Fish4Life is a mobile network of young people raising capital to help Haitians help themselves through fish farming. This year, Fish4Life has committed to team up with the Caribbean Harvest Foundation to better help Haitian families. More specifically, Fish4Life will be raising capital to support and expand the work of Caribbean Harvest to 100 additional families.
The Caribbean Harvest program that Fish4Life will be expanding involves providing fish farming cages to families living along Haiti's largest lakes, using environmentally friendly technology to produce high quality fish and produce a stable work environment. Under this program 2,400 tilapia fingerlings are charged into a 14 cubic meter cage that is provided to each participating family. Families are required to feed the baby fish 3 times per day, using the commercial fish food provided by Caribbean Harvest. After four months, Caribbean Harvest buys back the fish and sells them to locals markets and hotels generating a profit for the family and a recurring, sustainable source of income.
Fish4Life encourages kids to become global citizens, by giving them a way to directly and significantly impact those in need in another part of the world. Fish4Life's website has detailed information on Haiti and fish farming, to educate young participants about Haiti and this program, and train them to be fundraisers. To enhance its fundraising activities on behalf of Caribbean Harvest, Fish4Life will be utilizing a mobile app, various social networks and a marketing contest. Fish4Life has developed a mobile app that serves as a fundraising tool to gather information from donors. In the fall of 2013, Fish4Life will be launching a network marketing contest, which encourages kids to recruit other kids to fundraise and compete for prizes.
The various components of Fish4Life's project include the following.
Thanksgiving 2011: Initial visit to Haiti and Caribbean Harvest
December 2011 - September 2012: Development of concept and ideas
November 2012: Logo development (through online crowd sourcing)
December 2012 - July 2013: Initial Mobile App development
March 2013: Website creation (http://www.fish4life.org)
March 2013: Visit to South Korea to introduce Fish4Life to local schools
Completion of financial and other arrangements with Caribbean Harvest
Formal Launch of Network Marketing Contest
Addition of Square payment method
Launch of Mobile App
June 2014 (end of school year): Completion of first year of Contest
June 2015: Final completion of the Contest upon successful funding of cages for 100 families
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Seven out of ten people live on less than $2 per day. A Haitian's average income is less than $660 per year. With the recent earthquake and hurricanes, conditions have only worsened. After the earthquake, hundreds of thousands of people were killed and over 3 million were injured. Foreign aid is problematic as it only provides immediate relief, not long-term sustainable progress. In addition, a lot of the help from foreign aid has been misused, is not effective, and could be more helpful. Haiti has one of the lowest life expectancies and the third highest hunger rate in the world. Haitian farms produce less than 40% of Haiti's food requirements. Haiti is capable of thriving in the aquaculture industry, but does not have the resources to do so. Despite its convenient Caribbean location, Haiti only produces 4 pounds of fish per person (Source: http://www.caribbeanharvestfoundation.org/).
Almost all of the current funds have been focused on the post-earthquake response, leaving little funding to help Haitians escape poverty in the long term. The people living along Lake Azuei, a rural area near the Dominican border, live in very harsh circumstances. They suffer from poor health and a lack of food and resources. In some cases, the women suffer from sexual abuse. Many of the children have to walk three miles every day to commute to school.
A major way of improving the lives of these Haitians would be to enhance their economic livelihoods, particularly through the fishing industry. Caribbean Harvest is ideally positioned to fill this role as its goal is to improve both the economic and nutritional needs of poor villages around Haiti's largest lakes by providing them with well-paid jobs and development opportunities.
Xander and Beau first travelled to Haiti with their parents, over Thanksgiving in 2011. They were very inspired by their visit, and wanted to help improve the conditions in Haiti. Since one of the most effective ways to engage people and raise money is through technology, they decided to start Fish4Life by developing a mobile app and using social networks and a marketing contest to connect kids with other kids and raise funds for Caribbean Harvest and Haiti.
Fish4Life would benefit from: 1) Financial contributions toward the goal, 2) Names of young people who would be interested in participating as fundraisers in the project, perhaps through CGI University, and 3) Access to media/communications efforts to publicize and expand the reach of the project.
Fish4Life is a mobile network of young people, raising capital to help families in Haiti help themselves through the farming of fish, in partnership with the Caribbean Harvest Foundation. Fish4Life is seeking funds to expand its program, or partners who can offer services that can be useful toward the project. In addition, Fish4Life is considering expanding the project to nations beyond Haiti, and is seeking international partners who may wish to install this type of economic development program in other countries.