Cos (cos) wrote,


Hurricane Matthew hit rural southwest Haiti yesterday hardest, cutting much of the peninsula off from the rest of Haiti (roads and communications) for at least a day, and killing at least a few hundred people. If you have money to donate and are looking for good organizations to donate to, consider Fonkoze.

Fonkoze arose from the Fondwa Peasants Association, whose story you can see in the short film The Road to Fondwa. Go ahead and watch it if you haven't seen it!

Fondwa Peasants Association founder and coordinator Father Joseph Philippe founded Fonkoze 6 years later, in 1994, as a rural development bank and microfinance instution, with the goal of getting poor Haitians economically organized in addition to just politically organized, and with a focus on poor women. They couple microfinance and banking services for the very-poor with literacy programs, long-term business skills mentorships, and a "road out of poverty" program that begins with giving a woman the materials to build a small house with water purification, and helping her build it.

Fonkoze has grown to cover the entire country, and when much of what Fondwa built was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake, Fonkoze made it possible for them to rebuild. Coincidentally, they had recently introduced a new earthquake and disaster insurance program before the earthquake hit, but it was new and not many people had signed up - so after the earthquake hit they decided to treat all of their members as if they had retroactively gotten the insurance.

Since 1996, they have been raising money through a sister organization in the US called Fonkoze USA, which has a 4-star rating on charitynavigator. Fonkoze as a whole also has a platinum rating from GuideStar, whose report includes a good summary of their impact.

With 8 branches and over 100 client centers in the hardest-hit southwest, they are probably going to need extra resources to rebuild and resume providing services. As a long-lived homegrown organization with roots in every corner of Haiti, they seem like an important part of building Haiti's long term robustness and capacity to get out of poverty. Donate here.

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