Alex Counts is President and CEO of Grameen Foundation.
The visit to Adaline, the entering CLM client, was a reality check for all of us. (Yeardley writes in a moving way about that visit elsewhere in the blog.)
We stood before a woman who was one of the poorest people in one of the poorest countries on earth. Her almost total lack of possessions told most of the story, and her vacant look and inability to answer very basic questions about her plans for the future told the rest. If I had not known of the successes of 96% of the first batch of CLM clients (some of whom I had met in March 2008, at which time they looked as hapless and hopeless as Adaline), I would have walked away depressed. In fact, I feel compelled to return to this place and see what Adaline looks like 18 months from now.
I asked Gautier – the Haitian staff member in charge of CLM – what defined success in the context of CLM, after 21 months of casework. He said that they had carefully defined eight indicators of success and empowerment, and if at least six of them were met at the conclusion of the program, a client was a success and allowed to graduate to the next level of Fonkoze (“Ti Kredi” or “small credit”). He said that of the eight success indicators, two must be achieved or the client cannot be considered a successful graduate. First, the woman must be healthy enough to work, and second, none of the children can be malnourished. Just two days ago (or three days after we left the country), she received her productive assets — goats – and perhaps for the first time saw a glimpse, however faint, of a poverty-free life.