Haiti’s Young Agronomists
In this past fiscal year, SOIL hosted six interns in the agricultural department. The interns were all agriculture students at local universities who come to SOIL to fulfill their internship requirement during their last year of schooling. In SOIL’s agricultural intern program, students gain practical hands-on experience in lab work, research and compost production, and then design and execute an experiment with SOIL compost for their senior thesis.
We plan to host a whopping 14 new agricultural interns in 2015-2016! To better understand the potential impact of a SOIL internship, I talked to all the past interns to see what they’re up to now. Here’s what I found out:
We are happy that the agricultural intern Frantz now works full time as a SOIL employee after graduating from the Christian University of Northern Haiti! However, it’s not in the Agricultural Department as one would expect. He is actually working as our payment collector for our household toilet service “EkoLakay.” Although I was initially disappointed to see Frantz stray from agricultural work, I admit that I am completely thrilled to have him in the Administration Department! He is extremely competent and hard-working, and has made all of our lives much easier. His nickname in the office is “Ti Lajan” or “Small Change” since he always has lots of small bills after payment collection.
And thank you to our supporters who helped us to buy a new motorcycle for Frantz to collect payments! The motorcycle he had before was hurting his back, but he’s much more comfortable now.
Julien graduated from the University of Roi Henry Christophe (URHC) and is working in an agricultural partnership with USAID/Avanse distributing plantain plants across the countryside. He also has his own personal farm that he works on with Marckindy, SOIL’s Agricultural Research Assistant.
“Julien works hard. I’m glad that we’ve continued collaborating together on our farm,” said Marckindy.
After graduating from URHC, Emmanuel started his own agricultural enterprise, focusing on plantain plants. He has not yet obtained his license, which involves writing a final research-based thesis, but he hopes to focus the thesis on SOIL compost.
Studying at University of Polyvalan D’Ayiti (UPH), Kettelyne is finishing her degree in Agriculture with a focus on Natural Resources. She was recently married and her husband studies Agriculture as well. They want to write their theses on the effects of SOIL compost. After her agricultural internship with SOIL, she learned how to construct replicates of our ferro cement toilet model, and we’ve been seeing her a lot as their construction skills are winning her contracts with us to build more toilets!
Kettelyne said “The SOIL internship helped me so much. It also helps my school since other students have the chance to get hands-on experience with SOIL. It can be hard for students to get experience in the field, which is so important for an understanding of agriculture. I was really struck by the professionalism of the SOIL office as well- I didn’t expect to learn so much about professionalism.”
Like Kettelyne, Carol is finishing her degree in Agriculture with a focus on Natural Resources at UPH. She too has learned to construct ferro cement toilets for SOIL. We’re happy to see her around often.
“I was able to put all of the theory in to practice through my internship. I hope that SOIL continues to take more interns from my university.”
Stanley is finishing school at the University of Limbe (UCRHC) and is preparing to defend his thesis. He wrote his thesis on a cabbage experiment that he completed using several dosages of SOIL compost. He found that the Golden variety of cabbage is a big fan of SOIL compost!
“I felt very comfortable at SOIL. My university really appreciated how this internship oriented me in my work.”
SOIL will be celebrating 10 years of working in Haiti in July 2016. We’ve had a big impact over this time, but we have even bigger dreams for the years ahead. As we move into our 10th year, we invite you to join us in celebrating the successes and building our dreams for the future by helping us reach $10,000 in monthly donations. Our monthly givers provide a stable yet flexible source of funding so that SOIL can deal with all of the unanticipated challenges and roadblocks that come with working in Haiti.
To help us meet this goal in time for our 10th anniversary, we have received a special grant to encourage YOU to give monthly! The grant will match new and increased monthly donations – so your donation of $5 a month becomes $10 per month, or $50 becomes $100 per month – doubling your impact through January 31, 2018!