As an organization the International Affairs Society seeks to promote a better understanding about the international community and its inhabitants. Helping others through outreach is a primary goal of the IAS, especially in promoting and advocating for human rights around the world. As students at the George Washington University, we have the ability to create meaningful impact on the lives of people on both a national and international level.
This year, the International Affairs Society has helped support Fonkoze, a Haitian development organization working to empower Haitians over all socioeconomic backgrounds. Fonkoze was founded in 1994 by a Haitian Catholic priest who started the institution with little more than a vision: a vision to provide the means for all Haitians, even the poorest, to participate in the economic development of the country. His target group was women, because as he declared, “Women are the backbone of the Haitian economy and the doorway into the family unit.” Fonkoze is “Haiti’s Alternative Bank for the Organized Poor.” It is the largest microfinance institution (MFI) in Haiti, serving more than 56,000 women borrowers, most of whom live and work in the countryside of Haiti, and more than 250,000 savers. With its network of 46 branches covering every region of Haiti, it is also the only MFI that is truly national in scope.