Trade is more important to Haiti’s future than aid. This includes agricultural revitalization, industrial development, and perhaps growth in the tourism sector. Jacmel, Haiti’s city of art, has always been one of its most appealing cities. While the city took serious damage during the earthquake, the Capponi Group and the Jacmel Advisory Council are collaborating in the development of Jacmel's downtown, including the construction of a hotel. At the same time, Yele has committed to developing Jacmel’s first tourism training school. Concept art and video can be found on the Capponi Group website. Additional information follows.
Fonkoze, Haiti's most successful micro-lending institution, has released its annual report. After a year of growth in 2009, the earthquake was a major blow to its operations. Ten Fonkoze branches were severely damaged or destroyed. Four hundred and fifty staff lost their homes and over 19,000 clients lost homes and/or businesses. Fonkoze responded by expanding support to earthquake affected clients, including the use of micro-insurance as a tool to help rebuild their livelihoods. Attached is both the annual report and an impact analysis. Below is a summary of their 2009 and 2010 activities.
In 2009, the Vincentian Family (a religious group that draws inspiration from St. Vincent de Paul) and Fonkoze (Haiti’s largest micro-lender) initiated a pilot project, named Zafen, that allows people to loan or donate to businesses in Haiti. The website showcases businesses that have been subject to due diligence, provides easy online access for reviewing them, and offers Haitian entrepreneurs access to capital for expanding their operations. In its first six months, Zafen raised $140,000 and provided funding for 300 projects ranging from coffee cultivation to community dairies. An official press release follows. Take a look at the Zafen website as well.
The northwest is the poorest part of Haiti, long neglected by the Haitian government and the international community. Most Haitians have neve been here and comparatively little has been written about the region. I recently was able to visit both Port de Paix and the Ile de Tortue, a nearby island that was once a hotbed of piracy. Below is a summary of the area's past, present, and also its potential.
At the recent Clinton Global Initiative meeting, Fonkoze, BRAC, BRAC USA, Partners In Health, CGAP, and CHF announced a partnership in which they would contribute $50 million towards a two-year effort to improve health and reduce poverty in Central Haiti. The initiative will target 575,000 people on Haiti's Central Plateau and will do what all development programs should be doing...helping people to help themselves.
Fonkoze (Foundasyon Kole Zepol) has recently upgraded their website. One of the events being featured is a Haiti Solidarity Conference that will take place from October 10-12 at the Wyndam Miami Airport Hotel and Conference Center. The conference features speakers from the Grameen Foundation and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, discussions on micro-finance, as well as Haitian music and theatre. The registration form is attached below.
One must be entrepeneurial to survive on less than a dollar a day. A wide variety of organizations throughout the world are using microfinance, the provision of small loans, to tap this entrepeneurial spirit and help rural women improve their livelihoods. Pioneered by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, this pro poor model has been proven effective again and again in India, Rwanda, Haiti, and elsewhere. The number of organizations offering micro-credit in Haiti has grown considerably but there is still a need for expansion.