President Gillaine Warne reflects on an incredible 2015 in the following letter to our supporters:
Trying to write a brief summary of the past year has been difficult, as 2015 was an exciting year filled with activity and progress. Thanks to many wonderful supporters, Partners in Agriculture was able to assist both CFFL (Centre de Formation Fritz Lafontant) and Zanmi Agrikol as they continue to develop their important programs.
A Rare Success in Education
Last summer found the second intake of new CFFL students in Construction and Woodworking continuing their discovery of the wonders of wood—the new girls in both disciplines participating to the fullest. At the same time, under the expert guidance of Reginald Cean, the 23 Agriculture students were busily preparing their exit projects as their August graduation date approached.
We are very proud to say that by the end of the school year, we graduated all of our first intake of students in all three disciplines with 100% success—their exam notes were higher than the general averages in Haiti. This now makes a total of 55 students who have graduated from CFFL, with technical degrees/diplomas in their respective areas of study.
The new intake of Agriculture students has increased the class-size to 30. With increases also in the other two disciplines, the total student count is up to 75, with 10 more girls enrolled than in the previous years.
We are now looking at the possibility of extending our status to a University level, as we have seen the desire on the part of most of our students to continue their education to that level.
What an exciting prospect! Our new reference library is now functional, with students able to do research on computers, and the science lab still providing essential soil testing.
Visits to our campus have been continual, with our visitors being very impressed and complimentary of our school, fields of production, and of course, our talented and efficient administrative staff and faculty. (We are very grateful for their dedication to excellence and appreciate the long hours and extended periods of time spent with students, not always in the easiest of conditions.) These visits often lead to new and beneficial projects and future partnerships, so we always welcome the opportunity to “show and tell”.
Continuing Relationship with CFFL Grads
Small projects started by graduated students include an Apiculture (bee) program, which is working towards at least 50 hives producing both honey and wax for candle-making, increasing the poultry production from 400 to 1000 hens, all on a 6-week growing cycle before going to market, and a small rabbit program aimed at introducing a new high-protein food to the ladies in local households, and eventually, to the general market.
“Black Gold” is the latest of the CFFL Ag. Students’ projects, turning what organic matter left in the fields after harvest into compost. A large structure with five bays has been built by and the organic matter is moved from one to the next after a period of time, to eventually arrive at the end as compost. It will be put back into the fields or even bagged and sold.
Forty More Families
Our goat program, the base for distribution of goats to families in the Family Assistance Program, is developing nicely with mothers, kids, and our two standing rams at Lachateau. Both Rock, our Nubian sire, and Arthur, our new Bore sire, are working well. We are starting to see their beautiful offspring display the benefits of crossbreeding.
The FAP had a very busy year, with an additional 40 new families added. These families were subsidized by Rotary International and Rotary Club of Mirebalais, for which we, and they, are very grateful. The families are now being managed by four of our recent graduates from CFFL. This program is a shining light in the communities where we are working, changing the lives of those in the program and giving hope for the future to those who had none.
The FAP in 2016
The communities in which we work are amongst the most impoverished and difficult to get to in all of Haiti, in what we call “the forgotten part of a forgotten country”. Many times, we represent the very first time anyone has attempted to assist in any way, in stark contrast to other regions. The education and assistance given in animal husbandry, agriculture and nutrition is life changing for all members of the family, leading to beneficial schooling and elimination of malnutrition in hundreds of children.
This year we will be able to assist another 100 families thanks to a wonderful grant from the Kellogg Foundation and end-of-year giving from our supporters.
We are so very grateful for all the assistance given by our donors and supporters, especially PIH/ Zanmi Lasante, Christ Church Greenville, the Hoe Down for Haiti team, and those many individuals and institutions who have given scholarships to help students with their tuition, without whom we would be unable to function. We hope they are also duly aware of the difference they are making to the lives of so many and feel satisfied with the programs and progress their contributions have enabled.
We believe the future is bright with potential and continued development and are excited to welcome in this New Year 2016.
Our intentions are to expand and extend our programs, building on a sound foundation and in partnership with others who believe that the road to recovery and a sustainable future is through education.
With warm wishes and in recognition and true gratitude for your support and participation, helping us to Make a Difference in the lives of many, we wish you Bonne Annee 2016!
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