Gran Sous is an impoverished community on the island of La Gonave. The population is mostly engaged in subsistence farming, and the number of people formally employed is very low - estimated to be 15%.
There is a serious lack of infrastructure and of adequate housing on the island. Almost all of the construction-related businesses in Haiti are located on the mainland, making the costs to build on La Gonave high.
The 2011 Roots Ride aims to raise $20,000. This will provide the community with the capital needed to buy a concrete block-making machine that will be part of a community-managed business initiative.
This will make it more affordable for residents to build homes and private businesses. It will stimulate the local economy by providing the government with the opportunity to purchase road-paving materials locally. And furthermore, the project will create employment opportunities for area residents.
Monies raised will fund the purchasing of the concrete block-making machine, a cobblestone casting form, four reinforced wheelbarrows, and the transportation costs of getting these materials from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to La Gonave, Haiti.
Any additional monies raised will go towards the cost of building a protective wall and small office to house the business.
This initiative will not only create jobs in an area with very high unemployment, but also establish a sustainable community-owned business in rural Haiti.
The machine comes with molds that produce three different types of building blocks and a single type of cobblestone. It is capable of producing approximately 1,500 blocks a day, which can bring in the equivalent to US$945 a day (at 63 cents per block), The profits made from the business will go into a community fund that will be used to maintain past projects and carry out new ones.
Roots of Development’s local field partner, APDAG, will create an all-volunteer committee, that will be responsible for ensuring the overall health of the business.
Each day blocks will be made by a set of employees that will mix concrete, pour it into the block molds, and place them in the sun to dry. Inside the office there will be a set of employees that take customer’s orders and another set of employees that accept payment for the orders. And then, yet another set of employees that are responsible for getting customers the blocks shown on a purchase receipt. A manager will be in charge of these employees as well as responsible for making sure that the total order forms, receipts, cash, and blocks sold all match up. There will also be a director that is responsible for overseeing all the aspects of the business. The director will be hired (and supervised) by a committee of unpaid APDAG members.