the mif blog

Stories of inspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, discussion and commentary of new trends in private sector development, and the latest events and publications.

Remittances and solar energy: a bright future for a unique partnership

By Georg Neumann

When the sun goes down in Haiti, one thing becomes evident: No lights are switched on. Only about one in six Haitians has regular access to electricity. That means that for about 8.5 million Haitians, life at home goes dark at 7 o’clock in the evening and there is no light again until 6 a.m. when the sun comes up in the morning. In fact, a street vendor who sells daily necessities told me that candles are one of his most popular products. Last week, I traveled to Haiti to learn about the results of a MIF funded project designed to bring clean energy to poor households in the country. It does so in an innovative way. 

Different traditions meet in Haitian health care

By Nara Meli

Where do you go if you get sick? Do you call your doctor? Does someone drive you to the emergency room? Is it far? Can you afford it? Does the hospital have the medicine that you need?

What would your life look like if you had limited access to health services?

If you were Haitian, in all likelihood, you would call on the houngan or mambo (male/female voodoo priest), and he/she would perform some “spiritual power” to cure you – 90% of the population, rich or poor, practices Voodoo and believes in its healing powers. Many will go to their priest before seeing a doctor. Failing the voodoo remedy, if you live around Port-au-Prince, you would climb aboard a tap-tap – a local bus – and head over to the Hôpital de l’Université d’Etat, or Hôpital Général, the main public hospital.  

Made in Haiti

By Nara Meli

Last week, while I was in Haiti, I was lucky to have the opportunity to visit a few artisan workshops both in Croix-des-Bouquets and Port-au-Prince.

My guide was Nathalie Tancrede from the Artisan Business Network, through which MIF is financing a project to boost the incomes and skills of Haitian artisans (see links hereand here). She would show me who are the artisans that are part of ABN, and whom the MIF would be supporting.

On Common Ground: Dominican Republic + Haiti

By Nara Meli

The Art Museum of the Americas is hosting a three month-long exhibit of Haitian and Dominican artists. Works from Haiti include Killy, Manuel Mathieu, Pascale Monnin, Jean Emmanuel, and Marc Lee Steed.

I went to visit it not only because I love Haitian art, and us DC folks are seldom exposed to it, but also because the MIF is working to support to Haitian artisans, in collaboration with the Artisan Business Network

Tourism in Haiti (Part II): One of the Challenges of Integrated Approaches

By Nara Meli

Last week, I wrote about what tourism is and has been like in Haiti. Today, I want to tell you about what the MIF is doing on the topic. In 2011, the MIF approved a three-year project aimed at positioning the North Department as Haiti’s prime tourism destination. The idea was to use an integrated approach to promote tourism based on the historical and cultural attractions unique to Haiti, involving stakeholders from the public and private sectors. The project would particularly organize and facilitate the management of the tourism destination with the participation of rural and urban micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, local and national government and other actors along the value chain.