PADF in the News

Nassau Guardian | Workshop Equips Community Facilitators With Crime Prevention Tips

Last week, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), through its Resistance And Prevention Program (RAPP), organized a five-day workshop to train local facilitators on effective crime prevention strategies.

A total of 21 key stakeholders from the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services, Department of Social Services, Urban Renewal, Ministry of Education, the Bahamas Bar Association, law enforcement agencies and community activists participated in the sessions held at the Bahamas Red Cross headquarters.

PADF Program Coordinator Charo Walker-Morley said the certification workshop provided facilitators with practical prevention tools for crime reduction. “We targeted law enforcement and justice sector officials as well as community leaders who are actively involved in crime prevention to participate,” she said.

“As a result of the training, persons are able to go into areas as facilitators for the RAPP program and work as catalysts within the community.”

PADF brought in detectives Mary Wheat and Jason Jones of the Portland Police Bureau in Portland, Oregon to conduct the training. The team identified proven prevention and intervention techniques used to resolve community conflicts throughout the United States and in other territories in the region. Training modules for each session were structured around group activities, discussions and presentations on topics such as “Root Causes of Youth Crime and Violence”, “Gangs and Organized Crime” and “Understanding Domestic Violence and Teen Dating Abuse”.

Workshop participant Donna Mae Humes, chief correctional officer, Bahamas Department of Corrections, said her best experience was standing in front of the class on the final day and giving a presentation on “Communication and Effective Listening”.

“The training will allow me to carry out outreach with female inmates in an effort to turn them away from a life of crime,” she said.

The training comes after a series of initiatives put on by RAPP since the launch of its second phase back in April. Organizers work closely with the Royal Bahamas Police Force to impact urban communities through job shadowing, youth dialogues and mock court trials. Over 100 young Bahamians have completed job shadowing activities at RBPF headquarters, the Department of Correctional Services and Bahamas Customs.

“Job shadowing allows young people to see how professionals administer law in the country. It works to build trust between the participants and law enforcement agents. By seeing the day-to-day operations in various agencies, they can interact in a positive way with persons in positions of authority and are exposed to real career options for the future,” Walker-Morley explained.

Last month, the program also collaborated with the Royal Bahamas Police Force summer camp and the Elijhay’s Hilltop Cottage Ministries Camp Extraordinaire 2016. Plans are in progress for the newly certified facilitators to set up community dialogues at venues within neighborhoods, where persons can talk about the impact of crime and leaders can apply new techniques from the training.

RAPP falls under the Washington, D.C.-based PADF and is fully funded by the United States Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. In addition to work in New Providence, organizers will extend the program throughout The Bahamas including Grand Bahama, Abaco, Exuma, Eleuthera and Mayaguana. Currently, RAPP (Resistance And Prevention Program) is active in The Bahamas, Trinidad and Suriname. 

Le Nouvelliste | Tapis Rouge Pour Quatre Entrepreneurs Haïtiens

Le Nouvelliste

Tapis rouge pour quatre entrepreneurs haïtiens à l'ambassade américaine

L’ambassadeur Peter Mulrean a célébré en grande pompe, le jeudi 7 juillet 2016, le retour en Haïti de quatre entrepreneurs haïtiens à la suite de leur participation au Sommet mondial sur l’entrepreneuriat (Global Entrepreneurship Summit), plus connu sous le nom de GES 2016, et organisé par le président Obama à l'Université de Stanford, du 22 au 24 juin 2016.

Accueillis en véritables héros par l’ambassade américaine à Port-au-Prince, les quatre participants haïtiens ont fait le point sur leur expérience à ce sommet auquel plus de 700 entrepreneurs de 170 pays et plus de 300 investisseurs ont pris part. Kalinda Magloire, de SWITCH, S.A., Myrtha Vilbon, de Glory Industries, Elan Moncher, Action et Coopération en Développement (ACOD) et Diderot Musset, de SURTAB, ont tous témoigné leur reconnaissance envers les officiels américains. « Nous sommes tous très fiers d’avoir été sélectionnés et d’avoir pu assister à cet événement de grande envergure. Nous sommes très reconnaissants envers l’ambassade américaine, l’USAID et le projet LEAD d’abord de nous avoir informés de cette opportunité, ensuite pour tout l’encadrement qu’ils nous ont fourni », a déclaré Kalinda Magloire qui s’exprimait au nom de ses collègues.

