John O’Malley Burns has been volunteering selflessly in Haiti  for the past four years. His commitment? Working with smallholder  mango farmers to ensure they receive more of the value of their crops and are encouraged to plant and nurture more trees. The fledgling Mouvman Moun Mango (also known as 3M) program was just starting to make progress. Thanks to farmers' hard work and sales of Fair Trade Certified™  mangoes through Whole Foods Market , farmers throughout five different rural regions in Haiti got a bonus at Christmas time. This was meant to help them hold out for better (Fair Trade !) prices during the harvest season and avoid pre-selling their entire crop to middlemen at very low prices.
But the financial, technical, and organizational capacity of these groups was extremely fragile - even before the earthquake. Now, without help to rebuild infrastructure and train leaders, particularly where there have been casualties, the whole program is at risk of collapse.
John writes to us, describing the aftermath of the earthquake: “Downtown Port-au-Prince  has been reduced in population by a third or half. Families are still trying to get in touch and find the one or two unaccounted-for people. Communities are working together to organize their own clean up. Tent cities  have sprung up on all available open land and few people have gone back indoors to sleep. They construct shelter made of poles and repurposed wood from the rubble - using quilts, sheets, and cardboard as doors.”
He goes on to reflect “After so many years I continue to be amazed by the resilience of the people dealing with the worst of catastrophes. There is an extraordinary opportunity here to bring this economically and socially fractured country together around the common and uniting goal of rebuilding after the quake. How can we make the coming change a lasting change to get the country back to better than it was?”
If you would like to support the effort to build an equitable, sustainable, mango-tree-filled Haiti, please visit http://www.eco-ventures.org/content/view/108/92/  to make a tax-deductible donation via Eco-Ventures, and please remember to specify donated funds are to be directed to Mouvman Moun Mango or 3M. Checks should be addressed: EcoVentures International c/o Lauren Frederic, 1519 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 200 Washington DC 20036. Thank you for supporting the rebuilding of Haiti.