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Economic Development Pillar

As a business model, invested members must identify the economic driver of their cooperative. Haiti once one of the richest colonies in the Caribbean, now carries the epitaph of being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. While approximately 80% of Haiti’s population depend on some form of agriculture to make a living, over 70% of its food consumption is dependent on imported product.


The Economic Development Pillar is the second essential pillar in a sustainable development model.


For 35 years, investment in agricultural production was the primary investment of the organization as an economic activity in rural communities. In 2020, in response to identified needs of cooperatives to meet the need of their members, the organization piloted a Cooperative-based Health Services Program.

Agriculture Program

“The hope of Haiti lies with those who have their hands in the soil.”

Jack F. Wall, FIDA Founder

As well as being the most identified economic activity in Haiti, the Agriculture Program aims to influence farmer behaviors and coordinate environmental protection efforts. Through trainings on the ecosystem, agricultural and conservation techniques, and Open Space discussions of what actions to take to promote soil and water conservation, farmers learn to use local resources including plants and trees to conserve soil and water resources, and in turn to increase agricultural productivity in their gardens.


Agricultural activities, particularly those that promote soil conservation and environmental protection are critical to preserving and restoring Haiti. Deforestation and intensive farming have caused dramatic ecological shifts in many areas of Haiti. Rains and hurricanes are unpredictable, making it difficult for farmers to plant. Because the land is deforested and bare, heavy rains cause erosion problems and wash away topsoil, particularly in the areas of high elevation. Intensive farming and erosion have caused soil to lose fertility and productive capability, with dire consequences for a community heavily dependent upon agriculture.

Cooperative-based Health Services Program

In May of 2015, FIDA/pcH met with members and leaders of cooperatives in four areas. Each group was comprised of approximately 25 participants. The discussion points essentially focused on the following:

  • What health care services do you have in your community?

  • What are the challenges you face in meeting your health care needs?

  • What is your ideal vision for health care service for your members?

  • Would you be willing to invest in this vision?

The responses were consistent as were the identified challenges. This was followed by a universal consensus of the vision each had to meet their needs.


A pilot was launched in 2020 with eight cooperatives in the mountain community of Fon Batis, representing approximately 3,000 members. The concept is based on a health insurance model where members pay an annual agreed upon fee and contract the services to productive cooperatives Haiti (pcH) who develops and implements the services as required by the cooperative. The expectations are established through written agreements.


Cooperatives are responsible to identify members who wish to subscribe to the health insurance program. Members can choose to subscribe to an annual fee option, or a pay-per-use based on agreed upon services. Cooperative leaders are to be also responsible for providing a location in their community for the clinic activities. FIDA/pcH then provides qualified staff to support the services and agrees to bank all fees contributed through membership and services.


The truly innovative component that sets this pcH model apart from other clinics is the use of telemedicine technology. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine  emerged as a significant practice to help monitor and assist patients who are in confinement or in remote areas. This model of health care is not only innovative, but also efficient and applicable throughout Haiti.

Women’s Village Savings and Loans (VSL) Program

The Women’s VSL Program is an integrated empowerment women’s group through a Self-Help Group model in a specific geographic area. It is based on a shared objective of working together for a common economic and social development as well as for overall community development. The purpose of the program is to improve the quality of women’s life by:

  • increasing self-confidence, self-esteem, and autonomy

  • increasing access to and control over economic and social resources

  • participating in planning and decision-making processes at family and community levels

  • adopting an improved financial and managerial practices for dealing with socially meaningful projects

  • ensuring a level of self-reliance for an improved quality of life

The Women’s VSL program currently comprises 22 groups of women in Duchity, Grand-Anse Department. These women meet weekly or bi-weekly to share experiences, to discuss topics of interest such as nutrition, collect their savings, and decide on the next round of loan recipients. These groups are mobilized to manage micro-enterprise activities they developed through different local markets. Dividends are distributed annually based on the interest while the capital is banked to be accessible for lending. The current (2024) portfolio is approximately $40,000 USD.

FIDA Canada is a fully registered charitable organization: BN 13365 2768 RR0001

FIDA USA is a fully registered 501(c) 3 non-profit organization: US EIN # 47-2300976

productive cooperatives Haiti (pcH) is a fully registered Haitian non-profit organization: #B0307

© 2024 FIDA/pcH

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Kreyòl Garden Project

The Kreyòl Garden model embraces the concept of producing tree, orchard, and annual crop species on each plot of land while restoring natural ecological processes. This approach reduces the biological and economic risks associated with single commodity agriculture. Economic diversification occurs both annually (multiple crops during the year) and over the long-term (new crops such as coffee or fruit come into production over time). Reducing soil disturbance by shifting from conventional tillage to a low or no-tillage system as employed in the Kreyòl Garden can help conserve soil and water over the longer term, as well as help to restore permanent vegetative landscapes.

This project is executed under the Agricultural Program in the area of Fon Batis. It is presently funded by FIDA/pcH partner, Hope International Development Agency (HIDA).


The following video on the impact of agricultural cooperative was produced by a FIDA/pcH partner:

Agricultural Co-op Haiti

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