Haiti & Fonkoze in 10 Memories – Alex Counts Book Project

> Posted by Center Staff

Siddhartha Chowdri with clients from Bihar

Fonkoze’s founder, Father Joseph Philippe.

Grameen Foundation CEO Alex Counts is writing a book about Fonkoze. In the process, he’s been blogging his way across Haiti’s landscape, speaking with some of the leading lights of the country’s microfinance industry.
Counts, who we interviewed for our “Microfinance Matters” series, joined other friends of Grameen Bank to establish Grameen Foundation in 1997.
His most recent post, “Ten Memories,” finds him mulling highlights of what he’s learned and observed, and interviewing the founder of Fonkoze, Father Joseph Philippe:
As I wrap up my first trip (of two) to Haiti this summer (and my fifth since 2006), and deal with information overload, I thought it would be good to boil down my experience to ten reflections, and then close with a two minute video of Father Joseph that builds on two of them.
1. My early – and, as it turned out, too hopeful — observation in this blog that the post-earthquake rebuilding in Port au Prince was going on better than portrayed in the media seems naive now that I have spent more time in the capital.  While there are tiny pockets of rubble clearing and even rebuilding, for the most part one still sees collapsed buildings, big piles of rubble, and little if any effort to address these issues.  (One wonders whether that will be the case in even five or ten years!)
2. Several people mentioned that the influx of international NGOs and the U.N. has left Haitians, from the poor to educated professionals, feeling “disempowered in their own country.”  (One of the good parts of this is that it has led some talented and disillusioned people to Fonkoze!)
3. After being impressed with the management team that Fonkoze assembled in 2009, I observed how talent attracts talent — and that there was a second wave of very sharp, experienced and committed individuals joining the organization in 2010 and 2011.  And somehow, they seem to be fitting in well with those who joined early, including the “original staff” who go back to the late 1990s.  Now, the challenge is to figure out how to pay for all this talent! 

Click here to read 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?
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’