In 2013, a law was passed in the Dominican Republic that stripped approximately 240,000 Haitian-Dominicans of their Dominican citizenship. Without legal papers, they cannot open bank accounts, and they risk deportation.
FOCOPI (Community Fund for Prevention and Investment), a micro savings program in which members create their own community banks, has helped dozens of Haitian-Dominicans take control of their finances and become entrepreneurs, university students, and business owners. Although FOCOPI has experienced success in the past year with eight groups operating, the program ran out of funds to pay coordinators this Spring. Additionally, FOCOPI lacks marketing materials and is still developing its financial literacy courses.
The GESI team worked with FOCOPI to evaluate the organization’s current business model and develop recommendations to make the program more self-sufficient, thus making expansion a feasible goal. Marketing materials, including a new website and success-story profiles, were created to increase awareness and donations.