The long-term vision of the WINNER (Watershed Initiative For National Environmental Resources) program was: "People living within targeted corridors will have sustainably increased incomes, driven by agricultural development, reduced threat from flooding, and a stronger private sector. Their experience will serve as a model approach to replicate both within and beyond the targeted corridors".
To facilitate farmer training, UF/IFAS worked with WINNER to develop five Rural Centers for Sustainable Development/CRDD’s (CRDD is the abbreviation in French). CRDDs are training, applied research and demonstration centers – with some offering laboratory tests for soil, water and plant diagnostics - set up in collaboration with either the Haitian government or private entities. These training centers provided thousands of training sessions and guided visits to farmers.
Launched in 2009, WINNER was a five-year, $126 million USAID program (implemented with partner Chemonics International) managed mostly by Haitians, and built on a network of over 25 farmers’ associations in conjunction with the government and others to form public-private partnerships (PPPs). As of 2013, five PPPs, reaching about 2,000 households, had been implemented. By the Fall of 2012, Haitian farmlands in the target areas yielded 0.8 metric tons of harvested beans – a 12% increase over previous years.
An important component of the WINNER project was the long-term training of eight Haitian students (2 women and 6 men). In early 2010, eight Haitian professionals were identified, and granted scholarships by USAID/WINNER to complete a Master of Science program at the University of Florida. All eight students successfully completed their coursework, and defended their theses. Two of the scholarship grantees graduated in 2012; the remaining six graduated in Spring 2013. Following commencement, the graduates returned to Haiti to continue their careers, taking home the skills and expertise acquired during their studies at the University of Florida.
|Student||1st Year of Study||Home Department||Major Professor|
|Joseph Beneche||2011||Agricultural and Biological Engineering||Christopher Martinez, Ph.D.|
|Arthur Bonicet||2011||Horticultural Sciences||Steve A. Sargent, Ph.D.|
|Ronald Cademus||2011||School of Natural Resources and Environment||Francisco Escobedo, Ph.D.|
|Marie Saint Martin Francois||2011||School of Natural Resources and Environment||Andrew Kane, Ph.D.|
|Lidwine Hyppolite||2011||Agricultural and Biological Engineering||Art Texiera, Ph.D.|
|Isnel Pierreval||2011||Food and Resource Economics||John VanSickle, Ph.D.|
|Dakson Sanon||2011||Horticultural Sciences||Danielle Treadwell, Ph.D.|
|Reginald Toussaint||2011||School of Natural Resources and Environment||Ann Wilkie, Ph.D.|
From 2009 – 2014, more than 35 UF/IFAS faculty from various academic units and UF/IFAS Research & Education Centers traveled to Haiti and provided technical assistance to the WINNER program. All eight students graduated by May 2013. In recognition of this significant achievement, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, Ms. Pamela A. White, attended their May 2013 commencement and provided the Opening Address at the invitation of the University of Florida.
WINNER is funded by USAID. For more on USAID, visit https://www.usaid.gov/.