by Bill Falk, Chair, FIDA Canada
It is exciting to share some of my thoughts and future aspirations for FIDA on the eve of celebrating 30 years of promoting agriculture production in Haiti. That history alone, of focusing exclusively on one vital sector in one single country, gives FIDA/pcH a unique standing amongst international aid agencies in developing the best possible aid strategies for the future.
To rely on history alone has little merit. There is so much more that can and should be done in Haiti to bring the reality of a sustainable lifestyle to each and every individual Haitian. At the same time, the experience of 30 years in rural Haiti, in the midst of so much faint hope, has given FIDA/pcH unmatched experience and knowledge of the potential and impact of the cooperative model for the country and sharing this mission with other development partners. The vision of FIDA/pcH to be a leader of the cooperative model and to empower rural peasants to develop their economic and social capacity has become a powerful reality.
This is why FIDA/pcH appeals to me. I have been involved in several cooperatives as an Ontario farmer during my lifetime. I believe the cooperative model represents the essential development stage to launch larger numbers of people into a sustainable future. During a recent trip to Haiti, I was overjoyed to see Haitian cooperative members conducting and participating in their first Annual General Meeting, making those all-important decisions that directly impact their future, all within the framework and principles of the international cooperative business model. I thought, how exciting would it be if the greater charitable community united in a commitment to only launch projects that allowed Haiti to determine its own present and future ability to survive and thrive?
FIDA/pcH is a rare organization in Haiti that is attracting like-minded partners and donors who share the participatory philosophy in bringing complementing resources and expertise to communities who invest in the agricultural development model. As the current chairman of FIDA, I am excited to work with our Haitian counterpart, pcH, to further the empowerment of thousands of rural cooperative members. As FIDA/pcH, we employ a dedicated and experienced Haitian staff who work tirelessly to deliver practical common-sense solutions, grounded in local ownership and management.
The belief that true sustainability must begin with local motivation and ownership is the foundation of FIDA/pcH's commitment to provide resources to current and emerging cooperatives and to other partners. It is in FIDA's ability to draw resources from Canada and the USA that enable pcH to implement its sustainable cooperative model to many more communities, empowering more Haitian women and men to be leaders in producing food for their country.
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