Haitian Monetary Ecologies and Repertoires: A Qualitative Snapshot of Money Transfer and Savings

This report provides a qualitative snapshot of Haitian monetary ecologies six months after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12, 2010. The research examined the variety of ways in which money, people and goods circulate throughout Haiti in light of the changing economic, social and financial landscape. Based upon over ninety qualitative interviews and focus groups with Haitians located in four key sites throughout the country, the report focuses upon the challenges that many Haitians face in their efforts to send, receive, exchange and store money, and the role of mobile phones and other conduits in this process. Specifically, we address three key challenges that shape everyday Haitians’ attitudes towards money, trade and exchange and the potential for social change through new financial services: (1) Bureaucracy and Power; (2) Time and Cost; and (3) Security. The report concludes by providing a series of recommendations concerning the importance of social networks and intermediaries in moving money, the incorporation of the Haitian diaspora into financial inclusion models and the broader need to address Haitian values concerning savings, time and forms of exchange.

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