CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) invests in leading Haitian social enterprise Acceso Haiti to further their joint work of creating economic opportunity and improving the lives of Haitian smallholder farmers
Acceso Haiti brings years of experience tackling rural poverty in the Central Plateau through comprehensive and effective agricultural training and input programs, and linking thousands of smallholder farmers to formal, stable markets to sell their crops so they can work themselves out of poverty with dignity. Since 2017, CORE and Acceso Haiti have partnered on the development of new high impact initiatives to solve poverty focusing on community building and environmental resilience through rural reforestation. CORE’s equity investment of 20 percent in Acceso Haiti builds upon their successful partnership and will further this work.
Acceso Haiti background
Acceso Haiti is a social enterprise founded by leading social agribusiness builder in Latin America and the Caribbean, Acceso (meaning “access” in Spanish). Acceso Haiti is dedicated towards creating lasting economic change in the lives of rural smallholder farming families and improving food security, and has been working in Haiti since 2014. Acceso Haiti works along the whole value chain between farmers and markets, impacting more than 7,400 farmers in Haiti through training, the distribution of inputs including seeds, nursery management, and formal market connections. This includes the sale of 1.7 metric tons of locally grown peanuts to local and international buyers. Acceso Haiti also works on broader food ecosystem development, operating a locally sourced feeding program reaching 4,000 children daily with 1.5 million nutrition snacks to date in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Acceso Haiti has also successfully planted over 1.7 million seedlings as part of its market-linked reforestation activities and has developed one of the few successful export products, Lavi Spicy Peanut Butter, for sale in the U.S. and Canada, fully produced in Haiti and sourced from Haitian smallholder farmers.
Acceso Haiti and CORE partnership
In partnership with CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) Acceso Haiti has expanded into moringa leaf and seed production, specifically through training, demonstration plots, and seedlings for farmers. By introducing moringa trees to farmers who traditionally grew peanuts, farmers are now able to harvest between peanut seasons which improves their soil quality and productivity. Farmers also increase their revenue generating assets: trees and micro-orchards.
CORE’s reforestation program in Haiti, Haiti Takes Root, is a coalition of organizations, including the World Bank, aiming to strengthen the climate resilience of Haitian communities by building capacity and coordination for reforestation and natural resource management, using an integrated, sustainable, and people-centered approach.
The acquisition of an equity stake in Acceso Haiti is CORE’s first impact investment and an exciting step for the organization to build on their past work in Haiti and continue to support Acceso Haiti’s highly impactful model.
Ann Lee, CEO of CORE, commented, “We value Acceso Haiti’s partnership and the expertise that they bring through their pioneering social enterprise model. We are proud to support and work with them towards improving livelihoods of rural Haitians and alleviating poverty while tackling climate challenges through reforestation.”
“We are grateful to CORE for their partnership in Haiti and their ongoing critical role supporting Covid-19 relief in the U.S. In Haiti, we have seen through our work that additional crops can greatly increase farmer incomes, reduce poverty, and allow them to invest in their families’ well-being. We believe the innovative approach we are jointly taking to tackle deforestation while generating long-term income streams for farmers are the most innovative solutions to boosting rural development in Haiti,” said Frank Giustra, founder of Acceso.
Acceso Haiti has bold plans to continue scaling its work in Haiti to reach more farmers, particularly through the deployment of the region’s most advanced agritech solution (specifically digital/SMS communication that supplements in-field training), expanding its processing capacities to become a leading exporter of products sourced from Haitian farmers including moringa, and doubling its locally-sourced school feeding program to reach 8,000 students daily with nutritious meals.
Acceso’s receipt of CORE’s investment was facilitated by USAID’s Haiti INVEST program through its transaction advisor CrossBoundary. The goal of Haiti INVEST is to lower transaction costs, overcome information barriers and promote investment in Haiti that achieves economic growth and other development outcomes.
CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), formerly J/P Haitian Relief Organization, is a nonprofit organization co-founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee that is dedicated to saving lives and strengthening marginalized communities affected by or vulnerable to crisis. Within hours of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Sean Penn mobilized a powerful network to take immediate action. More than 10 years later, the organization continues to lead sustainable programs focused on four pillars: emergency relief, disaster preparedness, environmental resiliency and community building. CORE works in Haiti with a team of 150+ Haitian employees rebuilding and re-imagining communities every day. CORE established the Haiti Takes Root Initiative in collaboration with the Parker Foundation, the World Bank, and the Government of France, which strives to improve communities’ resilience to climate change by reducing environmental degradation and promoting agroforestry. The organization has expanded beyond Haiti to support communities in The Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the United States. CORE has taken a leadership position in the COVID-19 response and is committed to an integrated approach, the CORE 8, which is inclusive of expanded testing, community-based contact tracing and quarantine support services. The organization has administered 4.7 million free tests across dozens of test sites across the nation, with a focus on serving low-income groups, communities of color, first responders and essential workers. In 2021, CORE is working with its partners nationwide to ensure safe and equitable distribution of vaccines as they become available to the communities the organization serves. More information: www.coreresponse.org/covid19 and follow CORE on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
We value Acceso Haiti’s partnership and the expertise that they bring through their pioneering social enterprise model. We are proud to support and work with them towards improving livelihoods of rural Haitians and alleviating poverty while tackling climate challenges through reforestation.– Ann Lee, co-founder and CEO of CORE