Home MB Herald MCC and MEDA collaborate for Haiti’s homeless

MCC and MEDA collaborate for Haiti’s homeless

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Haitians left homeless by January’s earthquake are getting construction help from a collaborative venture of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).

MCC contributed $1.43 million to rebuild and repair 775 homes of microfinance clients, most of whom are women. MEDA will administer and monitor the 18-month project, expected to be completed Nov. 30.

Recipients of the assistance are clients of microfinance provider Fonkoze, a long-term partner of MCC and MEDA.

The earthquake not only claimed more than 200,000 lives, it destroyed an estimated 105,000 homes and damaged more than 200,000. Nearly 3,000 Fonkoze clients reported not being able to stay in their houses due to destruction or severe damage.

Fonkoze will coordinate the training of community teams of masons and carpenters in techniques for building and repairing homes that will be earthquake and hurricane resistant. Those teams will predominantly work in their home communities.

All recipients of the construction assistance, plus about 400 more people, will receive training in home ownership and maintenance.
MEDA began its microfinance work in Haiti in 1986, and, in 2004, turned it over to rapidly growing Fonkoze, so its clients could access a wider range of financial services. MEDA is managing a $4.5-million grant from The MasterCard Foundation to help Fonkoze rebuild its own facilities and help 70,000 clients improve their livelihoods. MCC’s Haiti work dates back to 1958.

MEDA president Allan Sauder is “delighted” to join with MCC in this effort: “With so many aid groups at work in Haiti, the potential for chaos is great, and collaborating with a fellow Mennonite agency helps us send a signal that aid can be coordinated efficiently and effectively.”

Wally Kroeker is a writer for MEDA from Winnipeg.

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