500 Women Solidarity Enterprising Community Credit
By Marie Marthe Saint Cyr - Executive Director
Some of the members of COFECA
Mesina stood proud and said "I am growing my business, keeping my children in school and my family alive. I do not have to pay an arm and a leg for it and I am helping other women do the same,"
This is the story of one of 500 women who started a mutual fund putting together their one dollar (45 HTG) contribution at their monthly meeting. COFECA met the Lambi Fund a year ago and presented their proposal to develop their community credit inside the organization who is involved in transforming peanut into peanut butter; supporting women who make jelly to sell on the local market and seamstresses making clothing for local children and adults. This organization has been struggling to expand their membership's enterprises.
Lambi fund has funded the community credit fund to create a revolving fund. Today 125 women of the 500 have already expanded their business with 5,000 HTG loan payable at 2% to the organization. The interest is over 10% below the market rate, and will be used to expand loans to other members.
The credit helps generate new revenue to assist women and expand food production in the Kavayon region. Lambi Fund is currently supporting 9 organizations, like COFECA, with micro credit funds for over a thousand members to have access to small loans at 2% interest to generate or reinforce their small enterprise. According to Foreign Policy.com, Haiti registers 75% of unemployment and widespread underemployment (2013). Building one's own enterprise is their income and revenue producing activity that keeps the family fed, the children in school. It is the way out of poverty. Creating work that generate an income for families is one of the many facets of rebuilding Haiti in the longterm.
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