PADF Sponsors Buy Local, Restore Haiti Conference:
Promoting local industry and restoring local production is vital to the recovery of Haiti’s economy. In underserved and marginalized areas of Haiti, local production can often provide the only livelihood available. When supported, it can be a pathway out of poverty.
In this vein, PADF recently helped sponsor the 3rd Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference, an initiative of the NGO Partners Worldwide. The conference aimed to promote Haitian businesses in the local and international marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers while promoting the goals of the Government of Haiti and their commerce and finance ministries. Participating in the event were government officials, international buyers, and local businesses, including three social enterprises from PADF’s Urban Participative Development Project (PRODEPUR).
“This event provided an excellent opportunity for our enterprises to showcase their products as well as network with numerous buyers and sellers,” explained Misselaine Lustin, PRODEPUR’s Small and Medium Enterprise Specialist. Lustin works with numerous community-based organizations in the low-income areas of Port-au-Prince-zones to develop and run profitable businesses that in turn benefit and raise up their communities. Zones like Cite Soleil and Bel Air receive support and training from Lustin and the rest of the PRODEPUR team, and are then able to use their new skill-sets to become self-sufficient and sustainable.
At the Conference, Bel Sol, PRODEPUR’s egg-cooperative based out of Cite-Soleil, presented their produce along with PRODEPUR’s peanut butter and jam production center. The Women’s Association of Martissant, an area of Haiti heavily associated with violence, brought forward crocheted sandals and embossed dresses from their atelier, along with handmade lace and gem jewelry. In between listening to presentations on increasing local procurement to Haiti and harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit already active in Port-au-Prince, the businesses interacted with participants, sharing knowledge and developing partnerships.
“At the end of the day, it is going to be financial independence and self-sufficiency that pulls people and communities out of poverty, not handouts,” explains Lustin. “PRODEPUR works in some of the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince, and there is so much potential there. Giving people the tools to help themselves; that’s development’s holy grail.”