The purpose of the Haitian Community Land Trust is to secure land for collective ownership among Haitians who have been displaced due to the Haitian Dominican border crisis. More than 111 acres of arable land in the North Department of Haiti has been identified for purchase and will serve as the new home for those who have been affected by the crisis. Once the land has been secured, HCLT and community partner OASKPA which has been organizing over 9 communities in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti, will action a gradual transition of displaced workers to the acquired land. Individuals that are now homeless will be given an opportunity to collectively build homes and make a living through the economic opportunities that will be generated due to the building of the new community.
Community-Focused Economic Development
Once the land has been acquired, the economic motor for this project will initially be an organic farm worker cooperative which will be formed to work the land that has been acquired and a vehicle through which to invest in both those who have been displaced and the community that is being built through this project. Given the profit sharing mechanisms that exist within a cooperative, this will ensure that the people will not only receive a living wage, but will ensure continued investment into the social and physical infrastructure of the community. Furthermore, as the agricultural model grows, this lends to the creation of worker based co-ops which will operate as a tool for resident empowerment and community development.
Finally, one of the goals of this group is to develop strong communal ties among the displaced. Developing a network of community support is crucial to the success of this project. What this means is training the community to assess, identify, and harness the internal and external assets of the community. This means understanding what resources the community has collectively, financial, physical, mental and developing a way that they can be shared for the greater good of the community. Strengthening ties also means building bridges between their community and others across the country and abroad. By forming partnerships with other Haitian communities, this can help improve the chances for successful development on both a national and local scale. One concrete way that this can be developed is through the formation of a buying cooperative with the community and the Diaspora who want to support. Essentially, members of the diaspora will commit to purchasing the agricultural products of the co-op. This creates an economic linkage between communities in Haiti and abroad.
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