Nonprofit Spotlight: Lambi Fund of Haiti

 

The Lambi Fund's mission is to assist the popular, democratic movement in Haiti. Lambi Fund works in partnership with rural grassroots peasant organizations to support economic justice, democracy and sustainable development in Haiti.

 

The Lambi Fund provides financial resources, training and technical assistance to peasant-led community organizations that promote the social and economic empowerment of the Haitian people.

 

Programs include:

  • Alternative sustainable development.

  • Environment: grassroots reforestation and potable water.

  • Organizational and leadership training.

  • Community micro-credit.

  • Animal husbandry.

 

We serve:

Lambi Fund supports peasant-led community organizations in rural Haiti that promote non-violence, gender equity, self-sustainability, nonpartisanship and grassroots democracy.

 

The Lambi Fund's original, grassroots development model succeeds because it relies on Haitians themselves to determine the needs and the most effective solutions in each community. The Lambi Fund's emphasis on democracy, on a community's actual needs and on peasant-led solutions ensures more successful outcomes.

 

Brief history:

The Lambi Fund of Haiti was founded in 1994 by Haitians, Haitian-Americans and other North Americans. The Lambi Fund draws its name from the lambi (pronounced lahm-bee), the Haitian Creole word for conch shell.

 

The shells were blown as horns and used during the slave rebellion against the French colonialists in 1791, to alert the slaves to impending danger and the need to assemble. The lambi was chosen as a symbol to represent the Haitian people's hope, strength, resistance and struggle for self-determination.

 

Proudest accomplishment:

According to a recent evaluation of its first 10 years of work, Lambi Fund projects involved 76,896 entrepreneurial participants whose collective enterprises impacted 1,222,145 Haitians.

 

Researchers found evidence that Lambi Fund projects create change through improved economic conditions, increased availability of food, reduced soil erosion, improved environment, increased availability of potable water, increased gender equity, improved democratic functioning, increased management capacity of organizations and increased collaboration among grassroots organizations.

 

Greatest need:

Reforesting the land:The Lambi Fundplans to take its Grassroots Reforestation Program to the next level in Haiti through collaboration with the highly successful Greenbelt Movement led by 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Wangari Maathai.

 

Deforestation in Haiti — described by one recent U.N. report as "one of the most degraded countries in the world" — threatens its farmland and the livelihood of the Haitian peasants.

 

Karen Ashmore, Lambi Fund executive director and a Broomfield resident, said, "When I first met with Wangari Maathai, she said she always wanted to work with Haitians to reforest the land. She chose to work with Lambi Fund because our grassroots approach is similar to the Greenbelt Movement.

 

"We have everything in place for the program except we are still raising the remaining funds. A well-known environmental supporter in Denver has offered a challenge grant for this program. She will match every dollar raised in Colorado for the Grassroots Reforestation Program. More and more people are starting to realize the impact of deforestation on global warming. Even Al Gore talks about the deforestation of Haiti in his movie 'An Inconvenient Truth.'"

 

Much of our funding comes from the east coast but because Boulder residents particularly understand environmental needs, we want to promote this challenge opportunity in Boulder."

 

Long-term program results include:One million trees planted in Haiti; training and technical assistance by Greenbelt Movement and Lambi Fund agronomists; peer-led exchange and solidarity between Kenya and Haiti to share best practices and advocacy by peasant women; pilot demonstrations and scale-up of reforestation program; regional conferences and public education to strengthen reforestation movement. Once the pilot demonstrations have been successfully implemented in Haiti, the project will be rolled out on a national level there for countrywide replication.

 

Future plans:

  • A greener Haiti.

  • Improved economic conditions.

  • Increased food availability.

  • Increase in potable water.

  • Improved environment.

  • Increased gender equity.

  • Improved democratic functioning.

 

Contact information:

The Lambi Fund is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Port au Prince, Haiti, with staff offices in Broomfield and Miami. Karen Ashmore of Broomfield is the executive director.

 

For more information e-mail her at eMail Lambi Fund, call 303-465-5053, sign up for the email newsletter, read a blog from Haiti, buy books and music about Haiti, download reports and more.