Les quatre entreprises ont reçu des investissements du projet dénommé «Application effective et optimisation des investissements directs/ Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) », une initiative financée par l'Agence américaine pour le développement international (USAID), et mis en oeuvre par la Fondation panaméricaine de développement (PADF), qui prend en charge les petites et moyennes entreprises en Haïti.

Nadia Cherrouk, directrice de la Fondation panaméricaine de développement (PADF), et aussi directrice du programme LEAD, n’a pas tari d’éloges sur les quatre entrepreneurs haïtiens qui, selon elle, ont mérité amplement leur participation à ce sommet mondial. « Nous avons été très fiers d’avoir quatre entreprises haïtiennes appuyées par l’USAID et le programme LEAD qui ont
été sélectionnées pour faire cette représentation impressionnante », atelle déclaré.

Sélectionnés parmi 5 000 candidats à travers le monde, les quatre entrepreneurs haïtiens, comme ils l’attestent euxmêmes, ont eu l’opportunité de faire beaucoup de networking et ont pu ainsi échanger avec les CEO de Facebook, de Google, de LinkedIn, entre autres.

« Une des choses dont il a été beaucoup question lors de ce sommet, c’est la nécessité de dépasser l’apparente contradiction entre la recherche de profit et l’impact social », rapporte Kalinda Magloire, de SWITCH S.A., qui commercialise des fours à gaz propane à travers la diaspora haïtienne grâce aux envois de fonds.

Ces quatre ambassadeurs d’Haïti ont ainsi saisi avec panache l’opportunité de projeter une autre image d’Haïti, et selon Elan Moncher, d’Action et Coopération en Développement (ACOD), ils sont prêts à partager cette expérience avec ceux qui souhaitent se lancer dans l’entrepreneuriat. Diderot Musset, de SURTAB, pour sa part, affirme qu’au GES 2016, il était beaucoup question d’innovation. L’innovation, selon ce qu’il a retenu, c’est tourner à gauche quand tout le monde tourne à droite. Et ils ont tous effectué le virage à gauche et reviennent au pays convaincus que l’entrepreneuriat est la planche de salut apte à combattre la pauvreté et le chômage.

Peter F. Mulrean, magnanime, s’est effacé pour faire place aux « héros du jour» qui se sont retrouvés donc sous les feux des projecteurs. L’ambassadeur américain a donc réitéré l’éventail de programmes dont disposent en Haïti l’USAID et ses partenaires pour soutenir les entrepreneurs et le secteur commercial, à savoir notamment des stages de formation pour les hommes d’affaires, de l’aide dans la recherche de financement pour des projets, des
financements ou cofinancements pour aider les entrepreneurs à lancer leurs affaires.

Miami Herald | How one Woman is Bringing Hygiene to Haiti

Miami Herald BY JACQUELINE CHARLES

Jun 21, 2016 -- Myrtha Vilbon, the owner of Glory Industries, shows off the first company to manufacture toilet paper in Haiti. She'll be among four Haitian entrepreneurs attending the Global Entrepreneurial Summit at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, with President Barack Obama. Jacqueline Charles jcharles@miamiherald.com

Port-au-Prince —  It comes in packaging with labels like Joy and Glory, a nod to Haitians’ deep spirituality and to a time when all she had was prayer after losing her fortune in a milk-distribution deal turned sour.

Now Myrtha Vilbon, who spent nine years shuffling between her Bible and her computer after seeing her business slip away, is rebuilding from scratch with the most basic of products — toilet paper.

“A great majority — about 40 percent of the population here — cannot afford toilet paper,” said Vilbon, the owner of Glory Industries, a company manufacturing toilet paper in Haiti. “Toilet paper is a luxury.”

In a year’s time, Vilbon, 58, has gone from a woman unable to get banks to support her $2.4 million toilet-paper-making venture to one where she can choose her own lenders. And this week, she’ll be among four Haitian entrepreneurs attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, with President Barack Obama. The seventh annual summit takes place Wednesday through Friday, and Obama will address the group on the final day.

More than 5,000 entrepreneurs from around the world submitted applications, but only 700 were chosen to attend. All our of the Haitian enterprise — Glory Industries, SWITCH, SURTAB and ACOD — represent new ventures that are tackling the challenges of launching a business in a country with a complex business environment.

And while Haiti’s current economic indicators are the same or worse than in 2008 when the country experienced food riots — and now there is political instability, as well — U.S. officials say the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded programs like LEAD are helping.

