Chemin Lavi Miyò Leads a Woman Out of Ultra-poverty

Chemin Lavi Miyò (CLM), also known as Pathway to a Better Life, is a comprehensive approach to eliminating acute poverty. CLM reaches out to those on the margins of society. Throughout the 18-month program implemented by Fonkoze and funded by Mercy Focus on Haiti, case managers support clients as they learn to run a small business, repair their homes, and access health care and education services. Participants develop both their capacity and their confidence until they have their own functioning microenterprises.

Fonkoze describes ultra-poverty as the inability to meet the barest of basic needs. In 2020, the United Nations described ultra-or extreme-poverty as living on less than $1.90 per day. The participants often cannot feed their children every day, their health is poor, their housing is unstable, they are often isolated from the local community, and their children don’t go to school. The bare necessities of life are not met. Ultra-poverty is a horrible way of life.

Mercy Focus on Haiti was introduced to CLM in 2015. In 2017 the first group of 200 women we sponsored began its journey along a pathway to a better life. Caseworkers and the regional leaders identify ultra-poor families, interviewed the women, and prepared them to participate in the program.

Throughout the program, participants learn how to run a small business, repair their homes, access health care, and send their children to school. They are given the tools listed below and guidance in how to use them:

  • assets to establish two income-generating activities, e.g., goats, chickens, merchandise to sell
  • materials to build a modest home with a sturdy roof and floor, and a latrine
  • a small cash stipend that allows them to purchase food
  • access to free healthcare and training on how to use it
  • Confidence-building, enterprise management, and life skills training
The requirements for graduation are:

  • The family is “food secure”
  • There are two income-generating activities
  • The participant has an active savings account
  • The participant’s children are able to attend school
  • The participant has confidence in her abilities and a plan for her future.
Mercy Focus on Haiti was so impressed by the transformation of the women in the first two cohorts we sponsored and the program’s 97% graduation rate that we are sponsoring a third cohort of 200 women which began in December 2020.

Quotes from CLM participants

Cenecia Tranquil, a CLM graduate, wants to start speaking to new CLM members when they first enter the program. “When I tell them where I was and where I am now, that will help them have hope for themselves.”

“CLM did a lot for me. I have goats and pigs now and a way to keep going on.” Idalia, a CLM participant

“I feel like I had hit bottom. But I’ve started to rise. Slowly, slowly. Until I’m ready to stand up proud.” Sidelna, a CLM participant

“Today, I said good-bye to misery.” 2018 CLM Graduate

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