No javascript detected! Our online shopping basket requires javascript. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER
Return to World Ark Blog Landing

In the North West region of Haiti, a loan of just $50 can mean the difference between struggling to survive and becoming a successful entrepreneur. Knowing this, the women in the communities of Saint Louis du Nord and Anse a Foleur came together in March of 1995 and formed the Coordination of Association for Women Development in Saint Louis du Nord and Anse a Foleur (CAFDESA in French.)

Heifer’s goal is to help project participants have sufficient income and assets to meet basic needs such as housing, food, nutrition, clothing, education and health services. Heifer also works to empower women, making sure that they have the ability to make decisions and affect outcomes of importance for themselves and their families.

Income and women’s empowerment are the basis for programs like CAFEDESA, which extends its membership over nine communal sections in the North West region of Haiti. It is a community-based organization that has 10,700 members with 11 elected committee members. The participants’ goal is to organize themselves into smaller groups and pursue their interests in agriculture and entrepreneurship, while supporting one another and sharing experiences.

The women sell products at the CAFDESA retail store.
The women sell products at the CAFDESA retail store.

Today, CAFDESA has many ongoing activities including agriculture, embroidery, crafts, retail stores and self-help groups called “Mutuelle Solidarité,” which means mutual solidarity. The Mutuelle Solidarité gives small loans to motivated, hardworking women who want to grow their businesses or improve productivity of their farms. Every Friday, a number of members contribute $2, which is recorded in a book kept by the group treasurer. Through tedious record keeping, the group is able to track the contributions of each member to decide on the amount one is entitled to get a loan.

CAFDESA has tried different methods of lending money in the past, but they eventually agreed on the most practical method: borrowing in turns, with each member able to borrow as much as three times their total contribution to be repaid within six months, at an interest rate of two percent. The interest is then pooled into a community fund loaned to members who have emergencies such as death or serious illness.

They’re branching out into other methods for building their savings, too. For nearly three years, CAFDESA has been working with a community agronomist to preserve and process fruits that were wasted during the season. The fruits are bought from members at better prices than offered in the local market. They process and package tomato jam, grapefruit jam, pineapple jam, honey and peanut butter. They also grind coffee and burn cocoa to making cooking chocolate, which they sell at the CAFDESA retail store in Saint Louis du Nord. The proceeds from the sale of these products go to the expansion of the retail store and the Mutuelle Solidarité fund.

In an effort to further empower the women, Heifer Haiti started working with CAFDESA through the Rural Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Cooperation in Haiti (REACH) in April 2013. Seventy women, including the committee members that have been trained on Heifer Cornerstones and other trainings, and each project participant received goats, turkeys, chickens, or other resources. Currently, Heifer Haiti is working with them to strengthen their saving and micro-credit activities. Additional training in financial management, credit and savings is set to begin in the next month.

The CAFDESA women's group in Haiti.
The CAFDESA women's group in Haiti.

The women from CAFDESA have big dreams. After training, many members go back to the community and teach friends and family what they have learned, encouraging them to borrow from the Mutuelle Solidarité to buy their own goats and poultry.

Kedna Caprice, the President of CAFDESA, is proud of the accomplishments of these women and says that they have realized that the power to change is in their own hands: “There were women in this organization that had never held a 1000 Gourdes note (about $20.) They had dreams about what they would do if they ever had money.

Through our Mutuelle Solidarité their dreams have come true and I can assure you that today they are a shining source of inspiration for many.”

During a recent visit to the community, George Wilbert, Heifer Haiti’s National Program Manager, advised the women to set their goals and focus on achieving them when the micro-credit project commences. “Things are beginning to change in their households,” He explains. “Their children are able to go to school and have a decent meal every day. Heifer will focus on pursuing a wide micro-credit program with the other women organizations. If you change one woman’s life, she is going to change ten others.”

Prepared by Pamela Nyaga, Heifer Haiti

Author

Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.

Free Download

You only need to enter this information once to download digital resources.

My Basket
Need Help?

Basket Summary

edit

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }}

Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ {{ product.price | currency }} Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ FREE
{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }} Free
{{ (product.price) | currency }} You've chosen to make this a monthly donation.
Monthly

No products in cart.

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }} Sub-total {{ cartSubTotal | currency }} Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }}

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

edit

Billing Address

{{ billingAddress.first_name }} {{ billingAddress.last_name }} {{ billingAddress.address_1 }} {{ billingAddress.address_2 }} {{ billingAddress.city }}, {{ billingAddress.state }} {{ billingAddress.zip }} {{ billingAddress.country }}

Company

{{ billingAddress.company }}

Shipping Address

{{ shippingAddress.first_name }} {{ shippingAddress.last_name }} {{ shippingAddress.address_1 }} {{ shippingAddress.address_2 }} {{ shippingAddress.city }}, {{ shippingAddress.state }} {{ shippingAddress.zip }} {{ shippingAddress.country }}

Basket Summary

Step 1 of 2 Step 1 of 3 All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Your basket has been updated.
The following item(s) are now sold-out or unavailable and have been removed from your cart:
-{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle}} ({{ product.quantity}})

{{ nag.title }}

{{ nag.description }}

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }} To: {{ product.giftCardRecipientName }} From: {{ product.giftCardSenderPrint }} Email: {{ product.giftCardRecipientEmail }} Delivery: {{ product.giftCardDeliveryDate }} Message: {{ product.giftCardMessage | truncate '200' }} 1 {{prods["title"]}}

{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }}
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
${{ product.price }}
$ {{ product.price }} Free
Monthly
Remove
SubTotal {{ cartSubTotal | currency }}
It's not a hand out. It's a hand up.

For maximum impact, try adding a few items to your basket.

Browse The Gift Catalog
Secured Checkout

Increase Your Impact with a Donation Visit the Gift Catalog

Make an even bigger impact with a donation from our Gift Catalog

Responsibly-Sourced, Artisan-Friendly Gifts Shop the Marketplace

Shop the Marketplace for responsibly-sourced, artisan-friendly gifts
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 2 Step 2 of 3 All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 2 Step 2 of 3 All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 2 Step 2 of 3 All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary Edit {{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Payment Information

Step 3 of 3 All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.

Payment Summary

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }} Sub-total {{ cartSubTotal | currency }} Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }}

Pay By Credit Card
Pay with PayPal logo
Pay with
We were not able to process your request. Please try again or contact Donor Services at 855.9HUNGER (855.948.6437).
Secured Checkout