Fonkoze is Haiti's alternative bank for the organized poor. Fonkoze’s mission is to alleviate poverty, help the economy grow, and promote self-reliance in Haiti. It does so by providing the poor with micro-credit, small business financing, financial services and educational training. As of June 30, 2009, Fonkoze has 40 branches, 55,000 active borrowers and 190,000 depositors.
Fonkoze offers many services and programs including:
- Microcredit lending- Fonkoze employs the “Solidarity Group Lending” methodology. Each group has 5 members, with one leader. Fonkoze provides an initial loan of about US$120 to each member, who invests the money in his or her microbusiness. The group is responsible for paying back the loan, so if one member defaults on payments, the others must cover the loss.
- Banking Services- Fonkoze provides savings, money transfer, and currency exchange services.
- Business Development Program- Fonkoze works to build viable businesses outside of Port-au-Prince that create jobs or provide the rural population with access to export markets. Currently, Fonkoze provides loans to both individual business owners and agricultural cooperatives. Local investments by individuals and institutions provide capital to Fonkoze; however, it also accepts US investments from American investors.
- Literacy, business skills, women's health, children's rights and environmental protection education for borrowers—Fonkoze’s education program serves credit members with client-led, discussion-based educational modules
- Life and credit microinsurance— All credit clients are enrolled in a free credit-life insurance program through Fonkoze partner Alternative Insurance Company (AIC). In the event that a client dies, her debt is dismissed and her family receives a small amount of money to assist with funeral costs.
- International Deposit Service– Fonkoze allows people anywhere in the United States or Canada to deposit money in their friend or family’s Fonkoze account simply by calling a toll-free number or emailing the organization.
- Social Performance Monitoring— Fonkoze monitors the changes that occur in the lives of their clients. Fonkoze’s social performance team interviews thousands of clients a year to better understand the effects of the institution’s financial and non-financial services, to understand their clients’ needs, and to monitor client satisfaction.• In the U.S., a prepaid Visa® card—Haitian Diaspora living abroad can send up to $2,500 to Haiti for a flat fee of $6.
Fonkoze's mission is to serve poor, rural women in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. They are reaching their target clientele, as 84 percent of their clients live in rural areas, 57% live below the internationall-recognized $1/day PPP poverty line and 73% live under $2/day PPP. Currently, 99 percent of their microloans are to women as Fonkoze believes that, "When the women dish out the food, everyone eats." Many of these women are street vendors, or Ti Machann. Fonkoze's clients are typically uneducated, as 60 percent of their clients are illiterate when they join the program.
Fonkoze clients consisted of the Haitian poor and ultra-poor. Results from Fonkoze's poverty scorecard demonstrate that 57% of Fonkoze's clients live under $1/day PPP, and 73% live under $2/day PPP. Social performance data from 2008 demonstrate that both hunger and poverty incidence decreased among clients that had been with Fonkoze for 1-2 years, as compared to their baseline survey results. Additionally, Fonkoze's Basic Literacy and Education program served almost 22,000 clients in 2008. Finally, satisfaction among Fonkoze clients is a high 94%.
Jouseline has been a member of Fonkoze for a couple of years. She sells small electronics – radios, tape players – and accessories out of a small stand near the cathedral in Gonaïves. Her business is growing, thanks to her hard work and to loans from Fonkoze.
When she heard that Fonkoze would be offering literacy classes in her credit center, she was excited. As a child, she had never had the chance to learn to read and write. “Other literacy programs drag you away from your work everyday. I’m a businesswomen. I don’t have all that time. When I learned that I could learn to read and write right in my credit center, and that I’d only have to go once or twice a week, I knew this was my chance.”