HAITI – In Haiti, World Renew’s partner FOTADEL creates UZIMA through Village Savings and Loans groups, as well as programs in horticulture and literacy.
The Fédération des Organizations et des Techniciens Agricoles pour le Développement de Léogane (FOTADEL) is a cooperative of 17 farmers’ associations.
Village Savings and Loans
Two years ago, World Renew trained the leaders of FOTADEL in the formation of Village Savings and Loan Associations, or VSLAs. A community-run VSLA offers members the opportunity to save money, earn interest, and access small loans that allow them to grow businesses and improve their livelihoods.
FOTADEL has now gone on to train members of their association in the establishment of VSLAs, sharing this simple, yet powerful practice with communities that are invested in FOTADEL and trust it.
In the hills of Léogane, FOTADEL helped the small community of Corail started a VSLA “cycle” a year ago.
For the first 3 months of the cycle, VSLA members contributed savings and then, at weekly meetings, started agreeing on loans for members at 2% interest for a term of 3 months. This August, Corail VSLA closed its cycle and paid out dividends to all the members. Even after a poor harvest season, members of the VSLA made money!
Briana Laquerre, 57 years old, operates a rice business, buying from communities down hill and selling to households in the hills. Briana invested 12,650 gourdes (about $200 USD) in the VSLA and, at the close of the cycle, made a profit of $44 USD that she will use to run her business.
FOTADEL has built on the success in Corail with the establishment of VSLAs in 8 other small communities.
The 225 people who participate in these new associations are saving together and supporting each other in countless ways. Experience has taught us that after 4-5 months of training and support, a VSLA can be independent and sustainable — a small investment with BIG returns.
Learning the Valuable Skill of Grafting
Haiti is known for the quality of its fruit and demand is high for it throughout the country.
In the district of Jacmel, World Renew partners with the Christian Reformed Church of Haiti (ECRH) in four of its most vulnerable communities — Siloe, La Montagne, Ti Mouillage, and Moreau — to assist farmers in making the most of their fruit crops.
Grafting, a horticultural method of propagation where the upper part of one plant is joined to the root of another to form a new plant, allows fruit farmers to build their stock and increase hardiness, drought tolerance, and disease resistance among all their trees.
The grafting project will train 20 participants in each community overall. In July of this year, World Renew and ECRH began with the training of 23 farmers interested in the grafting of local mangoes and lemons into more marketable products. The grafting of citrus, mango, and avocado trees contributes to the reforestation of the country while improving income and nutrition in local communities.
Literacy: a Bridge to Transformation
Haiti has the lowest literacy rate in the western hemisphere; in 2015, 60% of the population had basic reading and writing skills. This deficit impacts individuals lives in countless ways and remains a barrier to community development there.
In response, World Renew and our local Haitian partner, the Christian Reformed Church of Haiti (ECRH), support literacy programs in Siloe, La Montagne, Ti Mouillage, and Moreau, four vulnerable communities in the district of Jacmel.
Together, World Renew and ECRH currently host four literacy classes throughout these communities, serving 79 adults who are eager to learn to read and write.
Classes are led by a certified teacher and an assistant; students meet four days a week for six months, at the end of which participants proudly demonstrate their new ability to write their own names.
World Renew Haiti