While Haiti’s political system and institutions remain in a corruptive limbo, the people of Haiti continue to seek new and productive ways to survive in the informal sector. WGEF believes there is a unique opportunity to work directly in the Cap-Haiten community with community-based organizations.
Our first initiative is a Women’s Bakery Initiative (WBI); we are working with our partner SAO, and local women’s group RAFAVEL. During my time in the community, we held planning and strategy sessions, met with all stakeholders, conducted site visits, and held a business training session and group organizational meeting.
The training session hosted the 12 participants of the WBI, two leaders from RAFAVEL, SAO and WGEF. The training was lively with a wonderful discussion of ideas and strategies, including basic business concepts: product, promotion, price; customer service, logistics, management, profit and savings.
We also held snap elections to elect leadership of the group: President, Treasurer and Secretary. Several of the participants are not literate, leaving the younger members who have attended school to use their skill sets.
The commitment and energy level was inspiring reminding me of how important our work is, and how critical, albeit rare, opportunities are for women in Haiti. One of the leaders of RAFAVEL expressed her excitement stating “We won’t disappoint you, but don’t disappoint us.” This quote highlights the frustration many Haitians feel about the nonprofit/NGO world, which have exploited and failed Haiti. They have been promised and disappointed time and time again.
This project is a first for WGEF, as we are investing in the business and community, while providing a partial loan to be repaid, and personal investment by stakeholders, truly making this a ‘partnership in empowerment’.
We hope are inspired and are glad to be on this journey with you. Thank you for your support