#caribbinstitute (The Caribbean Institute, TCI) has partnered with @TreesThatFeed (the Trees That Feed Foundation, TTFF) to strengthen our support of women in southern Haiti who are recovering from the devastation wreaked by hurricane Matthew. You can call it the Breadfruit for Data Partnership: TTFF is contributing two hundred breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) seedlings every month to TCI’s program, and reciprocally TCI’s Field Agents will help TTFF track the progress of trees that TTFF has distributed in the area.
There are three reasons why TCI’s tree tracking system is attractive. The first is our reach. We are building extensive coverage and good logistics. Since its Christmas distribution initiative, which was supported by concerned donors, TCI has been working hard to extend its reach to hundreds of women in every single community in Haiti’s Grand’Anse province. This is a major logistical undertaking given that the Grand’Anse has Haiti’s most difficult terrain, worst roads, and remotest communities. The second reason is impact: Our expansion phase of the fruit tree distribution program will now impact 18,000 people over the province, and the program has a purpose beyond fruit: our Field Agents are local female agronomists who reach our beneficiaries through local women’s associations, strengthening communities and women’s resilience as they work. Thirdly, technology: our Field Agents upload the data they collect through local cellphone systems so that we can download and analyze the data in real time. This cheap, highly mobile system reduces costs and ensures that our management decisions are driven by empirical data. Our seedlings are very important to the beneficiaries and are financed by small gifts made to TCI by private individuals, so the survival of every tree is extremely important, and we have to account for each one.
The Breadfruit for Data Partnership has another dimension, one that our donors will appreciate: in addition to financing the gift of a fruit tree and follow-up support to ensure its survival, each $7 gift now is now matched with a breadfruit seedling. Not bad, considering that a single breadfruit tree can feed a family of four for 40 years!