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.

Haiti: Where do we stand on the road from aid to investment?

By Nara Meli

Two weeks ago, I attended the Haiti Funders’ Meeting, which was held in Boston, sponsored by the Boston Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation. The purpose of the meeting was to learn from experiences and talk about effective practices in Haiti, as well as challenges and opportunities in supporting sustainable development, social investments and philanthropy. The conference was held over two days, and included plenary sessions on topics such as social impact investing and effective aid delivery, and smaller, more focused discussion groups on health care, nutrition, agriculture, enterprise development and finance.

Haitian Artisans and MIF Partners at the New York Gift Fair

By Nara Meli

From January 26 to January 30, New York City hosted the Winter 2013 NY International Gift Fair (NYIGF). This semiannual trade show brings more than 2,800 exhibitors from around the world, and 35,000 attendees from over 80 countries. The exhibitors showcase over 100,000 products in 400 categories in the home, lifestyle and handmade industries. This is the second NYIGF where Haitian artisans who are part of the Artisan Business Network (ABN) had a chance to exhibit their work. 

Investment for Haiti

By Nara Meli

Yesterday, I was lucky to attend a roundtable discussion at the Council of the Americas with Haitian Ambassador Paul Altidor. I thought he brought in an interesting example of putting words into action, so I wanted to share it with you. Now, at the time of the third anniversary of the earthquake, the media is flooded with so-called “reports” about the situation on the ground in Haiti. Mostas you know, are bleak. So, what is the problem here? According to Ambassador Altidor, one of Haiti’s principal challenges is exactly this: Perception. 

4 ways to move forward with handicrafts in Haiti

By Nara Meli

Back in June, we gave you a taste of what MIF was cooking in the artisan sector in Haiti. Six months ago, we were in the very early stages of defining what it is we wanted to do in the project. Since then, we worked hard, in consultation with the Artisan Business Network, a team of high-level consultants, and feedback from the artisans themselves, to build an initiative that would have an impact on artisans’ incomes and improve their links to the value chain. So, what is the main problem Haitian artisans face?

Where innovation pays off: Helping low-income Haitians access environmentally-friendly energy products

By Nara Meli

In April 2011, the MIF approved a pilot project to improve low-income Haitians’ access to environmentally-friendly electricity by using remittances to buy sustainable energy products. The project, “Remittances as a source of end-user finance for sustainable energy”, is the result of a partnership with Arc Finance, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, the Basel Agency for Sustainable Development (BASE), and FoodExpress/SogeXpress, companies based in the US and Haiti. The project is testing an innovative remittance transfer model, where the clients use remittances to buy energy products: members of the Haitian diaspora living in the US can directly purchase low-cost and energy-efficient products to send to Haiti, with SogeXpress, the local Haitian partner, delivering the products in Haiti, also directly benefiting from capacity building and strengthening of the business model. This is a model that has not yet been tested anywhere else in the world, and is a path breaking initiative. The MIF has clear added value in this project given its great knowledge of remittances and access foci on climate change, energy access, payments and transfers, and Haiti.