In partnership with organizations in both Minnesota and Haiti, we have invested in community infrastructure for Moreau, a farming village in rural Haiti. Our business operations provide farmers with a new source of income through sustainable agriculture initiatives. In addition, we collaborate with the farmers association in Moreau to support localized development projects that they identify as important for the health of their community.
Supplying donated soccer equipment and renting a community soccer field
During our vetiver grass pilot program in 2017, Dr. Jeff, Jesse, and Elizabeth spent time with soccer players from Moreau to learn more about the importance of soccer leagues in the region and to see the field they played on. It was a long walk from the village, as soccer fields are difficult and expensive to build in the mountainous region of Bainet. The community has set aside a plot of land in the village for a future soccer field, but have not had the funds or the equipment to turn it into a usable playing space.
After returning from this trip, Vetiver Solutions worked with SPAM FC; this non-profit scholarship organization and soccer league in Minnesota has raised funds to rent a soccer field in a village near Moreau for three years while the community builds a soccer field in Moreau. To ensure that local youth and young adults have the equipment they need to play soccer, we have also coordinated donations from the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association and the Park Valley United Football Club. Their donations of soccer balls and jerseys ensure that kids in Moreau can play sports and build community relationships.
Our key goal for the near future is to help fund the construction of the brand new soccer field in Moreau. Because the village is nestled in the mountainous southern region, soccer fields have to be carved out of the hillsides, graded to the correct size and altitude, painted, and supplied with soccer nets. The community has cleared a plot of land nearby, but lacks the funds to finish the project on their own. With SPAM FC’s generous support, we will be able to help Moreau create a community gathering space — for soccer, relationship building, and local commerce.
Installing solar panels on the roof of the community school
As part of our year-end report in December 2018, we reached out to our supporters to raise funds for a solar array and batteries for MIJABA’s K – 8 school in Moreau. Dr. Jeff and the farmers’ association identified the school as an ideal place for solar panels, since it functions as an important community gathering place — supporting hundreds of students and families around the region.
In September 2019, we worked with Dr. Jeff to purchase and install solar panels, batteries, and inverters on the roof of the building. We purposefully chose this setup to ensure easy expansion of panels and batteries in the future. Solar panels are an efficient, sustainable source of energy in the community that allow community members to charge their cell phones consistently; mobile devices are critical for access to health services, markets, education, banking, and civic life for those living in rural Haiti. We plan to continue adding to the solar array in coming years, growing the local infrastructure and opportunities for farmers and their families.
Adding tile flooring to a local community center
In 2020, the farmers in Moreau decided to use our annual community development funding to purchase and install floor tiles in a local community center. This region of Haiti is prone to heavy rains and flooding, so permanent flooring in this concrete building is critical for keeping the space durable and safe for years to come.
Providing English lessons for the community school
When we travel to Moreau for product development and supply chain work, we also dedicate time to community relations through supporting the local school. During each visit, we spend time teaching English lessons for the students and the teachers; Dr. Jeff has identified this as a specialized skill that can help people from the village find employment.
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