This success story was adapted from USAID’s “ATTEINDRE Creates Alliances to Expand Business Training and Services to Women MSMEs. Uplifts Young Mothers with New Sources of Income.”
Esthère-Love Jean is an ambitious woman entrepreneur who runs a small soft drink business. Equipped with drive and determination, she struggles to get by, making only enough money to feed her son. Esthère and other “ti machans” (Haitian creole for small merchants) are the cornerstones of the informal agricultural sector of Haiti, selling their goods in open-air markets, on the roadside, and in remote locations. Yet, despite their importance, they face many challenges: restrictive gender norms prevent them from accessing the finance and other business opportunities they need to grow their businesses and prosper.
The ATTEINDRE project addresses this challenge: In partnership with MEDA and USAID, it is working with a local organization, Sonje Ayiti Organization (SOA), to provide job skills and financial literacy training for single mothers. Through Kore Manman Yo Pou n Klere Timoun Yo (Support Mothers to Enlighten Children) and CEDEL Haiti, a local social enterprise, 500 single mothers between 18-35 years old are gaining food production and processing leadership marketing, and personal development skills.
Through this program, young mothers can become financially independent businesswomen and join a network that helps them grow their businesses, create jobs, and educate other like-minded women. These young women are also gaining crucial financial literacy skills. Twenty-five village loan and savings associations have been created and provide these young women with structured savings approaches, access to credit, and on-the-job training.
Esthère and a few other single mothers were selected by the SOA to participate in the program. They were motivated to participate in the project to learn how to manage their business better, improve their living conditions, and become financially independent. For Esthère, the program allowed her to learn new skills in white vinegar and hot sauce production.
“Thanks to the support of the program, I better manage my small business and have another source of income. This opportunity allows me to save money, take care of my son, and help my parents, six brothers and three sisters with whom I live [with],” Esthère said.
MEDA continues working to provide entrepreneurs in Haiti with the tools they need to prosper and build a more inclusive and prosperous Haiti for women in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Check out more of our Success Stories to learn how entrepreneurs and farmers build solid businesses and livelihoods for themselves and their families.