Fonkoze’s Primary Microfinance Program
“My profits have helped me to buy a small cow. Even if there are problems with the children, I can always find money.”
— Solidarity client Jistina Victor (pictured with her daughter), on how her Business Skills class enabled her to improve her business
Solidarity lending is Fonkoze’s core microfinance program. It provides loans to groups of five women (called a Solidarity group), creating a built-in system of accountability and support. Beginning at $75 and increasing in size up to $1,300, Solidarity loans enable women who have already established themselves as microentrepreneurs to expand their businesses.
Five or six Solidarity groups from a common geographical area join together to form a Solidarity “Center” of 25-30 women. Centers meet twice a month to repay their loans, build community, and participate in education and training activities.
Solidarity Centers also act as a distribution network for key resources, including Fonkoze’s Education and Business Skills Training, and Health services. At Center meetings, clients can receive life skills instruction, health screenings, and disaster preparedness training.
Clients of each Center also elect one of their fellow colleagues as the Center chief, a woman responsible for leading trainings, ensuring that clients pay back their loans promptly, and acting as a Center representative providing two-way communication to Fonkoze leadership.
Approximately 200 Center chief representatives meet in Port-au-Prince at Fonkoze’s General Assembly each year to learn more about Fonkoze programs and engage in dialogue with senior Fonkoze staff. From the delegates, two Center chiefs are elected to represent their peers on Fonkoze’s Board of Directors. This democratic process empowers women with leadership skills and enables our clients to have a voice in Fonkoze’s work.