“There is progress,” a U.S. government official said.

A year and a half ago, Vilbon, struggling to get her project financed, entered LEAD’s rigorous business plan competition on the advice of a family friend and won. She used the resulting $200,000 U.S. government grant as leverage to raise more than $1 million in additional investment.

“With the funding from USAID, financiers grew a little more faith,” she said. “I was even dictating the terms, when before I couldn’t even get one penny to put into the project.”

While access to credit for women entrepreneurs in Haiti is scarce, the country is one of the worst for doing business. It ranks 182 out of 189 on the World Bank’s annual 2016 Doing Business Index, and even worse — 188 out of 189 — for starting a business.

As for the ease in getting credit, the ranking isn’t that much better. It ranks 174 out of 189.

“I knocked on doors; many financial doors and opportunities weren’t offered to me,” said Vilbon, who had 37 years of business experience and a reputation for turning a profit. “A woman in industry is not so well viewed, so there was a little bit of a gender problem.”

Sitting in her expansive office where her low-cost brand of toilet paper occupies a conference table overlooking the factory floor, Vilbon strongly believes that financial institutions saw her project as lower-risk because of LEAD’s strict review.

How Vilbon ended up in the toilet-paper business is an example of bouncing back — and of one woman’s determination not to let shrewd foreign negotiators and Haitian cut-throat business tactics get the best of her.

Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Vilbon learned about business from her father, Max, who was the maker of one of Haiti’s most well-known candies, Menthes Alta.

He sent her to the United States at age 14, where she eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at St. John’s University in New York. On her return to Haiti, she briefly joined the family’s confectionery business. Soon, however, she opened a boutique confectionery store where she was buying candies and cookies wholesale and reselling them to both wholesalers and retailers.

“I was in contact every day with the little merchants, sellers, and that made me happy,” she said. “I saw the business grow.”

When cheaper imported candies began undercutting her profits, she traveled to the ports in Port-de-Paix to learn more about the problem. The experience would prove valuable decades later, giving her insight into the world of the Madan Saras, the Haitian market women who resell products on the streets to the country’s poor masses. Today, these women push her most popular and affordable toilet-paper roll, TouTou NI — which means naked in Creole — in places that trucks and buses can’t reach. Smaller than the average toilet-paper roll, the brand costs the equivalent of 16 cents and has enough paper for about 10 uses.

When confectioneries became unprofitable, Vilbon became the local agent for a Dutch brand of milk, Bella Holandesa. She later added other grocery store items from Brazil and France.

“I built an empire and I made a lot of money,” she said. “But I soon started losing my products either by mergers or by other people taking over the brands.”

Soon, she was left with only one product, Bella Holandesa. That’s where Vilbon received her toughest lesson in business.

After 17 years, she lost her distribution deal with the product, unwittingly signing away her legal ability to collect on compensation and over $1 million in back commissions, she said.

The experience sent her to her Bible and eventually her computer, where she soon became “a professor in toilet-paper making.”

Why toilet paper?
“I felt I would be working for a good cause. I was contributing to better hygiene for the people of Haiti,” she said. “I thought it was a product that would be in great demand and be of great service to the community, and that would be the cheapest thing to invest in, in production.”

At a time when many Haitian businesses are laying off workers and one other toilet paper company, Tendress, was recently forced to shut down its operations, Vilbon says she’s having the opposite experience.

“We’re trying to get more funds to buy a new set of machinery to be able to satisfy more needs, to reach out to more communities with our papers,” she said. She has plans to scale up, expanding into another warehouse. 

Walking the warehouse floor, Vilbon proudly points out her eight registered labels that now occupy about 5 percent of the Haitian market, which is dominated by toilet paper imported from the Dominican Republic. She notes that she knows every step of the operations.

She has created over 100 jobs, and about 70 percent of the workers in her factory are women.

“I would like to empower every woman to believe in themselves,” she said. “When women do something, they focus more on it because they know they have something to prove. Even in their subconscious, they invest themselves.”

She preaches perseverance, patience and a passion to achieve.

“Every bad thing that happens to me in life somehow brings me something positive. I am today an attorney. I went back to school and after five years graduated last September and got a law degree.”

The path to success isn’t a straight line, Vilbon said.

“It’s a broken line. You are going to fall, you are going to stumble. But don’t get discouraged.”

