March 28, 2016: How the GOALS bakery creates new opportunities
Bossan is a rural, poor and vulnerable area where GOALS has worked since 2011. Families subsist on fishing and agriculture, with little opportunity for formal employment. Like many places in Haiti, food security is a challenge as resources are scarce, and children often go to bed hungry at night. But children can’t grow, play or learn on an empty stomach. Providing food to GOALS participants is a critical part of our work.
After a particularly busy hurricane season in 2012, roads into the village were twice flooded so badly that villagers were completely cut off for days. No one could make it into town to find food at the local markets. GOALS responded to calls for help, leading UN military into the region to distribute food and clean water. Children and adults braved the storm to come receive as much bread as we were able to pack into the UN vehicles which could make the trek.
GOALS staff identified this as a significant problem and chose to address it by creating a local bakery, which would serve a critical economic need, beyond providing locally produced food and increasing food security in the region.
Bread is a simple and cheap staple of the Haitian diet (along side rice, beans, and plantains) and is often the only meal children and rural farmers can afford for breakfast. While a meal of rice and beans costs about $1, a large roll costs about $0.10, and makes for a popular breakfast, along with locally produced peanut butter or a banana,and is affordable for nearly all. Haitian children are often sent to school with the coins needed to buy bread along the way.
But in Bossan, with no place to purchase bread, families commuted to the city, spending precious means on transport costs rather than food. Bringing bread directly to the village eliminates this extra cost, allowing families to maximize their food budgets.
GOALS decided to call our bakery the “BOUL’anjri” with an apostrophe because BOUL in Haitian Creole means “ball” or, usually, “soccer ball” and “boulanjri” is the word for bakery. We have a soccer bakery, so it is a BOUL’anjri!”
At GOALS, our mission is to make daily life easier, while helping to shape a better future. This what we work for every day: Healthy, nourished children who gain confidence on the soccer field and have the opportunity to grow up and make their communities a better place.
The GOALS bakery promotes local food consumption, reduces transport costs for rural villagers, provides food for GOALS children, and, in a region with widespread unemployment, it provides GOALS youth an opportunity to learn critical job skills and increase their future employability.
The bakery employs four staff, and 10-15 people purchase bread in bulk to resell for a profit daily. Surveys estimate that those with a formal income in Haiti provide for 8-10 family members, which means roughly 200 people directly benefit from the income the bakery generates.
GOALS is dedicated to increasing environmental stewardship. Food insecurity stems from many factors in Haiti, but one contributor is reliance on cheap imported food from over the border in the Dominican Republic. These cheap imports, such as eggs, ketchup, and spaghetti undermine the Haitian economy and the Haitian farmer. Food security will never be possible in Haiti without a population who both can and will support itself with domestically produced foods, and growing the market for bread baked in Haiti from locally milled flour is a step in this direction.
About the GOALS Community Bakery:
- Most families subsist on $2 a day, but a serving of rice and beans costs about $1
- Extreme weather floods roads, isolating rural communities for days at a time
- Food is expensive and labor intensive, and many children in go to school hungry
- Imported food undermines the Haitian economy and local farmers
- Families spend $1.25 to go to the city to buy food
- GOALS spent nearly 10% of all programmatic expenses on food in 2014-2015
- Provides formal jobs for four employees
- Creates an informal income for 15-20 GOALS parents who buy and resell in bulk
- Bread is cheap: A large roll costs about 10 cents and makes for an affordable breakfast, along with locally produced peanut butter
- Offers work experience and job skills training to GOALS youth
- Provides an inexpensive and local food source, allowing rural families to save on transportation into the city
Be sure to find out what’s happening with the GOALS “Boul’anjri” bakery, literacy projects, soccer teams, and all of GOALS’ projects! Follow GOALS on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep in touch and share with your friends about what’s happening on the soccer fields of Haiti every single day.