Giving the most vulnerable a chance at economic security

Fonkoze SM

Posted by Carol McLaughlin

This blog is part of our 2016 High Impact Giving Guide preview series. Now in its sixth year, the guide is a resource for donors who want to make a greater social impact with their giving. Here’s a sneak peek of one organization we’re featuring this year.


Since 2010, Haiti has been rebuilding from a devastating earthquake. Now, they are assessing the damage and beginning the long road to recovery from Hurricane Matthew. These disasters have disrupted jobs, forced families to sell their assets, and pushed many into ultra-poverty, unable to meet even the most basic needs. If Haiti is to move beyond the current devastation and dependence on aid, its people have to be able to make a living. The Graduation Model targets the ultra-poor, helping them to create jobs for themselves and gradually integrate into the economy.

Unlike microfinance models that target people who already have a source of income, this model works with those who have no income or assets. In Haiti, Fonkoze implements the graduation model with their program, Chemen Lavi Miyò, which translates to “pathway to a better life.” CLM works with women with no financial means for 18 months to help them build skills and greater confidence. Each participant is provided with the materials to construct a 9×9 meter home with a sturdy roof and a latrine; a water filter; and her choice of two activities to begin earning an income, including raising various types of livestock or merchandise to sell.

Recent randomized control studies that followed the graduation model in seven countries found lasting improvements in key indicators such as food security, assets, and income. A 2015 cost-benefit analysis found that the estimated benefits of the program exceeded the program costs in most of the countries where the model was examined. In Haiti, CLM has empowered almost 5,000 ultra-poor women, and 96% of them successfully graduated the program.

Want to help this cause? Donate to Fonkoze here—the recent disasters in Haiti have increased the number of people there that would benefit from the graduation model. You can also fund BRAC in Bangladesh, or similar groups such as BOMA Project in Kenya or Trickle Up in India. Or go to the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor’s (CGAP) website for additional countries and sites.

For more high impact opportunities like this, see our full High Impact Giving Guide, coming November. Sign up for our listserv to stay up to date on the release of the guide and our other work.

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