Heifer survey team arrives in Haiti

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Heifer International staff arrived in Port-au-Prince Wednesday, March 17, to begin work with the Heifer Haiti team to help plan for the organization’s short and long-term rehabilitation and recovery strategies in the aftermath of the January earthquake.

Stephen Northcutt, from Information Technology, joined Edwin Rocha and Jesus Pizarro, director of programs and director of finance and administration for Heifer’s Americas program, on the trip. Their visit begins Heifer’s work to help its existing 16,000 project families rehabilitate and rebuild and to explore scaling up Heifer’s program to aid even more families.

While in Haiti, the team will meet with in-country staff and project participant families to assess needs and damages for short-term rehabilitation work. For Heifer’s mid- to long-term rehabilitation efforts, Rocha and Pizarro will interview candidates to coordinate Heifer’s response plan in the southern and northern regions, where Heifer’s current program and projects are implemented, and meet with potential grassroots and international organizations, such as Partners in Health, to establish joint programming.

The Heifer team plans to return to Little Rock on March 24 to report its findings.

Heifer International has worked in Haiti for more than 10 years. On Jan. 12, 2010, when the magnitude 7 earthquake struck, the Haiti program was reorganizing and had six Haitian employees in two offices, in Les Cayes and Cap-Haitien. Supported by international staff in Little Rock, Haiti team members were working with more than 16,000 families and several farmer associations in 16 projects.

Heifer projects in Haiti at the time of the earthquake were scattered around the country assisting families with community organization and training in sustainable farming, crop diversity, nutrition, aquaculture and fish production, and providing gifts of livestock, seeds, trees and grains.