Germanie Antoine, CLM participant 

Germanie, a program participant in CLM

February 2024 – Germanie Antoine and her husband, Jeangard, reside in Haiti near the road leading from Savanèt to the Dominican border. When they enrolled in the Fonkoze’s CLM (Chemen Lavi Miyò or Pathway to a Better Life) Program they were barely making ends meet. Their family of four lived in a single rented room with a leaking roof, leaving them vulnerable to every rainstorm.

Their situation improved slightly during the annual avocado season when Germanie could buy produce from neighbors on credit. Despite these seasonal earnings, the family relied heavily on Jeangard’s sporadic income as a day laborer in construction. Germanie recalls, “I had nothing. No livestock. I didn’t have a chicken.”

Initially, when she joined CLM, participants choose a form of commerce and alongside their case manager, they are guided through the process. Germanie requested support to begin goat farming and small commerce through the CLM program. She received two goats, but encountered misfortune when one stolen and another died unexpectedly. Undeterred, her case manager encouraged her to explore other opportunities. Together, they devised a plan for a small grocery business.

Using funds provided by the CLM program and later supplemented by credit from her savings and loan association, Germanie began purchasing groceries from the Savanèt market every Thursday. She would then sell them at the market and from her home throughout the week. Despite initial challenges, her business gradually gained traction.

Germanie’s earnings not only helped cover household expenses but also enabled her to repay loans and invest in her future. She diversified her income by contributing to a traditional Haitian savings club and her association. With her profits, she expanded her livestock holdings, acquiring additional goats.

Recognizing the need to support her husband’s economic endeavors, Germanie redirected some of her business earnings to help him start his own venture. Jeangard began buying Dominican plantains at the border to sell in Savanèt, catering mainly to wholesalers who transported them to Mibalè.

The combined efforts of Germanie and Jeangard yielded significant results. They used their earnings to purchase a small parcel of land near their rented room, eventually constructing their own home. Assistance from family members, including Germanie’s brother in the Dominican Republic, also played a crucial role in their journey toward stability.

Germanie’s story exemplifies the transformative power of support and resilience in overcoming poverty. Through determination and guidance from the CLM program, she and her husband have made remarkable strides in improving their livelihoods and securing a brighter future for their family.

Fonkoze’s CLM (Chemen Lavi Miyò or Pathway to a Better Life) program has empowered thousands of rural women living in the most extreme poverty (ultra-poverty) with the life skills tools, training and close accompaniment needed to break the cycle of poverty and plan for a better future. The program has recently added a youth-focused element that will equip children of CLM participants with skills and opportunities that will enable them to have a better chance at thriving in life. In 2023, over 1,800 families joined CLM, and the graduation rate of those who had reached the end of their 18-month term was 94.7%.

Learn more about the program’s empowering work and impact here.

Fonkoze keeps rural women ‘out of the dark’

From its inception in 1994, Fonkoze has focused much of its work on empowering rural women, one of the most marginalized groups in Haiti. Throughout the country, women in rural areas continue to lag behind their male and urban counterparts in all development indicators. Enabling rural women to improve their financial literacy is one of the most powerful ways Fonkoze is keeping them “out of the dark” and informed as they work to take control of their lives and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.

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