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Women empowering women

Cultural Capital Haiti is proud to be partnering with the Women's Association of Lafon –– in Creole, Asosyasyon Fanm Lafon, or AFL –– to create a much-needed community center in the rural region of Lafon, Haiti, a place for women and girls of all ages to access critical resources and build solidarity.


In 2017, AFL's founder Fabienne Lerine was employed by an American entrepreneur to manage a modest agricultural project in her hometown of Lafon. Still an undergraduate at Fondwa University –– a dozen towns and several mountains away –– she was faced with the dilemma of having to manage a large workforce while still attending to a full course load. In her capacity as a manager, Fabinne found that the root of too many of the labor issues with which she was faced involved sexism. Rather than backing down, she started hiring exclusively women. By the time she graduated in 2019 with a degree in agronomy and a full thirty acres under intensive production, she found that, surprisingly, she also had a movement on her hands. That movement became AFL.

As Francesca Faustine, a local AFL member whose college education was cut short by economic strife and who now finds purpose in AFL’s activities puts it, “Fabienne woke us up!”

Even by Haitian standards, Lafon is poor. The farm Fabienne established was the biggest organized source of employment the area had seen in many decades, and the ability of her all-female workforce to earn money was transformative. Freed from the silos of dependency and lack of purpose, they became self-aware of their collective agency and naturally looked to Fabienne for leadership. They inaugurated AFL in October 2019, and by end of the year they had organized toy drives, home economics seminars, and after-school activities for the children of the area. By the following year, AFL would conduct a census and host self-financed mobile clinics. This was the first time that many in the region would see a gynecologist, a urologist, a generalist, even a dentist, in all their lives.


On International Woman’s Day 2021, AFL joined the parade in the nearby city of Jacmel 500 women strong, dwarfing similar and more established organizations with urban populations to pull from. They marched to the hospital where corruption had left generators without fuel and patients dead. They marched in front of the social security office to ask that instead of making corrupt loans to politicians they make loans to women raising families. They marched to the courthouse and demanded that victims of sexual assault be taken seriously. And they were heard.


2022 saw successful iterations of their self-funded micro-finance initiative, TiPa or "Little Step." Pooling their resources, the women of AFL funded small business initiatives which helped dozens of women achieve financial independence, allowing them to participate in farmer's markets in town or expand their own agricultural production. You can read more about the program here.


In 2022 AFL also began offering an ongoing agronomy course to the young women of the community, providing free education in advanced sustainable agriculture techniques. Their recent successes have inspired myriad inquiries from young women in neighboring districts looking to follow AFL's example and start women’s associations of their own. So the women of Lafon have begun to strategize ways in which they can scale and replicate their success beyond the bounds of their community.

AFL reached out to Cultural Capital Haiti because they wanted help raising funds to rent and sustain a permanent home base for their activities –– so that they would no longer have to precariously borrow spaces and live out of their pocketbooks. We wholeheartedly agreed, and so funding the AFL center became our inaugural project.  At once a women’s shelter, day care, professional development office, athletic club, women's health clinic, adult education center, activist hub, and place of celebration, the AFL center is both figuratively and literally a beacon in the night for the future of Haiti’s women. You can read more about what it means to the community here.

You can download AFL's five-year budget for this project here: AFL 5-year budget.pdf

Women's Empowerment Project

Women's Empowerment Project

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