Empower Women, Empower the Community
Since its inception in 1993, the Lambi Fund of Haiti has supported projects run by women. Targeting development projects towards women has dramatic effects for the whole household: when women improve their economic status, their children, especially girls, benefit from improved health, nutrition and educational opportunities. Empowering women also impacts the larger community, decreasing incidents of domestic violence and improving community food security.
In Haiti, women are known as poto mitan or the 'pillars of society.' They play a pivotal role in the family and community, participating in agricultural labor and performing most household work (along with girls of the family), including cooking over charcoal fires, washing clothes by hand, and transporting water for drinking and bathing. In many households women are the primary breadwinners. They work as market vendors, small business owners, in factories or as domestic laborers in other households. In addition, many Haitian women are single heads of the household, raising their children alone and going to great lengths to give them a better life.
As Haitian women organize themselves they develop workable solutions to address the difficulties they face. With little financial means or formal education but great determination, women's organizations and women within larger mixed-gender groups approach the Lambi Fund for assistance to turn their plans into reality. By supporting the Lambi Fund you reinforce individuals who are the 'center posts' of life in Haiti. As Haitian women move from poverty and oppression toward liberation, they are bringing the whole country with them.
Click here to meet powerful women who are leaders of change in their communities.
Organizing to Increase Agricultural Production
While Haitian women perform many agricultural tasks, they often lack access to the resources necessary to move beyond subsistence activities.
Women in central and northwest Haiti had to travel for many hours over difficult terrain to mill the grains (corn, millet) that provide their families' staple food as well as money for household expenses, and were often pushed aside by mill owners who favored business from larger grain merchants. With the Lambi Fund's assistance, women's organizations now collectively own and run grain mills close to home, greatly increasing productivity and the amount of profit that stays in their pockets.
A federation of 75 regional women's cooperatives in northwest Haiti received support from Lambi Fund to purchase cocoa handmills that gave women direct control over production — speeding up processing, creating a higher quality product for market, and avoiding middlemen who took a large share of profits.
Women have the primary responsibility of raising pigs, sheep, chickens, and goats that provide a source of food and income, as well as a safety net, for Haitian families. The Lambi Fund's animal husbandry program supports community projects to breed and raise animals, contributing to grassroots economic development.
Women and the Environment
Widespread deforestation across Haiti threatens food security and exacerbates the impact of natural disasters like hurricanes, causing severe flooding and mudslides. Lambi Fund has partnered with Kenya's Green Belt Movement to plant 1 million trees in Haiti and women are leading the way in the reforestation initiative.
Leadership Development for Gender Equality
The Lambi Fund facilitates conferences and seminars for peasant women around the country where they learn about their legal rights and gain invaluable leadership and management skills. Women are able to reflect together and encourage each other in the struggle for justice. As women grow as leaders, they strengthen the grassroots movement for development and democracy in Haiti. Click here to learn more about Lambi Fund Training Programs
Post-Earthquake Realities for Women and Girls
Throughout rural Haiti, women have led the way in opening their homes and communities to the thousands of internally displaced people who fled earthquake-damaged cities for the countryside. This has meant a shifting of resources from rural women's own livelihood activities — farming and small enterprise — in order to take care of earthquake survivors. The Lambi Fund of Haiti is supporting these women and their newly expanded communities with micro-credit funds to grow small businesses, sustainable agriculture programs to meet growing demand for locally produced food, and opportunities for new sustainable development enterprises such as fish farms, sugar cane mills, and goat and pig breeding projects.
Women also face harsh conditions in the makeshift tent cities that are literally in every corner of Port-au-Prince and scattered throughout Haiti. Thousands of women who lack permanent forms of shelter are left highly vulnerable to rape and other forms of violence. Girls are especially susceptible to child trafficking from refugee camps and orphanages. Even in these conditions, women are organizing to better their situations. The Lambi Fund is supporting the creation of a strong coalition of women's groups to raise the voice of Haitian women in post-earthquake redevelopment.Haiti Gender Shadow Report."