Note: this is not a sales pitch by an NGO. It is a call for all interested people invested in Haiti to consider a new way to support Haitians for the long term, cooperatively, for basic human rights. CHRH- Cooperatives for Human Rights In Haiti by Tom Luce, President of Hurah, Inc. mailto://firstname.lastname@example.orgTHE THIRD WAY
is what some people call the cooperative movement. My human rights group, along with several other partners, is supporting a network of "integrated" formal cooperatives. CHRH
will integrate basic social and economic rights as a formal network of cooperative organizations. Check out CHRH (click) Check out the International Cooperative Alliance at ICA
. Haiti is rich with examples of cooperation, but they have been thwarted by greed, discrimination, and neglect from raising themselves out of poverty.
The THIRD WAY
has proven essential everywhere people are getting exploited. Haiti is ripe for the CHRH
. This is because neither the government nor the business sector with their international assistance agencies, and so many NGO's doing isolated programs, have an equitable, sustainable “reconstruction” plan for the majority of Haitians.
is based on justice, not charity. The powers-that-be have shown no willingness to reorganize and develop Haiti's economy equitably, to provide universal education or to make decent housing available to the people. The majority of Haitians have always been ready to do what is necessary for their well-being. They do not need charity, hand-outs, but the proverbial hand-up. The COOPERATIVE-CHRH
is what Haitians need, the cooperative socio-economic organization that has proven to be the most effective manner of creating and sharing wealth.
is a growing coalition of cooperatives for human rights in Haiti. Here are the basic rights we're promoting: 1) land jointly owned; 2) single family owned and green housing where orphans are welcome; 3) food self-reliance; 4) education for all children; 5) "macro" financial support for business development. Everyone talks about "sustainable". We are promoting more than just isolated cooperatives. We are working to create an “integrated”, coalition model that can achieve the reality. Two crucial tools to sustainability are 1) a banking “macro-credit" system; and 2) land ownership. When loans like $40,000 for a jatropha oil pressing machine have to be obtained from regular banks, the business venture becomes unviable. When land can be grabbed from small farmers, there is no sustainability.
The scene above is a view of land at Galette Chambon (commune of Ganthier near the central eastern border with the DR) where one of our partners, the Cooperative Invest in Galette Chambon -CIGC began the CHRH model in 1999-2003. Because of crookedness and resistance to THE THIRD WAY in those years, CIGC didn't get to have their development plans implemented. Just three days after the earthquake, CIGC offered to welcome up to 20 000 refugees and to integrate those who wished it into their Eco-Tourism project “Bel Azuei”. A permanent agrarian resettlement opportunity. Refugees would work and buy their share of land and quake resistant lodging; their kids would be schooled including orphans (no more "restaveks"); they would use green practices; they would have social services--via sustainable business development that would generate income. To this day, the Préval government has only perfunctorily acknowledged the offer, but not responded at all. Chaos reigns while land grab deals proceed and camp residents get sick and are threatened to be thrown out. Imagine if all these folks were in solidarity with THE THIRD WAY.INTEGRATED, NETWORKED COOPS (Click HERE to see a diagram of CHRH)
Drawing: professional plans drawn up in 2002-3 for an eco-tourist village owned and operated by the CIGC cooperative. Homes have "bed and breakfast" rooms. Income goes back into the coop to pay for schooling, for development of basic services. An integrated coop networked with others around the country (already established in Milot etc)
We are working to achieve sustainability in the newly reconstructed Haiti by supporting the CHRH coalition. I've been looking around a lot lately. You can't be but impressed by the scores of programs especially those that are seeking to strengthen the socioeconomic structures based in agriculture. But I don't see central to their plans the provision of family-centered and owned housing that will take care of children who have no family. We want to eliminate orphanages and "restaveks" (child servants/slaves). Too many programs leave it to good will, maybe even chance, or just to informal business coops and some other group will take care of other needs. Ownership is sustainability!Universal Education
Instead of orphanages and “scholarships” for some poor children, shouldn't families be part of a system that provides these basic rights? Without depending on charity? CHRH has schooling at the center, THE TALENT SCHOOL
(PDF), which is mandatory for all children paid for by the coop businesses. FOOD SELF-SUFFICIENCY requires a strong eco-friendly infrastructure, water purification, soil improvement, solar energy, machinery for joint crop management."MACRO" CREDIT: Is "Micro" Enough? - The Haitian Development Bank (BHD)
model has something that no one else seems to have thought of, or has tried to develop, a "macro credit" service. Our expert banking and business partner created a "coop" bank in 1999, 51% owned by coops so that major credit for establishing serious businesses like "eco-tourism" could be obtained. He built this bank with quake-resistant architecture. You can see this building still standing on 11.26.10 (photo by Gentilhomme/Hurah).
