11 Surprises from Fonkoze – Alex Counts Book Project

> Posted by Center Staff


Fonkoze clients dance between workshop sessions.

“What surprised me most?”
That’s the question Alex Counts asks himself about Fonkoze in his latest blog post on the Haitian MFI. The posts chronicle a larger project to complete a book about Fonkoze’s trailblazing, past and present.
Counts, the CEO of Grameen Foundation, has been traveling Haiti to talk with microfinance industry leaders in general and Fonkoze’s pioneers in particular.
Earlier this year, Counts was interviewed for the Center’s “Microfinance Matters” series. That interview looks at his roots in the industry, from the time he joined with other friends of Grameen Bank to set up Grameen Foundation in 1997.
His recent post “‘Our’ Earthquake & Eleven Surprises” touches on the recent earthquake that rattled nerves (but little more) on the United States’ East Coast. But the primary focus is on what has surprised him most about Fonkoze. Here are a few points he mentions in his post:

  1. Anne Hastings’ fearlessness.
  2. How happenings that would otherwise not be noteworthy can be catalysts in a crisis that jolt people to action.
  3. The very distinct karma in an organization where most of the senior staff are women.
  4. The new relevance of some so-called “old ideas” (about fighting global poverty) in the context of Fonkoze.
  5. Lots of people talk about being risk takers, but Fonkoze really does take them (and often pulls them off but sometimes falls flat on its face — but that is beside the point, which is that they “play ball” rather than “play it safe”).
  6.  The high degree respect people have for Anne across many Fonkoze stakeholders who do not always agree with each other or her (respect is actually too weak of a word)
  7.   The lack of progress in rebuilding Port-au-Prince 18 months after the earthquake.
  8.   The strong desire of Haitians (at least those who work for Fonkoze) to develop themselves as professionals through any means possible.

Click here to read more surprises in the rest of the post, and if you like what you read, don’t forget to bookmark Counts’ blog and revisit to follow his progress.
Have you read?
Fonkoze and Madame Saras – Alex Counts Book Project
An Avalanche of Material (Including Repressed Memories) – Alex Counts Book Project
Haiti & Fonkoze in 10 Memories – Alex Counts Book Project
Haiti in the Spotlight as Alex Counts Begins Book on Fonkoze
Grameen Foundation CEO Alex Counts Tackles ‘Re-engineering’ Microfinance
Yunus, Grameen, & Bangladesh – What Are the Facts?
Grameen Foundation Increases Support for Strategic Human Capital Practices at Indian MFIs
On the Anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake: Fonkoze and the ‘Super Poor’