The following document is presented to Save the Children in fulfilment of a contract for consultation on the design of a project in rural Haiti. It will begin with an identification of the two competing approaches to project organization in the rural areas that have surfaced as controversial discussion points between SCF and the USAID mission in Haiti. This controversy should be seen in a positive light. It permits a rethinking of these issues in light of SCF objectives and philosophy, and the design of a compromise approach which permits effective work in rural Haiti. I will propose what I believe to be a conceptual. vehicle for integrating the two approaches.
In these pages I will describe and analyse the recent emergence, in a mountainous region of rural Haiti, of a locally unique but technically effective erosion control strategy which, though unknown some two decades ago, had by the late 1970's become an essential, universally adopted element in the agrarian repertoire of peasant cultivators in the research community. The significance of this pattern lies not only in its uniqueness within the context of the ongoing, virtually unimpeded erosion which continues to undermine the agrarian base of most regions of this mountainous Caribbean nation. In addition, the appearance of this locally confined erosion control complex as an unplanned result of early 1950's developmental inputs illustrates for development planners at least one type of technically successful project outcome in a process involving selective retention by peasant cultivators of some developmental inputs, the rejection of other elements, and--above all--the evolution of locally created devices for the solution of agrarian technical problems for which planners had been unable to provide any convincing, cost-effective remedy.