Food Aid 2.0

Food Aid 2.0: Transforming NGO food aid to support local Haitian agriculture and economy.

San Diego, United StatesGressier, Haiti
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Food aid needs a makeover and NGOs have the ability to lead the way. Modern food aid can foster dependency, is inefficient, and can have negative effects on local agriculture. Food Aid 2.0 will provide a service for Haitian NGOs to transition to more efficient and effective food aid.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if... food aid was more time and resource efficient while improving local agriculture and economy?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Food aid has been criticized for fostering dependency, being inefficient, and negatively affecting local agriculture. Haiti has experienced these shortfalls personally; orphans rely on food aid to survive, emergency food arrives too late, and donated rice competes with local rice production. The root cause stems from importing the food aid from the donor country and the lack of an alternative option to produce equivalent meals in Haiti.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The solution is to provide a service to non-government organizations (NGOs) to procure food aid in-country. This alternative option to importing meals can be done at a cheaper price, will reach the targeted locations faster, supports local agriculture and improves the local economy. In Haiti, NGOs import a rice and soy based meal that contains dried vegetables and a vitamin pack. Food Aid 2.0 has developed an equivalently nutritious meal with all locally grown products; rice, beans, vegetables, and vitamin rich leaves. Now, Food Aid 2.0 will need to invest time and resources into scaling up the production of this meal to provide a locally produced food aid option to NGOs working in Haiti.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

After an extremely severe drought from March-June 2015, Haitian farmers in Gressier lost 80% of their crops and were left food insecure. These families didn't have the quantity of food typically available nor the financial capability to purchase food since agriculture is their primary source of income. An NGO that has spent $1,000,000 importing food aid to Haiti invested just $500 to purchase locally produced food aid meals. This alone provided 2,000 meals, 8 local jobs to unemployed families, and supported the farmers and the vendors selling the products in the markets. These meals provided 50 families enough supplemental food for a month. Now imagine the impact of this NGO if all $1,000,000 were locally produced meals!!

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

To date, Food Aid 2.0 has developed an equivalent food aid meal that is 100% locally produced in Haiti, trained one Haitian assemblage team, and initiated the implementation phase with a 2,000 meal distribution. For every $1,000 spent to purchase local food aid, approximately $600 buys the ingredients from local farmers and $400 creates jobs to assemble the meal. Therefore, 100% of the funds stay in the hands of the Haitian people. Supporting the local economy is extremely important because Haiti has enough food to feed itself, but people lack the financial capacity to purchase the food. In 2016, Food Aid 2.0 will need to invest time and resources into training more Haitian teams to increase the capacity of meals that can be produced and to spread the benefits to other communities in Haiti. We desire to have the capacity to produce 40,000 meals per week with five teams by 2017.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

By 2020, Food Aid 2.0 desires to have trained Haitian teams strategically spread across the country that can produce over 500,000 meals per week. This will be accomplished with 20 teams, each with the capacity to assemble 25,000 meals per week. NGOs will be able procure food aid through this network to respond quickly and efficiently to any food insecurity. Haiti, a country known for receiving food aid, will even have the potential to produce and export meals to other countries in need through this network. After established in Haiti, the project can be replicated in other countries as well.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

This project is financially sustainable because it is designed to require a minimal overhead to keep running. After teams are trained to assemble the local food aid, all funds are directed towards assembling the meals. Therefore, the cost to run the project is embedded into the cost NGOs pay per meal. External funding will be used to train more teams and increase the capacity of meals that can be assembled.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The World Food Program (WFP) addresses the same issue by procuring the majority of their food aid meals locally. Although, WFP receives the majority of it's funding through governments and do not work with small to medium NGOs. Therefore, Food Aid 2.0 is looking to provide a service for a different target audience. Also, this project ensures that 100% of the food procured is grown locally and not imported. Food Aid 2.0 takes purchasing local a step further because the vitamin pack is 100% locally produced. At the moment, no other group has a comparable product to this vitamin pack.
Team

Founding Story

After 3 months in Haiti, Connor and Bryce started picking up Creole and building relationships in the community. During this time, they got to know Wilnor's family the quickest. A hot afternoon they were sitting around with Wilnor's family practicing Creole and chatting about project ideas. Typically, most ideas were turned down by Wilnor with a very polite version of "there is no way that could work here" but this time it was different. As they explained how they wanted to produce food aid meals locally, Wilnor and his family got very interested. Even his quiet, wise father started expressing his support. Seeing their enthusiasm, the team realized there was good potential for this project.

Team

Bryce Rauterkus, at the age of 24, is the project coordinator and co-founder. With nine months in Haiti, he is fluent in Creole and has a heart for the Haitian people. After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara he has had experience conducting independent research and leading an agroecology project in Haiti. Bryce takes on the coordination of the project and has a knack for bringing the right people together to make ideas become a reality. Connor McClelland is the team's agronomist and co-founder. Connor is 25 and graduated from Kansas University. He has designed the local meal with all local products to be comparable to an imported rice/soy based meal. He is also fluent in Creole and is a lead agronomist for an agroecology project in Haiti. Connor takes on the agriculturally related tasks: finding potential local products, storing products so they conserve, processing the products, etc. Wilnor Montis is the team's most valuable member. He is a 24 year old Haitian that was born into extreme poverty and supports his family through farming. Wilnor's family lost their home in the 2010 earthquake but it hasn't stopped them from enjoying life. Wilnor adapts ideas to work in the Haitian culture. He is responsible for telling the team what can and cannot work since he knows best. He leads the first assembly team and will train the following teams as the project grows. These three members make up the core of the team and have proven to work seamlessly together. The team is supported by an NGO, Friends Family and Community Connection, and has the support from advisers at American universities, other NGOs, and respected Haitians within their community.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Online. YPARD.

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-founder Food Aid 2.0

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

In seventh grade, Bryce won third place in the county's invention convention and grew up running small businesses, from washing boats to building and selling skateboard ramps. More recently, he and Connor have designed and started an agroecology project for Friends and Family Community Connection, a not-for-profit organization based out of California. They have also been working out the logistics for an organic fertilizer/pesticide business that can create jobs in Haiti and export products to US farmers. Wilnor has learned how to make money in agriculture (a huge challenge in Haiti) by analyzing which crops can make the most in which seasons. He has also has picked up a variety of other skills, like masonry, to make things meet for his family.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

-Friends and Family Community Connection (FFCC) a 501(3)c not-for-profit based out of San Diego, California. FFCC's director, Phil Harris, and the board have supported this team through other projects in Haiti and will continue to provide support.
-Kansas State University- Connor's connections with professors have provided the team technical and agricultural support when needed.
-University of California System- Bryce has made strong connections to professors at UCSB, UC Davis and UC Berkeley. These professors have provided advice and support in their respected fields of expertise.
-Haiti's Minister of Agriculture has supported Bryce and Connor's work in Haiti and is expected to continue to support their work in the country.
-The community of Gressier Haiti (where the team is based) has provided tremendous support and advice for this project.