Ecuador's Quake: News Wanes, Needs Persist

Capital Wire
By Marcela Miguel Berland
Op Ed   

©UNICEF/ECU/2016/Castellanos

New York City, NY - Nearly 30,000 people are in emergency shelters. Thousands of buildings are destroyed and major damage to infrastructure has burdened a cash-strapped country not equipped to respond to the crisis. That is the situation confronting Ecuador following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 16. 

The sad reality is that media coverage is waning much too quickly for a disaster of this size and, consequently, so is public interest. The needs of Ecuadorians, however, are not waning.  They persist.  A glimpse of news from Ecuador and elsewhere in Latin America reveals great needs of the more than 750,000 people affected: humanitarian supplies, temporary shelter, assistance to traumatized communities, demolition and rubble removal, and rebuilding lives and family incomes. 

Here in the U.S. we are readily distracted from the plight of Ecuador’s quake victims by other international crises and opportunities and, of course, the primary election contests.  But in Ecuador, the suffering continues.

Behind the scenes, one organization is working mightily to channel aid to Ecuador’s quake victims: the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), an affiliate of the Organization of American States (OAS). Established in the 1960s by John Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress with the dynamic leadership of OAS Secretary General and former Ecuadorian president Galo Plaza Lasso, PADF continues to implement vital development projects in the region. 

Immediately after the quake, the Foundation mobilized its Ecuadorian NGO partners to deliver much-needed humanitarian supplies to isolated rural communities near the earthquake’s epicenter. For nearly six decades, the Foundation has responded to every major disaster in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its story should be better known.

In January 2010, when an earthquake struck Haiti, PADF was among the first responders, shipping relief supplies from Santo Domingo and Miami, and opening a humanitarian corridor to Port-au-Prince.  This is just one example of the agility and speed of PADF.  It has aided victims of drought in La Guajira department in northern Colombia, volcanic eruptions in Colombia and Ecuador, hurricanes and tropical storms in the Caribbean, droughts and earthquakes in Central America, and floods and other humanitarian crises throughout the region.

An independent 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, the Foundation has developed successful public-private partnerships with leading U.S. corporations wishing to invest in the social development of the region.  Today, corporate partners like Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and private donors continue to support PADF programs, such as the response in Ecuador.   

“We have been touched by the overwhelming needs of so many people along the Ecuadorian coast,” says John Sanbrailo, PADF Executive Director. “Families have lost their homes, their livelihoods and their sense of security. The pain they are experiencing is indescribable. This is why we must do more to provide the assistance they urgently need and help them to begin rebuilding their lives.”

As Ecuador begins the recovery process, the country can draw upon experienced international organizations like PADF that specialize in the region and are familiar with and sensitive to the needs of local communities. For my part, I know PADF is dedicated to creating sustainable development that will allow Ecuador to flourish long after the rubble has been cleared. These are the kind of long-term partners it will need to rebuild, and we should support their efforts in any way we can.

As I reflect on Ecuador’s tragedy, I am reminded of the saying, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Contributions can be made at www.padf.org/HelpEcuador

Marcela Miguel Berland, a native of Argentina, is an expert in Latin America and founder and president of New York-based Latin Insights, a political and market research polling firm. She is a member of PADF’s Advisory Committee.

El Diario | Más voces se unen por el país

El Diario

La solidaridad con Ecuador es tan grande que ahora una estrella musical se unió a esta causa.

 El día de ayer, los medios mundiales destacaron que ahora es el cantante venezolano Ricardo Montaner el que encabeza una cruzada solidaria llamada ‘¡Unámonos por Ecuador!’,  proyecto que lidera el artista y la Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo (PADF), brazo humanitario de la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA).

‘¡Unámonos por Ecuador!’ tiene como objetivo utilizar la influencia de Montaner para obtener más patrocinadores corporativos y donaciones para las familias afectadas por el terremoto que estremeció a Ecuador el pasado 16 de abril.

DECLARACIONES. Según el cantante del éxito ‘La Gloria de Dios’, “es hora de que todo el mundo se conmueva para ayudar a Ecuador. “‘¡Unámonos por Ecuador!’ Tu donativo puede ser una luz de esperanza para los más necesitados. Envía tu donación ahora, por favor”, dijo en un video promocional de la iniciativa solidaria.

Montaner invita además a que las personas que quieran colaborar con alimentos, agua, kits de higiene, materiales para construir refugios, herramientas y otros suministros de socorro, visiten la página web padf.org/helpecuador.

