Fonkoze's Fight Against Poverty
Poverty is an expensive proposition. If you are poor, you have very few protections against the risks you face. It is likely that uncontrollable events such as hurricanes or droughts, sickness or death in the family, thefts or fires will set you back in your efforts to escape poverty.
There is a staircase that will take you out of poverty, but it is not easy to climb. Microfinance tries to keep you from falling down the staircase helping you to make small steps up and eventually out of poverty. The best Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) understand that for every step or two forward, there will be some steps backwards.
Fonkoze attempts to meet its clients wherever they happen to be on the staircase. Some clients are on the very first step or have not even found the confidence to step onto the staircase. Others are much further along and come into Fonkoze at higher steps on the staircase. Regardless of where our clients start, Fonkoze offers them a range of services to keep them on the staircase. Fonkoze cannot make the climb for them, but it can accompany clients to keep them from falling down.
At Fonkoze, this staircase consists of four steps that together constitute the core programs through which our clients work with our staff and volunteers to pull themselves out of poverty and into a financially secure future for themselves and their families. All along the way, Fonkoze clients are not only participating in the loan programs, but are being "accompanied" with education, training, and other important innovative services, like microinsurance.
STEP 1: Chemen Lavi Miyò, or the Road to a Better Life, reaches out to the poorest of the poor. It accompanies them with training, one-on-one supervision and encouragement, confidence building and other services like health care and home repair. It protects clients as they move forward along a two-year road from abject misery until they have their own functioning microenterprise and are ready to enter a microfinance program. Learn more >>
STEP 2: Ti Kredi, or Little Credit, reaches out to families that are not ready to manage a loan as large as $75, the first loan in Fonkoze's core solidarity-group credit program. Ti Kredi offers them a smaller initial loan of just $25, shorter repayment periods, additional support from their loan officer, and literacy classes. Learn more >>
STEP 3: Solidarity Group credit is Fonkoze’s core program. Groups of five close friends organize themselves into solidarity groups that take out their loans together. These groups are organized in turn into Credit Centers of 30-40 women that become long-term associations of women devoted to individual and community economic and social development. Starting with three-month loans of $75, women can grow within this program until they are borrowing sums as large as $1,300 for six months. The groups meet together regularly for Literacy, Business Training, and other educational programs. Learn more >>
STEP 4: Business Development provides year-long loans that start at $1,300 and can increase without limit. It currently has clients borrowing $25,000 and more. This program helps clients become part of the formal economy and create jobs in rural areas where there is very little employment. Learn more >>
Within these “steps” or core programs, Fonkoze provides clients with financial and educational services that include:
- Small loans that are used to start or expand a small business;
- Savings products that meet the needs of the poor;
- Currency exchange that allows one to change US dollars to Haitian gourdes at a preferential rate;
- Direct deposit services that allow Haitians living overseas to deposit funds at Fonkoze branches in Haiti for their families at a low cost;
- Basic literacy, business skills and life skills training. Read more about our education programs >>