Friday, November 8, 2013

Charye Conference for Unirrigated Sloping Land

August 28-31, 2013 was a gathering for representatives of organizations working in the Artibonite Valley region of Haiti but particularly for those on mountain land depending on rain for irrigation.

The Organization for Development Against Misery, ODCM, hosted and organized the conference at their headquarters in Charye, in the Communal Section of Lachapelle.

42 delegates represented various organizations in the region.  Morning sessions focused on teaching, exchange, and discussion.  Each afternoon included a practical session tied in with the morning teaching.

The first day focused on Soil Conservation, and Agronom Magloire explained several key steps.  First, always start at the top of the slope to protect it first so you don't waste your effort when water from above washes away your interventions. Lay out a reference line of stakes down the entire height of the hill to mark where your contours will be.

Always use an A-Frame Level to determine the contour, perpendicular to the main flow of water descending the hill.  Before we left for the field exercise, we built and calibrated the A-Frame as a group.

  The hill before we started work.
 Setting the first stake as a reference for the contour line.
 Preparing the land next to the row of stakes to create a good base for the large rocks that are the first to be placed.

 Placing the first rocks. Agronom Magloire reminded us that the choice of rocks has to be very careful so that they fit together smoothly.  The finished rock wall should be so strong that anyone can walk on it without any rocks wobbling or being knocked aside by climbing goats.

Continuing with the placement of large rocks, then filling in with small rocks.

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