Exponentes ecuatorianos también ayudarán a los damnificados
Por su parte, otro de los artistas que se ha unido a organismos internacionales para recaudar donaciones para Ecuador tras el sismo, es el cantante quiteño Juan Fernando Velasco. Él encabeza la campaña ‘Aquí estoy Ecuador’ con el Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo en Ecuador (PNUD), y tiene previsto llevar a cabo un concierto benéfico que está pactado para el 15 de mayo  y que además contará con la presencia de artistas nacionales e internacionales como Noel Schajris, Fonseca, entre muchos más.

Fox News Latino | Unos 9.000 guatemaltecos desarrollan resistencia al cambio climático y sequía

Unas 9.000 personas de dos pequeños municipios del departamento guatemalteco de El Progreso, ubicado en pleno Corredor Seco, una de las zonas más afectadas por el cambio climático, desarrollarán resistencia a este fenómeno y mitigarán los efectos de la desnutrición.

Así se desprende del programa "Yo me adapto", presentado hoy en el municipio de Sanarate y desarrollado por la Oficina de EE.UU. en Asistencia para Desastres en el Extranjero de la Agencia de para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID/OFDA) y la Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo (PADF, por sus siglas en inglés).

Esta iniciativa tiene como fin mejorar la seguridad alimentaria y la resiliencia de 1.500 familias agricultoras vulnerables, es decir, unas 9.000 personas de los municipios de Sanarate y Sansare, ambos ubicados en el departamento de El Progreso, con un presupuesto de medio millón de dólares.

El proyecto promueve técnicas y tecnologías agrícolas climáticamente inteligentes, preparando a las familias para un clima más árido y caluroso.

La información y las tecnologías se difunden a través de Centros de Aprendizaje de Desarrollo Rural (CADERs), donde diversos técnicos imparten capacitaciones para desarrollar planes de acción comunitarios con potencia para generar ingresos y mejorar las condiciones de vida de estas personas, con semillas preparadas y maíz y frijol híbridos.

El gerente de proyectos PADF en Guatemala, Fernando Castanza Ruano, explicó que este tipo de materiales, igual que la semilla criolla, están adaptados al lugar y en una época en la que el clima es muy cambiante es necesario proteger estas cosechas.

Estas técnicas, agregó, se van a extender a otros vegetales como espinas, acelgas, brócoli y otras especies necesarias para garantizar la seguridad alimentaria nutricional.

Esta "agricultura inteligente", explicó la gerente general de PDAF, Caterina Valero, tiene como fin extenderse posteriormente a otras comunidades, por lo que la siembra empezará en los próximos meses.

Solo en Guatemala, la disminución de las precipitaciones causó en 2015 la pérdida de entre el 80 y el 100 % de los cultivos de los pequeños productores de maíz y fríjol, situación que afecta, mayoritariamente, a niños, mujeres y poblaciones indígenas.

La peor parte de los efectos de El Niño la lleva Centroamérica, donde la sequía es una de las más severas de las últimas décadas y ya deja 3,5 millones de personas afectadas y, según las autoridades de El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua y Guatemala, al borde de una hambruna, ya que los pronósticos indican que las lluvias llegarán de la mano de La Niña este mes de mayo. ACAN-EFE

El Nuevo Herald | Ricardo Montaner pide ayuda para las víctimas del terremoto en Ecuado

El cantautor venezolano Ricardo Montaner es la nueva cara de una campaña humanitaria en la que pide donaciones para los ecuatorianos afectados por el terremoto que sacudió al país el 16 de abril.

“¡Unámonos por Ecuador! Tu donativo puede ser una luz de esperanza para los más necesitados. Envía tu donación ahora, por favor”, solicita Montaner en un video publicado en YouTube el lunes.

La iniciativa es parte de una colaboración entre el artista y la Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo (PADF), el brazo humanitario de la Organización de los Estados Americanos, que tiene como objetivo utilizar la influencia de Montaner para obtener más patrocinadores corporativos y donaciones.

“Este terremoto ha sido el más fuerte que ha sufrido Ecuador en décadas. Nuestra prioridad es ayudar a los más vulnerables para minimizar el impacto humano, económico y social que este tipo de situaciones provoca en un país”, dijo Caterina Valero, Gerente General de Programas de PADF. “Nuestra Fundación trabaja con organizaciones locales y grupos comunitarios para asegurar que su donativo llegue eficientemente a donde más se necesita”.

