Dorceus
Female CRS–Mais Gate, Social Protection
Program Trainer/Facilitator
Interview Facilitator
Henock Pierre Male CRS–Christ Roi, Livelihoods Program
Trainer/Facilitator
Interview Cofacilitator
Marie-France
Benoît
Female CRS–Christ Roi, Shelter and
Housing Officer
Interview Note-Taker
John Lukesy Prévil Male St. John Sisters, Field Agent for
Trafficking in Persons Project
Interview Note-Taker
20
Subteam 3
Name Sex T i t le PLA Ro le
Judnel Yves Cesar Male CRS-Nippes, Livelihoods Officer Subteam Leader
Hippolyte Reynold Male CRS-Solino, Livelihoods Program
Trainer/Facilitator
Interview Facilitator
Nicole Eli Female Caritas–Fort Liberté, Ecosol Program
Trainer/Facilitator
Interview Cofacilitator
Honchyse Joseph Female CRS-Solino, Social Protection Program
Trainer/Facilitator
Interview Note-Taker
Francion Lalanne Male CRS–Port-de-Paix, Livelihoods Officer Interview Note-Taker
21
REFERENCES
Burpee, Gaye, Geoff Heinrich and Rosanne Zemanek. “Integral Human
Development (IHD): The Concept & the Framework.” Baltimore: Catholic Relief
Services, 2008.
Famine Early Warning Systems Network. Livelihoods Profiles in Haiti. Washington,
DC: USAID, 2005.
Famine Early Warning Systems Network and U.S. Agency for International
Development. FEWs NET–USAID Report 2005. N.p.: USAID, 2005.
Heinrich, Geoff, David Leege and Carrie Miller. A User’s Guide to Integral Human
Development (IHD): Practical Guidance for CRS Staff and Partners. Baltimore:
Catholic Relief Services, 2008. http://www.crsprogramquality.org
/publications/2009/2/23/a-users-guide-to-integral-human-development.html.
World Food Program and National Coordination of Food Security. “Executive
Brief—Haiti: Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis.” New
York: United Nations, 2008.
Catholic Relief Services
228 West Lexington Street
Baltimore, MD 21201 USA
Tel: (410) 625-2220
crsprogramquality.org

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