A graduation pathway for Haiti's poorest: Lessons learnt from Fonkoze
Abstract:Half of Haiti's population can be characterized as extreme poor, and face widening gaps in equality, increasing social marginalization, no sustainable livelihood options and increasing food prices. In response to this, Haiti's largest microfinance institution, Fonkoze, provided extremely poor house-holds with a series of protective and promotional inputs for 18 months to help them build sustainable livelihoods.
Importantly, the programme does not seek to graduate members 'out of poverty' but to a point where their livelihoods are strong enough to participate in a 'small credit' programme that seeks to further develop their assets and savings, and with significant hand-holding, ultimately graduate them into mainstream microfinance. This article seeks to explore the effectiveness of the intervention and its implications for the lives of Haiti's poorest, as well as reflect upon our understanding of the pathways out of extreme poverty.