El sismo de 7.8 en la escala Richter, que afectó principalmente la costa central, dejó un saldo de más de 650 muertos, 4,600 lesionados, y más de 25,000 damnificados permanecen en albergues.

La organización indicó que las necesidades prioritarias más importantes son: alimentos, agua potable, kits de higiene, materiales para construir refugios, herramientas y otros suministros de socorro.

De esta manera, Montaner se suma a otros artistas como el reggaetonero Nicky Jam, y el cantautor nicaragüense Luis Enrique, que están brindado su apoyo a las víctimas del terremoto.

Para hacer donaciones al PADF visite padf.org/helpecuador.

La comunidad del sur de la Florida se volcó este lunes en ayuda a las víctimas del desastroso terremoto que azotó a Ecuador la noche del sábado 16 de abril.

Le Nouvelliste: LEAD: L’alliage Payant du Financement et de l’assistance Technique des PME

Le Nouvelliste
Sous les auspices de la PADF, des entrepreneurs de Port-au-Prince, de St-Marc et du Cap-Haïtien ont eu une matinée d’échanges la semaine écoulée avec des représentants d’institutions de la sphère, notamment le ministère des Finances, le CFI, etc. Il s’agit pour les responsables du projet LEAD, financé par l’USAID et implémenté par la PADF, de créer une synergie entre entrepreneurs et les institutions partenaires du secteur financier.

32 chefs de PME ont participé à une matinée d’échanges et de formation la semaine écoulée . Cet événement, auquel ont pris part également des représentants d’institutions financières, de consultants et de firmes de services au PME, s’inscrit dans le sillage d’une assistance technique et d’une plateforme d’échanges à l’intention des entreprises bénéficiaires du projet LEAD, selon la directrice du projet, Nadia Cherrouk, qui espère reproduire ce format. Cet échange poursuit également l’objectif d’un réseautage entre les entreprises aux fins de créer des opportunités de collaboration, ou d’échange de produits. Il s’agit pour la PADF de concrétiser l’un des voletsphare du projet LEAD, financé par la USAID et implémenté par la PADF, qu’est l’assistance technique.

« Le programme a débuté en juillet 2011 et vient en appui aux PME. Nous offrons une assistance financière et une assistance technique. L’assistance financière est donnée à travers un véhicule de compétition de plans d’affaires. Les meilleurs plans d’affaires sont financés. Pour le volet de l’assistante technique, le projet offre une assistance dans la gestion, la comptabilité, la production, etc. Tous ces efforts sont faits pour que le PME devienne beaucoup plus bancable, pour qu’elle puisse avoir accès à travers des institutions financières », a expliqué celle qui est également directeur pays de la PADF.

En marge de l’activité, Herrick Dessources, représentant du ministère du Commerce et de l’Industrie, n’a pas tari d’éloges sur ce projet ainsi que cette plateforme d’échange initiée par la PADF. Selon lui, ce projet rejoint l’une des prérogatives du MCI consistant à promouvoir le développement des entreprises dans le pays  « Toutes les institutions œuvrant dans ce domaine nous viennent en appui. Le ministère du Commerce a répondu à l’appel car il estime que ce projet vient en aide au MCI, qui prend à cœur le développement et l’accompagnement des PME », a indiqué celui qui coordonne le service de gestion des microparcs au MCI.  

M. Dessources espère que les entrepreneurs pourront venir au ministère afin de découvrir l’ensemble des outils disponibles pour appuyer la création et le développement des entreprises. « Nous cherchons des entrepreneurs, notamment dans les filières prioritaires comme l’agro-industrie, la mécanique, la manufacture et la biotechnologie », fait-il savoir.

Le SOGEPA, une entreprise exportant le cacao vers les États-Unis, fait partie des 10 premières bénéficiaires de ce programme qui accompagne actuellement 32 entreprises et qui projette d’en accompagner 50. Le patron du SOGEPA, qui souligne que le projet a permis à son entreprise d’embaucher plus de personnes et améliorer sa capacité de production, se montre très satisfait des retombées de cette matinée d’échanges. « Nous avons reçu beaucoup d’informations ce matin, notamment en ce qui concerne le ministère du Commerce, le CFI, etc. Ces informations concernent les plans de développement et d’accompagnement, que nous ignorions auparavant. Nous savons maintenant que nous pouvons en bénéficier », affirme Yves Laurent, qui explique que cette occasion lui a permis d’être au parfum des difficultés que rencontrent ses confrères entrepreneurs et aussi de partager les siennes. « C’est en partageant les défis qu’on parviendra à trouver les pistes de solutions », argue-t-il.  