Unfortunately crooks caused the BHD to be shuttered in 2002 and nothing has replaced it. I wonder why? The "micro" credit movement has grown by leaps and bounds---with some problems like too high interest. But everyone I talk to says that for real development by impoverished populations there has to be a full financial services institution such as a chartered bank to service the cooperative market. Already more than 30 Haitian farmer cooperatives own such a bank in Haiti, the BHD.
Banks do exist, of course, commercial banks. But many people, as you can imagine, have problems with banks--even if all banks had good reputations! A commercially chartered bank --for profit-- controlled by local cooperatives is what is still needed today. THE BHD! With 51% ownership in the hands of coops. If the coop share holders are also the majority customers, they will see to it that their bank will invest its credit portfolio primarily in production via sound cooperative entities and will not get involved in either speculative transactions calling for abusive interest rates or practice any form of discrimination among its customers. Salary structures would be equitable and income will be used for the priority needs determined democratically. Also the minority non-coop customers would be protected from abuses because of the justice essence of cooperatives.
RE-OPEN THE BHD! On our side is a court order issued in 2006 that requires the Haitian government to reopen the BHD. The Préval government, no surprise, has not followed this judgment. Who is controlling the economic structures? This could also be because there are still some central government "banksters" around involved in the corruption causing the BHD's closure. There is also the $550,000 dollars they stole that must be returned, plus 10 year interest, to the BHD. These funds are not the small change of big bankers, but the hard earned pennies of farmers.Even charitable organizations haven't created such a bank.
Getting this court order implemented will require major campaigning among our international and Haitian friends. It will also prove embarrassing to a couple of the BHD members and their accomplices who are still around, those who rigged elections and ran off with the funds with the complicity of some directors of the Haitian Central Bank (BRH) to take over the BHD board of directors. If you are interested in working on this campaign, write me immediately: mailto://email@example.comCHRH THE COST? (click on PDF to get a copy of The Tour)
CHRH is national in scope and to rebuild Haiti along this model will take millions. This post is not a call for financial assistance. Rather it is an invitation to join the Haiti Rewired group, Coops For Human Rights There we will explore and hammer out the solutions to putting THE THIRD WAY into flesh and bones. THE TOUR is a year long trip through 14 cities in the US and Canada raising money through auctions of famous works by the co-creator with Picasso of Cubism, sculptor-painter, Georges Braque, of living artists of the emerging Creole cultures of the Americas, Africa and Europe as well as of works honoring the USA Diaspora artists who had to achieve their career heights in France during the Jim Crow years in the USA and the rise and fall of Nazism in Europe. The majority of funds will go to CHRH ($9million) and the rest to the “Teaching Ship”
project (click to learn about this replica of a slave ship ) based in Nantes, France, that will promote education for promoting harmony among all ethnic and racial groups using the slave trade history to prevent such tragic practices including child and women trafficking in our present day. A major partner in THE TOUR is the AMCC
(American Museum of Creole Cultures).THE TOUR
will have educational programs on the recognition of Human Rights examining all forms of bondage: from slavery to sweat shops and prostitution, Migration and Colonialism. Our CHRH will provide a real context for what remedies for slavery look like. Haiti, the first and the only state created by local enslaved rebels and human rights activists, the 2nd republic of the Americas, a flag bearer for Cultural Diversity: Peul, Woloff, Congo, Spanish, French, British, German, etc…and Human Dignity since its foundation in1804.
If you are interested in working on THE TOUR, write me immediately! firstname.lastname@example.org Don't forget: CHRH is not a dream but an already existing coalition of Haitian cooperatives that have been ready since the 1990's, who own their land and are committed to all the values presented in our documents. That includes helping quake refugees resettle permanently in the country. And the THIRD WAY needs lots more coops to partner together.
Tom Luce mailto://email@example.com