Haitians left homeless by January’s earthquake are getting construction help from a collaborative venture of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).
MCC contributed $1.43 million to rebuild and repair about 775 homes of microfinance clients of Fonkoze, the country’s leading microfinance provider, most of whom are women. MEDA will administer and monitor the 18-month project, expected to be completed by the end of November next year. Fonkoze has been a long-term partner of MCC and MEDA.
The earthquake not only claimed more than 200,000 lives (including five Fonkoze staff members), it destroyed an estimated 105,000 homes and damaged more than 200,000 others. Nearly 3,000 Fonkoze clients reported not being able to stay in their houses due to destruction or severe damage.
“Most of Fonkoze’s clients cannot afford a loan to build a house,” said Julie Redfern, MEDA’s vice-president of financial services and a member of the Fonkoze board.
Fonkoze will coordinate the training of community teams of masons and carpenters in techniques for building and repairing homes that will be earthquake- and hurricane-resistant. Those teams will predominantly do the building and repair in their home communities, north and south of Port-au-Prince.
All recipients of the construction assistance, plus about 400 more people, will receive training in home ownership and maintenance. Home repairs are estimated to cost $600, and rebuilding will average $3,000.
MEDA began its microfinance work in Haiti in 1986 and in 2004 turned it over to the rapidly growing Fonkoze so its clients could access a wider range of financial services. It remains an investor and active partner of Fonkoze, providing governance as a board member and through advisory services for microfinance.
“Fonkoze is a well-known, well-recognized partner,” said William Reimer, MCC’s director of food, disaster and material resources. “This is a great opportunity for MCC and MEDA to collaborate and work together with Fonkoze. It gives us a chance to build on our combined experience and extend our reach in responding to a very urgent situation.”