Putting Financial Power Back in the Hands of Haitians
The savings model has provided Haitians with an opportunity to mobilise funds and build their businesses to secure their livelihoods.
One of the biggest obstacles Haitians face is a lack of access to finance. Many simply cannot get affordable loans to support their businesses or send their children to school, leaving them in a vicious cycle of poverty. For the most marginalised, including people with disabilities, it is even worse.
In 2018, CBM Haiti launched its first-ever Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) programme in Les Cayes. The VSLA model creates self-managed and self-capitalised savings groups, consisting of 15-25 community members who meet regularly to save their money in a safe space.
The VSLA in Haiti has already proven to make waves within the community and support businesses. Onel, a 55-year-old father of 5, lost his left foot in a car accident in 1986. Today he finds it difficult to bend down to work the land, the primary source of his livelihood. Borrowing from the VSLA, Onel was able to hire someone to harvest beans to sell for a profit.
Promoting women's access to credit
Compared to men, women on average have even less access to financial services. VSLA has fostered women's access to loans, financial literacy, and business management skills. Rachelle, a 30-year-old mother of two, has a business of "Pepe", the word used in Haiti for second-hand clothing, which is sold throughout the streets of Haiti. She has borrowed money twice from VSLA, both times in the amount of 10,000 HTG (100 USD). In both cases, it took her three months to pay back the loan. With the money she borrows, she buys more clothes to sell.
The VSLA model has provided Haitians with an opportunity to mobilise funds and build their businesses to secure their livelihoods. The programme has already reached some 1,200 people. Looking ahead, CBM Haiti has trained 21 VSLA agents to create new groups and support VSLA members to pursue their goals which they believe can impact the country.