Même son de cloche pour le patron de la boulangerie de l’Enfant Jésus qui se montre très satisfait des retombées de la participation de son entreprise à ce projet. Son entreprise crée 30 emplois directs et plus de 300 emplois indirects. « Ce projet nous a été d’un grand support. Il nous a permis de démarrer beaucoup plus vite et de moderniser ce qu’on a. On est en train de travailler sur la standardisation du local et du produit qu’on offre. Sans LEAD, cela aurait pris beaucoup plus de temps. On pense déjà à répondre aux normes internationales de la fabrication du pain », détaille-t-il, se félicitant de la qualité du produit que son entreprise offre sur le marché.  

LEAD  est un programme financé par l’USAID et implémenté par la PADF. Il vise  à encourager les  investissements  de petites et moyennes entreprises basées  en Haïti, notamment à Port-au-Prince, à St-Marc et au Cap-Haïtien. 

Haitian Times | Strengthening Women's Economic Opportunity in Haiti

Haitian Times
By Vania Andre

Vionise Fortuna

Vionise Fortuna

Twenty-eight year old Vionise Fortuna used to make her living selling paper napkins and plastic cups to merchants near the Haitian-Dominican border. With little training and skills on hand to leverage, finding a secure job, in a male-dominated country with high rates of unemployment seemed impossible. However, one day her luck would change after being recommended to a program for vocational training for women in Haiti.

Women face barriers to economic opportunity in Haiti because of “predominant social beliefs that they are inferior to men,” the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, said in a report. “Discrimination against women is a structural feature in Haitian society.

Although Haitian women face a dire situation in traditional and structural realms of the workforce in Haiti, they are nonetheless pillars of economic life for the small island country. The most visible members of Haiti’s economy are the Madan Saras, a term coined for female travelling merchants, who buy goods and resell them in marketplaces or along roadsides.

Fortuna was able to find her way out of this commerce cycle after taking part in the Pan American Development Foundation’s (PADF) LEAD program, which develops programs to support equal economic access for women. Under their program, Fortuna received a job with stove manufacturer SWITCH.

“I always dreamed of working a traditional profession,” she said. Here, I use “my skills in the company and I provide training to the street merchants who use the switch propane stoves.”

For International Women’s Day, PADF renewed their commitment to gender equality, and giving women an equal footing in Haiti’s economy.

“This year’s International Women’s Day theme is Pledge for Parity, which aims to increase gender parity around the world by encouraging people to take concrete steps in that direction,” PADF Haiti Country Director Nadia Cherrouk, said.

As part of their pledge, PADF plans to reach 60 million people in 2017, including 30 million women and youth. They also match grants to help grow women’s businesses and spur job creation and connect them with local business associations and banking institutions to obtain seed capital.

To date, the LEAD program has funded 11 women-owned or women-led businesses out of 32 funded enterprises and leveraged over $10 million in private capital. These businesses have created more than 9,000 direct and indirect jobs, of which 48 percent are held by women, across the Port-au-Prince, St. Marc and Cap-Haitian areas. They represent various sectors of the Haitian economy including agriculture and agri-business, recycling, manufacturing, retail, clean energy, apparel and service.

“PADF strongly believes that investing in women and girls is key to lessening income inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean and improving quality of life.”

Haiti is currently in a “reconstruction” phase. While in this transition period of rebuilding and renewal, unique opportunities have risen to shape the county’s future.
Women’s roles in reconstruction efforts are critical, Jennifer Rosenberg of New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity, said.

“One of the most critical factors that will determine which path Haiti takes is the extent to which gender concerns are brought to the fore in the reconstruction process,” she said. “For reconstruction to be successful addressing issues of gender must be a priority from the very beginning.”

Women’s participation in the labor force has direct economic benefits, and helps to alleviate poverty. According to the World Bank, 70 million women in Latin America and the Caribbean have joined the workforce in the past 20 years. This has reduced extreme poverty by 30 percent in the past decade.

“Providing girls and women with increased access to education, jobs, healthcare, and other services has a substantial ripple effect, improving not only individual quality of life, but also that of the surrounding community,” Cherrouk, said. “Women multiply the impact of investments by extending the benefits far beyond themselves.”