Koud-a-Koud / MicroCredit
One of Sonje Ayiti’s initial programs was the formation and development of the Koud-a-Koud / “Shoulder to Shoulder”, microcredit program, designed to help women gain a small loan to help initiate their entrepreneurial projects. SAO’s microloan program provides two forms of loans. The first form consists of small cash, short-term loans (maximum of 25,000 Gourdes / US$600) at an interest rate of 1.5%/month for working capital, the purchase of inventory, or supplies. The second form consists of in-kind loans, which can be made of vegetable gardens, egg, poultry products etc.
Koud-a-Koud Application Guide for individual members:
To obtain a loan, applicants must meet four general criteria:
- Be a member of a GS5, solidarity group of 5 women established by SAO;
- Have at least one child between the ages of 1-5 years;
- Attended the three business classes offered by SAO: business management, loan management and business competitive environment;
- Been referred by at least two of the group members, and given good references.
These loans have a nearly perfect “pay back” record, and have provided great assistance to young families and women with children who are working hard to learn a business that will provide for their family’s needs, and help assure a livelihood for their future. It is our hope that we can add some additional capital so that more funds can be available to loan out to help the growing number of women who have completed their business training and are now waiting for funding to begin their enterprises.
Community Restaurants in Paulette & Phaeton
Phaeton and Paulette used to be, in the first half of the twentieth century, two of the most vibrant places in Haiti with the most important economic activity in the region (Dauphin Sisal Factory) located here. With close to 20,000 factory workers, Phaeton, especially, was the envy of all the other villages. With the closing of the plant, ripples of economic uncertainty were left in this village. Consequently, the vast majority of the people left and less than 3,000 people stayed. The remaining residents are mostly agricultural farmers, working on state public land and with only agricultural labor to invest. These people spend most of the year without any work. As a result, they are very poor with little food or access to education and medical care.
As of October 2016, SAO has 2 operational community restaurants in the villages of Paulette & Phaeton. Within the first 3 weeks of operations, 550 meals were being served daily at each location. For 25 Goudes ($0.38 USD) a villager can eat a balanced meal in a nice location. Supplies are purchased locally, and SAO encourages farmers to grow corn, beans, and other vegetables that can be used to supply the restaurant.
RAFAVAL / Women’s Cocoa Coop
Functioning since before the earthquake of 2010, this group of nearly 500 women formed to help provide them each an opportunity to help support their families, and to locally grow, produce and sell their high quality, Haitian cocoa. Sonje Ayiti has been an active supporter and guide for their enterprises including the procurement of funding to build their own building, and initial cocoa processing, packaging and storage facility. This group of women have served as a model for local cooperation by empowering women of all ages to produce a marketable commodity, and gain some valuable income to help support their families.
The income they make is reinvested into expanding their present facility to enable a larger production schedule, and purchase the necessary processing equipment. They also donate a large portion of their profits to the local schools to help with teacher salary support and the purchases of school supplies to better enable the teachers to offer their best efforts to the 400+ students at the local Limonade Primary School.
They have been approved to market their cocoa and fruit products via the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture and one of their customers is the State University in Limonade.
RAFAVAL / Goutesa Bakery
In October 2016, RAVAVAL opened a bakery in Welsh, Limonade. This endeavor was funded by the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF) and is run by 12 local women. SAO made the linkages between the organizations and has provided hands-on training to the works for both the bakery & the business side of the operations. On a daily basis, the women make bread & cookies that are distributed to local homes, schools & businesses, including the State University in Limonade.
Eco-Trazo / Eco-Treasure
Adopting the Kreyòl phrase ‘Anviwonman An Se Pann’ / ‘The Environment is for Everyone’, a mostly young adult group of about 40 have learned how to turn street trash (plastic bottles, wrappers, paper, etc.) into functional bags and decorative art jewelry. They still meet and produce, and SAO, who helped form the program with some funding help through the Haitian Ministry of the Environment, continues to allow the members to meet at their poultry farm and develop new products for sale. SAO has helped them by hiring bright, young Tamera Eugene, to continue in her role as the Program Director, as well as trying to help them find a US market to sell their hand-crafted works of functional art.
While finding raw materials for their work is not at all difficult, marketing their fine, artistic work takes some funding. Finding willing partners in the US, Canada and Europe would surely help to open a market for their hand-crafted, wearable art.