On 10/10/10, Haitian organization Konpay will be installing solar panels on its new Food and Fuel Alternatives Center to celebrate the Global Work Party.  The Food and Fuel Alternatives Center was created by a dynamic team of Haitian youth leaders and offers jobs training, economic development support for agriculture, and environmental education focused on forest resources management. The main goals of the new center will be to demonstrate alternatives to wood-fired charcoal as a fuel, such as solar and biodiesel – and of course, help rebuild the community and offer steps out of poverty after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010 and brutal hurricanes of 2008.  You can see more about their action here: https://350.org/node/18631.

We got to catch up with one of the main leaders of the center, Interview with Guypson Catalis, 2nd year Agronomy student and coordinator of the Food and Fuel Alternatives Center in Cyvadier, Haiti.

How did you get involved in the Food and Fuel Alternatives Center? What has been your inspiration?

The FFA was an idea of my friend Melinda Miles and mine. We knew that we had to produce food for the community after the storms of 2008 destroyed so many farms in the area. This center is an example of our organization's philosophy of collaboration. We work with farmers, we educate youth and everyone on the environment, we train people to use alternative fuels besides charcoal. We also look to build relationships with market women to provide more eggs in the community.

How did you get involved in 10/10/10, and what will they be doing that day?

Many of the activities at the FFA are run by the older kids in the youth program (Youth for the Development of Cyvadier). With their families, and with our neighbors we will have a night time event following the solar panel installation.

What message would he like to send to the other 6,000 organizers around the world who are organizing sustainability projects on 10/10/10?

This is a big deal – thank you for the effort. We must think about pollution. As you know, solar panels solve a lot of problems. We have to encourage people to use solar energy because electricity generated by engines contributes to pollution. I would like in Haiti a program where everyone who lives where the government electricity does not reach has a panel and two lamps.

What is your vision for the future of Haiti, and how does the center contribute to that?

The future of Haiti depends on what we do every day. The FFA teaches people about alternatives energies, provides eggs for food and a job,… something to help people change their circumstance. What makes me sad is when I see in Haiti things like a cash-for-work program where it isn't a job to make a better life. There are people who take advantage of the program if they know the director, because they will tell other people about the program and make them pay part of the compensation.

My vision for myself is that I will go to school in the US after I finish my 5 yr Agronomy program in Haiti. I want to help develop a national reforestation program, including things that we do locally, like we have production and distribution of rocket stoves and alternative briquettes, and working with farmers. 

For more climate movement news, follow 350 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram