Heifer Haiti Floats Hope With Goats on Boats

Claire Pressoir, Heifer Haiti communication officer, shares the story.

By Heifer International

April 10, 2020

boy with goat
Diamendy Elise, 8, tends his goat in Haiti. Photo by Lacey West

In This Article

  • Hurricane Matthew wallloped Southern Haiti in 2016, and recovery is still in the works.
  • A touchy political and social climate makes transportation in Haiti difficult.
  • Heifer Haiti had to get creative if they wanted to deliver goats to their new homes.
  • Brave sailors transported 1,244 goats over water to 311 farming families.

 When obstacles present themselves, we can choose to flee, to circumvent them, face them or see the situation as a whole new opportunity. In the context of the the Operator for the Support Program for the Recapitalization of Hurricane Matthew Victims (OPAREV ) project, the obstacles were not lacking, nor were the opportunities to learn and grow.

goats on boats
Heifer staff delivered goats overwater to farmers in need.

The project aims to help farming families in the department of South and Grand'Anse (commonly called the Great South of Haiti). Executed by Heifer Haiti, the project is funded by the World Bank and is part of the chain of projects of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR). The project targets 6,000 families who were victims of Hurricane Matthew and will indirectly assist 3,000 more families through Passing on the Gift®. A total of 9,000 families in the Great South of Haiti will benefit.

The routing of these resources has not always been easy.

Between the difficulties caused by political and social unrest, and the challenges that generally accompany any project, a major problem occurred in the Irois commune of Grand 'Anse: getting resources to families.

Indeed, the transport of animals to their future owners was a challenge for the team because the land transport routes were not only difficult to pass, but the transport distance put the goats in danger.

Faced with a situation that could seriously affect the animals and negatively impact the relationship Haiti had established with members of the project community, the Heifer Haiti team overcame the obstacle by transporting 800 goats by boat!

This means of transport proved to be, in this context, the safest and fastest way to ensure the goats arrived. Overall, 1,244 goats were distributed to 311 families in the Irois commune. The other 400 goats were transported by land because they were closer to the community where they were to be delivered. Nearly 406  families were trained in modern farming techniques and personal leadership development.

Humanity is going through a particularly difficult period at the moment and the obstacles may seem insurmountable. All of humanity struggles to overcome fear. This major obstacle seems to impose itself on most of us and blur our vision because the roads we usually take are no longer accessible.

Right now, we also need to use new roads to achieve our goals and not lose sight of our values. We must find a way to keep the faith. Imagining new paths to move forward because we must move forward. 

Please, find your boat.