Bill Clinton And Richard Branson To Launch Haiti Forest Initiative
The Clinton Foundation, Virgin Unite and Yunus Social Business have teamed up to re-forest Haiti. The three entity's, backed by three of the world's most influential men, former US President Bill Clinton, billionaire Richard Branson and microfinance creator and peace prize winner Mohammed Yunus, seek not just to replant what has been lost over the past 500 years, but to provide employment, timber, and food while creating a model for programs that can bring positive change to the country. The initiative, called Haiti Forest, has the promise of ten thousand hectares of land from the Agriculture and Environment Ministries in the Artibonite and northern regions of Haiti, and is said to be a Social Business, promoting social benefit over privatized profiteering.
At the launch of Haiti Forest, the three men made speeches mentioning the importance of the project in not only answering the financial need for development in Haiti, but also the social, environmental needs to be met by this project. It will create 'sustainable livelihoods in Haiti,' Branson said, but will also deal with Haiti's deforestation problem, reduce charcoal usage by implementing other sources for fuel, and address Haiti's need to rely on imported food.
The pilot program will be the culmination of a six-month planning and preparation study that will incorporate rural communities and the view of the peasant farmer to determine the crops and trees most needed to be planted. It will also work with the government to determine suitable land for the reforestation and energize the wider communities and their leaders to join in on the worthwhile project as, after half-a-century of deforestation, arable land in Haiti has been lost to devastating erosion.
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