Mutual support and self-help are powerful tools, and Chavannes Jean-Baptiste has learned how to use them across his community to formidable effect – providing a whole range of essential services and helping to generate much-needed sustainable employment.
As a qualified agronomist-technician charged with the agriculture sector in the areas around Hinche, Jean-Baptiste first discovered his strengths as an organizer when he brought farmers from Bassin Zim together in the early 1970s to co-operate in improving their livelihoods.
That was the acorn from which Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP) grew in 1973, setting out a rolling five-year plan for the development of the area, which drew up a list of priorities and a timetable for how to achieve them. More than 40 years later, that system is still working effectively.
Today, MPP is a formidable organization comprising 4553 local groups across 100 separate zones. Its work has created an impressive 160 jobs. It runs a local health center and trains midwives. It provides technical courses on agriculture and water management. It focuses on training women and young people, with the aim of providing sustainable jobs.
To fund these projects, it has a network of micro-businesses, such as making jam, peanut butter, honey, and a range of other products, which is sold under the umbrella of KOSMIKA, Kombit Sèvo Men a Kè Ansanm. As a result, it can build new classrooms, pay children’s school fees and build homes for those who need them – benefitting the entire community through solidarity.