Tuesday, February 15, 2011

By Sam Usem, CTI Volunteer, Haiti

It's hard to believe that over a week has passed since we
first arrived in Haiti. An important piece of the core of CTI is how much of our budget (more than 85%!) we devote towards projects which directly affect people. We are able to do this because of our network of partners around the world. Here in Haiti we've been meeting with current and potential partners every day--an essential part of expanding our network and ultimately the number of individuals that we are able to reach. 

In order for us to help our end users obtain our devices we have forged a working relationship with HOPE International, a group that builds micro-lending and savings/credit associations around the world. We met this week with Esperanza, a micro-credit group in the north of Haiti that is being counseled by HOPE. Our partner Sonje Ayiti is also providing micro-credit projects in a nearby area so it was great that CTI would facilitate a meeting between the two groups. We discussed similarities between projects and geographic areas of overlap so that the two institutions can more effective deliver financial opportunities. It is our goal that by establishing good micro-finance partners we will be able to provide more ways to get CTI equipment into the hands of the people that need it most.

From up here in Cap-Haitien we are about to travel west to meet with some very cool groups. Outside the Bowl is an organization that feeds thousands of people out of a super kitchen in Port de Paix. We hope to help them increase their food supply by purchasing crops from local farmers. After that we will be heading to the rural Northwest to meet with the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission (NWHCM). Over the last year NWHCM’s Neighbors Project has been placing CTI grinders with rural co-ops.

CTI’s devices can not only increase the available food supply by reducing waste, they can be excellent engines of small business growth as well. However, we recognize that for many of our end users, purchasing our equipment at full price in cash is out of reach. At the same time, many of our partner organizations recognize that they cannot provide relief assistance forever. It was with this in mind that we’ve spent the last year partnering with organizations in Haiti to inspire sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty. 

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