The time has arrived – our bi-annual meeting with our community entrepreneurs (ACs)! After reflections from recent exchanges with our ACs – from repairing water pumps and providing over 1000 community members access to safe drinking water, to searching for solutions to the outbreak of cholera in the northeast of Haiti, to creating “city of lights” in communities by providing solar energy to hundreds of households – we realize that our community entrepreneurs are true leaders in their community. It is our duty to cultivate this potential and develop the capacity of our entrepreneurs to understand the priorities of the community and identify appropriate solutions to address them.
During the bi-annual meeting, we facilitated this process by presenting a tool that will better equip the ACs to learn about their communities, the organizations that exist, and the needs of the community members. As Solkomyo, we do not want to solely enter a community and introduce new initiatives that are already being acted upon by local counterparts. We recognize that it is a much more powerful, sustainable approach to work with the organizations that already exist to help them achieve their goals. We introduce tools and training that better equip these organizations to solve their obstacles – for example, through financial literacy training and access to self-financed community banks, to projects in agriculture, to empowering the youth of the organizations to design social ventures.
For that, we created a survey in which the ACs can assess the organizations that work in the communities, recognize their strengths, as well as understand the challenges they face. This will include surveys with youth groups, agricultural groups, female merchants, and government offices. The ACs will also ask specific questions about the local needs of the community in energy, water, and cooking, for example. This will allow SolKomYo to map the community and understand where and what can be leveraged in order to empower the work of the communities and increase community organizations’ self-sufficiency, all whilst increasing the capacity of our entrepreneurs to provide these services and solutions.
This not only paints the picture of the communities in which Solkomyo works, but it demonstrates how Solkomyo works hand in hand with the community entrepreneurs to build their capacity and leadership within their communities. We do not just touch the surface of the communities in which we work, but really try to dig deep to identify committed long-term solutions to community needs.
This is how Solkomyo works, and why our community entrepreneurs and stakeholders value the work we do. Thank you for all who share in this mission and have supported us along the way – none of it would have been possible without you.