I just got the following in a email off a listserve that has spent a lot of time wondering how to help women’s groups in Haiti that are run by Haitian women. As these rescue efforts unfold, so much of the money to help is going to NGO’s (Non Government Organizations)–and Haiti especially has a long unfortunate history of being fairly screwed over by NGOs. If the entire population is not being helped by a NGO–then sexism, misogyny and other forms of violence and power often make women the *least* helped.
I don’t know any of these organizations–so please be sure to do your own research before you donate! But the way I figure it, donating money to an NGO has just about as much chance as helping actual affected people as a shit on the ground organization does. So I’d rather donate to a potentially shit on the ground organization on the more than likely chance that it really is an awesome org.
Women’s Groups in Haiti
1. Dwa Fanm (means Women’s Rights in Creole)
Recent GFW Grantee Partners in Haiti
3. Fondation TOYA [TOYA Foundation], Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Fondation TOYA works to raise the standard of living throughout the slum area of Cité Soleil through the empowerment of young women in the community. The group promotes women’s entrepreneurship by implementing a micro-finance structure that facilitates access to credit for women in the informal sector. The program focuses on young women who are unemployed and/or are heads of household who live in situations of socio-economic vulnerability. It allows the young women to reach financial independence, take charge of their lives, and also helps them to access health services.
4. Association Femmes Soleil D’Haiti [Sun Women’s Association of Haiti], Cap-Haitien, Haiti.
AFASDA was formed in the wake of the three-year coup in Haiti (1991-1994), because as the group states, “after the bloody coup…it was repression. No one could move. It was said that women couldn’t remain with their arms crossed. It was necessary to do something. We began with a little seed of reflection and that’s what became AFASDA.” A grassroots group, AFASDA works to advance women’s rights through programs such as organizing for potable water and creating educational opportunities for street children and rural women.
5. Mouvman Peyizan Papay/Fanm MPP (Women of the Peasant Movement of Papay), Pètion Ville, Haiti.
Emerging from the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP), Fanm MPP was created in 1980 to “concentrate on understanding women’s unique development needs, advancing women’s rights and empowering women to participate in their own development.” A broad-based organization with several focus areas, the group is currently applying GFW funding to its “Engaging Women in Holistic Health and Environmental Protection” project. Through this project, the group teaches women to install family and community composting latrines and family cisterns so families have clean water for household use, and to plant fruit trees, vegetables and legumes for family consumption. The project also includes training in and implementation of organic agriculture and environmental conservation methods, and education in nutrition and the use of medicinal plants.
6. Organisation Femmes Victimes de Solino [Organization of Women Victims of Solino] (OFVS), Solino, Haiti
OFVS works with women in the slum of Solino who have suffered violence and loss of earning capacity as a result of the social unrest in the area resulting from the proliferation of armed gangs. The majority of the group’s members are single mothers, with 90 percent having been directly or indirectly affected by violence. Many of the women had previously run small businesses that allowed them to support their families; but as a result of the local violence have lost their businesses, if not their families and their homes. OFSV notes, “The majority of the women have lost all their business activities, and were forced to pay a ransom daily to the heads of gangs that took over the area so as not to be attacked again…the women have been victims of theft, burglary, and rape.” OFVS’ programs provide counseling to survivors of violence, financial aid to restart businesses, and legal aid to seek redress for the crimes committed against them. focus on strengthening the decision-making capacity of women in Solino as well as help them to develop their self-confidence.
7. Kodinasyon Solidarité Fanm Djanm Sid, KOSOFADS [Dynamic Women of the South Solidarity Network] (KOSOFADS) Les Cayes, Haiti
KOSOFADS emerged to promote women’s economic independence, access to health care, and the eradication of domestic violence. The association brings poor women together in workshops, during which participants are encouraged to both discuss violations of women’s rights in their communities as well as devise strategies to resolve such abuse. KOSOFADS also produces radio and television programs that air in Haiti and focus on various issues related to women’s rights.