Grant awarded to Unlocking Communities

The Foundation is pleased to support Unlocking Communities.

Through Unlocking Communities research and work in Haiti, Unlocking Communities passionately believes that providing Haitians the tools to be their own catalysts for change is a more effective way to make a quality and long-lasting economic impact in the community than giving well-intentioned, but misguided handouts. To do so, their Community Partner gives aspiring entrepreneurs (majority women) a solid foundation by training them in business fundamentals. Then, they give these budding entrepreneurs access to either: 1. In-demand, environmentally beneficial products (water filters and clean-burning stoves) that they earn a commission from selling, 2. When there is no longer a need to sell these products the loans are repurposed to fund their own business ventures: resulting in cyclical economic growth. This has proven to be more successful by instilling a sense of dignity, empowerment, and ownership in Haitian communities.

This funding would cover the initial inventory of up to 100 water filtration systems and/or clean-burning stoves, Business Basics Training for Haitians, monitoring and evaluation, and on-going training from their in-country staff for each community.

Unlocking Communities focuses on helping low to middle-income Haitian communities (mainly women and children). These families lack access to unpolluted water and clean-burning stoves. The entire community benefits from gaining access to their environmental products and the resulting economic savings; however, the community entrepreneurs receive the additional benefits of business education and economic opportunity. Secondary beneficiaries are their families. Haitian families are typically 6 people (3-5 children, 1 mother, and sometimes a present father); therefore, 1 filter or stove is providing clean water or lowering second-hand smoke levels (and the risk of related illnesses) for multiple people. This is a major benefit considering: 1. Over 5,600 people die each year in Haiti from contaminated water, 2. Impoverished families are spending between $150- $400 a year (24% of their small annual income) on bottled water and charcoal.

Unlocking Communities has 2 communities in the center of Haiti (Goyave and Cange) that are currently conducting community readiness assessments. They are very keen to get started with the full model. They are interested in being an all-women operation and to support this they will be working with the local women’s organization as their Community Partner.