Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests for Haiti

Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests for Haiti

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Maya Nut "food forests" will provide food, jobs and income for Haitian women and their families. Maya Nut (Brosimum alicastrum) is a drought resistant, delicious and nutritious rainforest tree which provided a staple food for hunter-gatherers throughout the neotropics. The seed is as nutritious as soy and the leaves are excellent high protein fodder for goats, cows, pigs and turkeys.

About You
The Equilibrium Fund
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Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



, XX

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


Organization Name

The Equilibrium Fund

Organization Phone


Organization Address

PO Box 2371

Organization Country

, CO

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, GA

What makes your innovation unique?

We are the only organization in the world working with Maya Nut to rescue the lost traditional knowledge about it for food and fodder.

Our work differs from conventional agricultural development in that we motivate communities to plant "food forests", where traditionally communities have had to choose between food or forests, because these are mutually exclusive when depending on annual crops.

Maya Nut is a massive, native, perennial tree which thrives in marginal soils and produces copious amounts of nutritious, delicious seed, even during droughts. It has virtually no pest problems and lives for more than 100 years, providing a reliable source of food with no inputs and minimal labor requirements.

Maya Nut is a multipurpose tree, providing fuel, ecosystem services, food and fodder. Haitian women have been processing raw Maya Nut into a coffee substitute, which is rapidly gaining popularity in rural areas because of its health benefits and delicious taste.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests (HKHF)will establish 20,000 Breadnut trees, provide jobs for 100 women and 50 men, and Breadnut-based school lunches for 2,000 children. Haiti is in dire need of nutritious food, jobs and sources of income for rural families and Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests provides these things in an integrated package which can be easily managed by rural Haitians regardless of their education or land ownership. After 5 years, these food forests will produce more than 30,000lb/hectare/year of nutritious, delicous Breadnut with very little expense for the community.

HKHF will provide Breadnut seed for rural women to process into flour for inclusion in school lunches and to sell for income. This provides CAPACITY BUILDING for women and permits them to innovate and develop their own processing methods and recipes, empowering them and improving their self-esteem. The women's microenterprises will provide Breadnut-based school lunches to 10 schools, improving the nutritional status of at least 2000 Haitian children. Each participating school will plant at least 2,000 Breadnut trees to sustain the program and the community in the future. These "food forests" will also serve to protect vital community water sources, soils, biodiversity and will provide a critical source of fuelwood for cooking and fodder for goats and other livestock. In this way, HKHF ensures the long-term impact of the initial investment.

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests addresses the 3 pillars of sustainability: ECONOMIC, ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL. Haiti is fraught with unemployment, poverty and malnutrition and is highly dependent on external food aid. HKHF addresses all these problems in a single integrated program which can be implemented in rural communities with minimal outside interference. This permits a high level of community "ownership" and pride in the results.

ECONOMIC- alleviates poverty by creating jobs and income for rural women
ENVIRONMENTAL- establishes "food forests" which provide food and habitat for biodiversity, while also providing fuelwood and fodder and ecosystem services
SOCIAL-creating dignified jobs and income for women results in improved conditions for the entire family. establishing Breadnut forests in Haiti improves food security and food sovereignty, reducing dependence on foreign aid and intervention, improving psychological conditions for rural Haitians.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?

We are ensuring that Haitian women are spearheading the project by focusing more on process than results. Thus far, women are learning to process the Breadnut seed into flour and are inventing their own processing techniques and recipes using Breadnut.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

2011- 20,000 Breadnut trees established in ten communities. 200 rural women trained to process, package and sell Breadnut products. 2000 children eat Breadnut lunches at least twice/week in school.

2012-50,000 Breadnut trees established in 10 new communities. 500 rural women trained to process, package and sell Breadnut products. 5,000 children eat Breadnut lunches at least twice/week in school.

2013- 50,000 Breadnut trees established in 10 new communities. 500 more rural women trained to process, package and sell Breadnut products. 5,000 children eat Breadnut lunches at least twice/week in school.

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?


If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

We expect HKHF to become a publicly endorsed Lunch Program, implemented by the Ministry of Education by 2015. We will do this by diligently documenting the impact of Breadnut consumption on children's health and school performance.

What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Operating for less than a year

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

We have several partners in Haiti, including CONEOB and AMURT. We cannot accomplish our goals without partnerships, because nothing can be accomplished alone. Partnerships enable us to do more with less.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

Approximately 250 words left (2000 characters).

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

in 2007 when we were working with women Breadnut producers in Guatemala trying to determine a way to avoid exporting Breadnut to the USA because Guatemala needs it more than America. We came up with the school lunch idea, because that is a massive market and its local and very appealing to rural women Breadnut producers. That was the defining moment.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Erika Vohman has worked with Breadnut (aka Maya Nut, Brosimum alicastrum) for 17 years. She has started programs in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and El Salvador and is now interested in Haiti. She and her team of trainers have taught more than 14,000 women from 800 rural communities about the nutrition and uses of Breadnut and as a result of these trainings, 14 women's microenterprises have formed to market Breadnut. We hope that all of these enterprises can soon provide Breadnut products for school lunches instead of exporting Breadnut around the world.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

If through another source, please provide the information