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Financial Literacy and Business Training
October 19, 2013

This month, in a small Haitian village and a remote farm community, 45 people are for the first time learning business and credit principles from Haiti's leading microfinance organization, Fonkoze.

Fewer than one-third of Haitians have a formal job—and usually that is only a part-time job. This makes entrepreneurial pursuits of high value to Haitians trying to lift themselves from entrenched poverty.

But Haiti's poor have almost no access to reasonable credit terms or to training in sound business principles. This is what UPLIFT Haiti is trying to remedy for two of its partnership groups:

  • Students of a vocational school in Baradères and
  • An organization of subsistence farmers in the mountains 7 miles south of Baradères.

Students at the Fr. John Maxwell Vocational School learn sewing, embroidery, cookery and other skills in a 2-year course of study and practice. (For more info about UPLIFT Haiti's work at the school, click here: also see our news archive.)

The farmers group, the KPM (short for Kodinasyon Peyizan Nan Ma, or United Farmers of Kay Mak) operates a small, solar-powered computer center. UPLIFT Haiti helped them establish the center 2 years ago. UPLIFT Haiti has supplied computers and other hardware and has agreed to install Internet connectivity. KPM is responsible for sustaining the viability of the business enterprise. (For more info about UPLIFT Haiti's work with KPM, click here; also see our news archive.)

Having technical job skills or computer knowledge is not enough to build and sustain a business. Another challenge is high annual interest rates—up to 120 percent, according to graduates of the Maxwell School in 2012.

UPLIFT Haiti partnered with Fonkoze to address these challenges by providing 32 hours of business and financial literacy training to 45 people. The trainees include the five farmers responsible for the computer center's operations and 40 other people: the current students, past graduates—and a teacher—at the Maxwell School.

The training is entirely funded by donations to UPLIFT Haiti. Most of the donated funds came from a one-time grant from Unicorn Grocery, a workers' cooperative business in Manchester, England.

We would like to offer the training to future students of the vocational school. Please consider making a donation to make this possible.

Nadine Deschemins of Fonkoze
At the Fr. John Maxwell Vocational School, Fonkoze trainer Nadine Deschemins holds the organization's training text.

Small group presentationTrainees use small-group dramatization (above), song and even dance to reinforce their learning.

Deschemins with two farmers
Deschemins with two of the Kay Mak farmers responsible for running the computer center.

Unite People to Learn, Inspire and Form Together."

© UPLIFT Haiti