What path could be entrusted to ensure the well-being of a people, the well-being of an entire nation? The best known option is of an economy that involves self-empowering through the creation of wealth, the development of cooperation, the strengthening of solidarity. Quite often, in the traditional market economy, we stop right after the first component of self-empowering.
There are entrepreneurs and/or investors who work on ways to augment their revenue, their financial contribution so as to improve their living conditions, their economic situations, their social situations while at the same time creating jobs– therefore, wealth, leading to the development of their country. In Haiti, there are also such entrepreneurs, but the issue, however, is that they can only create a few jobs, thus only hire a very small subset of the population. If they are well intentioned corporate citizens, they may return, in some way, a portion of profits made to their communities, to society. They do not, however, contribute to the advancement of the country as entities in their position usually do.
This economic model has its corollary, its replica in the informal economy. However, it contributes to the creation of hundreds of thousands of self-employment jobs. Indeed, in the rural sections, towns and cities of Haiti, the self-employed, single-person businesses are swarming. Their imagination is boundless. They sell almost everything. The scattering of this economic strength, however, as well as its low level of organization, its increasing growth, and lack of demarcation between labor and capital are generating quite a lot of debate among economists. Women make up the majority of this sector. They are the pillar of the family, and the well-being of all the members of their social core falls on their shoulders.
Although both models have been operating for quite some time, they have not yielded the expected results. To overcome social and economic crises, many countries have taken the path of solidarity and social economy. Haiti, following in the footsteps of these countries, can also embark on this road, as it is the economic replica of the grassroots support system model, its most widespread form being the konbit. A cooperative is one of the corporate models of social and solidarity economy.
In Dame-Marie, in addition to the konbit, there were the kòrve, eskwad, the peyizan gwoupman through which the citizens would try and work their way out of difficult situations, to complete a shared endeavour or to lighten the load of a given activity. Of course, in the “konbit”, there is no financial compensation, by adding this element, it is exactly in the spirit of the social economy. Indeed, the social economy is the provision of a service or property based on the principles of solidarity, the common good, the primacy of the person with an income in return. The social and solidarity economy is the creation of wealth based on equality, solidarity, sharing and sustainability. The social and solidarity economy is economy in the service of the social, the community.
FESMAR firmly believes that this economic model can set in motion the population of Dame-Marie and empower women, men to fulfill their destiny and ensure the well being of their children.
It is in this context that the Cocoa festival is initiated and organized annually by the Foundation. It aims not only to support the cooperative in its efforts to produce better and more but also allow young people to integrate this social model and to put it into practice in their present and future lives.