Partnership funding – This Initiative attracted partnership funding from the IDB, a positive indication of the strategy’s potential to create market linkages and develop businesses in Haiti using WMEPs. The technical capacity of the bank provided much needed guidance to FED, which had little experience with a project of this size.
Leaders trained on supporting women entrepreneurs – Training and sensitising leaders and government officials to support WMEPs and reduce impediments such as corruption, red tape and inefficiencies in processing permits created support for the Initiative and engaged local leadership.
Organisational weaknesses – FED faced several challenges as an organisation, including risks highlighted during the due diligence process, such as lack of experience with this project size. In addition, the organisation’s high reliance on consultants due to very few full-time employees led to delays in reporting as FED needed to wait for the consultants to compile their reports.
Lack of affordable capital for investment – Most of the groups and their members were unable to invest in technologies that would reduce their packaging costs and time and potentially increase their production capacity. FED had identified two local microcredit organisations to partner with them and manage a loan portfolio for their clients but the 5 percent interest rate they would have charged was too high for the WMEPs, who were used to a 2.5 percent interest rate on loans from their cooperatives.
Economic and natural crises – As of last year, the country continued to face slow economic growth and high inflation rates that caused the prices of fuel and basic food commodities to sharply increase. In addition, this Initiative lies in the southeastern coastal region of Haiti, which was affected by the four hurricanes that devastated large parts of the country. FED and the three WMEP groups’ member activities were also affected by these hurricanes.
Poor infrastructure – Haiti’s infrastructure remains underdeveloped, making it costly and time consuming to transport goods to local markets. This poses another challenge to producers who seek to sell their goods in the capital city’s markets or supermarkets.
Low literacy levels among women – Low literacy levels of some of the group members posed a challenge, as the Initiative sought to train them to develop and apply best practices in business development and management without simultaneously engaging in literacy training.