HOW IT WORKS

  1. YOUTH EMPLOYMENT

  2. ENGAGE WOMEN

  3. ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Agro-Economy Booster provides ultra-poor women with appropriate support to enable them to advance to progressive levels of economic independence. As micro-finance becomes increasingly commercial philanthropic capital can have the greatest impact. TIPS identifies participants through a comprehensive, three-stage process to ensure it reaches the truly ultra poor whom traditional micro-finance cannot help.

Once participants, or members, are identified, they are assigned a case manager. Over a period of 18 months, that case manager interacts intensively and individually with 50 members, visiting their homes once a week and providing each with assets, agricultural training, and a stipend.

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Key Components

 
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Agro-Economy Booster Components

Training & Resources

Members are taught a variety of skills ranging from Agricultural management to life skills. Agricultural training teaches the women how to sell goods, rear animals (e.g., goats or chickens), and manage income. Life skills training teaches literacy, health (e.g., the importance of clean water, how to use birth control) and childrearing (e.g., how to prepare and feed healthy food to children). Through partnerships with providers like Partners In Health, the program gives members access to primary care, immunizations for members and their children, and other healthcare services critical to bringing women and their families out of poverty. 

Community Connections

Most members are marginalized women with minimal social support systems. Village Assistance Committees address the lack of social support by bringing together influential men and women to support Agro-Economy Booster members. The village committees build the self-esteem of a member, giving her the feeling that she is worth listening to and can take control of her life. The committees also create a sense of responsibility among the more socially privileged toward the less privileged. For example, committee members will advocate on behalf of a Agro-Economy Booster member if she is harassed by her landlord. In our view, this is a first step towards the sense of mutual responsibility that has been central to the success of group microcredit programs.

Revenue "Generator" Receipt

 The program provides two, income-generating assets to each member. These can include a goat, chickens, or produce that members can sell. It provides materials for constructing a 9 x 9 meter home composed of a tin roof and concrete floor, a toilet, and a water filter. Since members at this stage have no income, the program also provides a $180 stipend over six months.

 

About The Model

With over 50% of Haitians living on less than $1.25 a day,5 the Agro-Economy Booster Model is essential to Haiti’s poor. TIPS, piloted the Agro-Economy Booster Model in Thomonde, Haiti with help from GRANS is living proof of this. The pilot worked with several ultra-poor women, for an 18-month period from 2015 – 2017. The TIPS pilot was successful and has developed into a full-fledged program run by GRANS. The Agro-Economy Booster Model is an 18-month asset transfer program that provides women with productive physical assets (such as goats and chickens), agricultural skills, confidence and social networks, shelter, a cash stipend, and access to healthcare. As a result, clients “graduate” to income-earning activities that enable them to sustain themselves without external subsidies.

 
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How your dollars can help?

 Natural disasters have increased the number of people who would greatly benefit from a program like TIPS's Agro-Economy Booster. This is especially true because so many people have migrated out of the hardest hit areas and have very little left. Donations are especially important as TIPS begins to expand its program to meet this need and continues to adapt it to Haiti’s context.

Costs/resources required?

 The Agro-Economy Booster model currently costs $1,490 per participant and lasts 18 months. See the chart below for a breakdown of costs. The cost of implementing the program in Thomonde, Haiti is higher than in other places for several reasons. For instance, there are higher operating costs due to Haiti’s mountainous terrain and lack of roads and other infrastructure. In addition, Haiti’s relatively high cost of living increases the cost of the assets GRANS provides its members.

The Impact

In Agricultural Engine of Growth pilot, 95% of Agro-Economy Booster members met graduation criteria by showing progress in the six key areas over the 18-month course of the program: Food is on the member’s table every day Her shelter includes a tin roof, cement floor, and sanitary latrine Her school-aged children are in school She can read and write her name Her business assets (e.g. goats, chicken, produce) have grown She expresses confidence in facing her future.

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Participants significantly improve their living situation halfway into the program significantly reducing their poverty level. AGRO-ECONOMY BOOSTER participants’ incomes increased almost all of whom initially had no savings, also increased their financial assets, making regular deposits into their savings accounts. We think this is significant as it shows that members have acquired the habit of saving and building up their assets. Additionally, participants’ food security increased, with more than 85% of participants reporting that their household did not lack food over the pilot period and only 6% reporting that someone in their household lost weight due to hunger in that time.

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Graduating members have the skills and resources to sustainably provide for the needs of their families and the capacity to manage future economic shocks. Should they so choose, they are ready to receive their first micro-finance loan. TIPS measures impact by using a simple, internationally recognized poverty evaluation survey called the Poverty Scorecard. A member’s initial answers are compared with answers at the middle and end of the Agro-Economy Booster. A GRANS staff member confirms the validity of a member’s answers through an in-person meeting and visit to the home.

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At the beginning of the program, all participants were food insecure and experiencing days of hunger; there were high levels of child malnutrition; and many were begging for food.Members’ health also improved, with significant reduction in gastro-intestinal diseases and an increase in health seeking behavior.  Finally, members believed they had moved out of extreme poverty and showed increased self-confidence. These studies indicated that multiple aspects of members lives improved over the course of the program. As expected there was some decline when the program ended but the members continued to eat better, generate income, build savings and other assets and continue to send their children to school.  

SRX CHERRY TOMATOES