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International development

Improving financial independence for women and food security for their families

May 18, 2021

In the Grande Anse Department of southern Haiti, cocoa and yams are mostly grown by women. That is why Global Affairs Canada has entrusted Développement international Desjardins (DID) and the other NGOs in the Alliance agricole internationale (CECI, SOCODEVI and UPA DI) with increasing the economic value and climate resilience of these two crops. The AVETI project thus strengthens the economic autonomy of women living in rural areas while reducing their vulnerability to adverse climate events.

As part of this major project, DID is working to improve access to financing for female cocoa and yam farmers, a key condition for the sustainability and success of their activities. In close collaboration with the other project partners, DID works directly with women to strengthen their capacity to access credit, and with financial institutions to help them better respond to the needs of these women.

Over the past few months, 17 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) have been established in cooperation with the three participating local financial institutions. These VSLAs have made financial and support services available to 469 farmers (58% of whom are women, and 27%, young people). The services are focused on financing their activities, saving money and protecting them from day-to-day risks. Loans have already been given to 208 members, 58 percent being women.

Marie Anglesanne Oscar is one of them. 38 years old and a mother of five, she is proud today to display her membership in the MOCAC cooperative, partner of the AVETI project. "Thanks to the project, I received agricultural training and was able to join a VSLA, which helped me build savings and access credit. The loan I received allowed me to strengthen my small business, become self-sufficient and take care of my children."

The project has also helped to improve synergy between farmer associations and financial institutions in order to enhance cooperation between them and assist the associations in establishing a financial history with the financial institutions.