Spotlight on Les Cayes, Haiti: Food Security and Nutrition Programs Make a Difference

English Zero Hunger Logo.jpgThrough 17 newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals, all countries have pledged to work together to End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture (Goal 2). Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are already working on this goal in Haiti. Notre Dame Family Education Center (NDFEC) serves 90 children and 60 adults in the impoverished neighborhood of La Savane on the outskirts of Les Cayes. Directed by Sister Jeannette Pierre-Louis, NDFEC is supported by Notre Dame Mission Volunteers ( Haitian volunteer-teachers, adult professional volunteers, and regular youth volunteers.

As reported by Caitlin Clarke, ND Mission Volunteer, streets in La Savane are unpaved, houses are made fromLa Savane - children in classroom.jpg salvaged materials, water must be obtained from wells in the streets, and no municipal latrine system is in place. Unemployment and illiteracy rates hover around 80%, and 60% of the children are unable to afford school fees so they drop out before 6th grade. One of the reasons childhood malnutrition rates are so high in La Savane (80% of children eat only one meal a day) is unemployment; parents are unable to afford more than one meal a day for their children.

NDFEC ( has three programs that focus on food security and nutrition:

  • NDFEC’s St. Julie Youth Group started a garden on an acre of land outside of Les Cayes. In October they harvested seventy-five pounds of corn which was distributed in one- or two-pound bags to 40 members of the center, and used to provide two hot meals to the children (about 60 children served). The youth group then planted black beans and vegetables to be harvested and distributed among the youth group and families at the center.
  • NDFEC is developing a local community garden at the center. Facilitated by ND Mission Volunteers and children who attend the center, the garden will provide food and nutrition education and enable children to learn how to grow their own food in an urban setting.
  • To bolster employment and generate income, NDFEC will open a community bakery to give a means of employment for 20 families at the center and provide an affordable food source to the community. Profits of the bakery will be re-invested in the community via the micro-finance and scholarship programs available at NDFEC.


By Grace Amarachi Ezeonu, Intern in the SNDatUN Office, and SNDatUN delegate to the 8th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)  

Amarachi Grace Ezeonu“Creating a conducive environment which supports the realization of the full developmental potential of international migration and migrants is one of the key concerns of the 2015 Global Forum on Migration and Development. International migration has become a force for the economic, social, and cultural development of both the countries of origin and of destination of migrants. To fully harness the enormous possibilities of human mobility for sustainable development, a suitable policy framework for the protection of migrants must be put in place at the national, regional and global levels. This requires the partnership, cooperation and concerted efforts of all stakeholders including civil society organizations (CSOs), governments, and the private sector.

handsPerspectives from CSOs on the different topics for discussion during this forum would be invaluable to addressing the complexities of international migration and migrants. This dialogue is necessary because CSOs can provide their hands-on experience through work with migrants in different situations globally. As in the previous forums, I trust that CSOs will continue to be persistent in their advocacy for systemic change in policies at all levels to ensure that the human rights (especially labor and social rights) of migrants are protected. I am delighted to represent the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at this crucial global forum, along with 300 other participants from various CSOs around the world, and look forward to the opportunity to learn and network with others.”


By Ines Prisca Bikindou, SNDdeN      “I work at St. Julie Billiart Hospital in Ngidinga, Democratic Republic of Congo, as an accountant and cashier. It is my first experience in this town where the population is predominantly poor, so that to pay for hospitalization is really hard. The political situation is sad, the majority of the population poor, the wages they receive cannot reach the end of the month, and to the east of the country there is always war, so we live in total insecurity. But God who is good always protects us. Despite the situation of life, God gives us the courage to move forward and we do not lose confidence that what we create is stronger.”


“Social protection refers to a set of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty, vulnerability, and inequality. The UN takes a rights-based approach to social protection within the context of the Social Protection Floor (SPF) framework, which promotes universal access to essential social services and transfers along the life course.” With these challenging words the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, a coalition of more than 70 organizations, launched its proposal that governments adopt a first level of basic social protection for all and then improve the quality of protection as soon as possible. Some countries are already doing this with good programs that others could adapt to their situations.

Social ProtectionWhat needs to be included? Essential health care; nutrition, education, and care for children; income security for older persons and for active persons unable to work.


If I walk with the poor today, I may find a new person in me tomorrow.


A recent report by the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo indicates that legislation passed on the national level in various countries, including the United States, is helping to curb illegal activities in eastern Congo.  Individuals are making a difference too.  The Enough Project shares that “actor and activist Jeffrey Wright’s mining company, Taia Lion Resources, is helping take the conflict out of conflict minerals. His company’s approach in Sierra Leone has parallels for eastern Congo, where the fight to control the lucrative minerals trade is fueling the world’s deadliest war.”

Watch Jeffrey Wright’s compelling 3-minute video >  (in English)

Jeffrey Wright

Photo: Wikipedia

Related article:

Jeffrey Wright: Creating Conflict-Free Companies for the 21st Century (


Meditations and Devotions on the Millennium Development Goals Meditations and Devotions on the Millennium Development Goals
by Rev. Liberato Bautista

 Reflections from 150 persons around the world


On the occasion of World Water Day in March, an NGO briefing entitled “H2 Uh-O: The Rights and Wrongs of Water in Rio+20” focused on issues around fairness and sustainability with regard to water. During preliminary negotiations on the Rio+20 draft some countries are asking to replace the words “right to water” with “right to access to water”. But simple access to water is not enough – water must also be affordable, and people have a right to access and affordability. Some countries like Colombia have even spelled out the human right to water in their constitutions.

Nations which cooperate in regards to waters they share, as Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal do with their shared Senegal River, are models for others. Many NGOs are concerned that privatization of water may block distributive justice since the market tends to focus on economic profit rather than environmental protection and equitable use of resources. “If the wars of the twentieth century were fought over oil, the wars of this century will be fought over water.”  Ismail Serageldin, former vice-president of the World Bank

Anyone who solves the problem of water deserves not one Nobel Prize but two –
one for science and the other for peace.
John F. Kennedy


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