Haitian Development Takes Account of Natural Resources
In April of 2002, FAVA/CA, along with USAID and the United States Embassy, hosted a workshop for members of the Haitian Diaspora. One result of that seminar is a plan to promote environmentally sensitive development in the southern region of Haiti.
When Alan Woolwich, an urban planner with Brevard County, met Dr. Aldy Castor, president of the Haitian Resource Development Foundation, at the seminar, the two of them began looking for ways to promote eco-tourism in the area and to lay the groundwork for a detailed plan for the town of Aquin.
In December, Woolwich was joined by marine photographer and specialist Tom Jackson of Key West and Sheila Mullins, former mayor of Key West, on a FAVA/CA mission to the area for the purposes of data collection and map making.
“We video graphed the area from the mountaintops to the coastal areas to the underwater reefs,” Woolwich said. “We also took digital photographs of the area and conducted field surveys of the town.”
The photos will be available on Castor’s website, www.hrdf.org , to promote eco-tourism. The video recording will also make future town planning easier.
“There are buildings there that are 250 to 300 years old. So historic preservation and restoration will be a big draw,” Woolwich said.
“This mission was of vital importance to the region,” Castor said. “Currently, a seaport and an airport are being built, but we were concerned about protecting both the marine and land environment. We found out we have some beautiful areas under the sea there, some beautiful coral reefs and exotic fish. It is one of the last natural reserves in the Caribbean and it is important that it be protected.”
Castor requested the assistance from FAVA/CA through the USAID-Haiti Regional Initiatives for the ongoing community and environmental planning efforts in the town of Aquin, located in the southern peninsula. The mission documented the natural resources of the area and will help provide an alternative to large-scale tourism by promoting eco-tourism, which is more sensitive to the environment.
“This is not the first time that FAVA/CA has sent volunteer experts to the area,” Castor said. “These volunteers are ambassadors. They put a human face on the assistance provided by the United States.”
This project is funded in part by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development.
Other Web Links for Haiti From 1991 to 2003 FAVACA has placed 218 volunteers in Haiti who trained 2145 individuals. The graph represents the percentage of volunteers by project type. The estimated value of FAVACA’s commitment and consulting investment in Haiti over the last 12 years is more than $2.5 million.