Investing in Life: A Microcredit Program in Haiti
For about 18 years, L'Eglise Methodiste d'Haiti (EMH, Methodist Church of Haiti) has operated a microcredit program in the town of Petit Goave, 43 miles from Port-au-Prince, in Haiti. After last year's devastating earthquake, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) partnered with EMH to strengthen the program and build up the participants.
Ninety women are currently enrolled in the program as community bank members and microcredit leaders. Beginning last August, UMCOR representatives met with the women to review the needs of the program, which over the past five years has seen little outside investment.
Some of the women have been borrowers for more than 10 years, and most currently have loan portfolios three times the size of the first loan they received. They have used the loans to buy and sell pharmaceutical products, food, and clothing in bulk and retail around Petit Goave and as far away as the Dominican Republic.
The loans have allowed the women to stock products, increase the profitability of their businesses, and invest their earnings in building a home, sending their children to school, or even buying a car. Loans are regularly paid on time, and the default rate is low.
Photo: Pauline Mars, a member of EMH’s microcredit program in Petit Goave for 10 years, participates in an UMCOR-funded training session.
Photo Credit: Lauren James