Through small businesses, Haitian women anchor economic reboot

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Ninite Eltêbe, 56, is a resilient Haitian woman who lost her business after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Within three years, she was the leader of a cooperative of 25 women who raise and sell chickens locally.

“I enrolled in a three-month skills development training programme on chicken rearing that allowed me to take care of my family, including my husband, who suffers from a partial paralysis, my children and the children of my dead brother. This project helped us move forward,” says Ninite.

Highlights

  • UNDP has helped clear more than 90% of earthquake debris, creating more than 400,000 temporary jobs.
  • 11,000 displaced families, about 44,000 people, have received assistance in returning to their old neighbourhoods; 50 displacement camps have been closed.
  • Nearly 1,000 women have completed vocational and professional training.
  • More than 750 small and micro-enterprises have been established or strengthened through training, mentoring and access to credit.

Playing a vital role in their coun­try’s response to the catastrophe, Haitian women have gone back to work, clearing rubble and rebuilding homes. They represent 52 percent of Haiti’s 10 million people, and nearly 50 percent of them are engaged in economic activity outside the home. Small businesses in the country are primarily owned by women who support one or more families with their incomes.

With UNDP core funding and financial support from various partners, nearly 1,000 women from Port-au-Prince’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods benefited from a combination of employment and entrepreneurship programmes. These women were provided with training, technical assistance, and access to micro-credit to start or reinforce a business.

Starting from the ground up, the project created a network of partners, including community councils, government institutions and civil society to develop eight job creation projects such as crafts, tailoring, chicken rearing and construction, so that lessons learned from these initiatives could be used to feed into national public initiatives that support women’s economic integration.

Thanks to this initiative, 4,500 new jobs have been created; 350 micro-enterprises have been established in line with the demands of the market; and more than 400 businesses have been strengthened through training, mentoring and access to credit.

Ninite’s dream is to expand her business while contributing to the creation of new jobs for people from her neighbourhood. She already employs 2 young men who help her with daily tasks such as feeding the chickens or cleaning the coops.

“Thanks to the money I earn selling chickens I can send my kids to school,” she says.

Efforts are already under way to scale up the programme to other parts of the country. Because to its success the initiative is being used as a model by the Haitian Government to identify regional markets, share knowledge, and create job centres to reach even more vulnerable populations nationally.

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