A Leader for Economic Democracy in Haiti: Alexandre Hector

by Fonkoze Communications team member Ben Wiselogle

The strength of the Fonkoze family derives from the talent and dedication of our people. Without these dynamic case managers, credit agents, directors, and support staff, the powerful idea that Father Joseph founded this organization on in 1994 would remain just that; a beautiful idea. As an organization established on the principle that true political democracy cannot be possible without economic democracy, we provide intensive capacity building programs such as our Chemen Lavi Miyò program, in addition to microfinance services to some of the most underserved populations in Haiti.

Few people represent or understand that dedication to financial inclusion more than Alexandre Hector. Raised in the small southern city of Torbek by a mother who herself was a ti machann (“market woman”), he witnessed firsthand the negative effects of exorbitant interest rates on people trying to carve out a living in one of the least developed economies in the Western Hemisphere. Alexandre recalls his mother being weighed down by the heavy financial burden of interest rates exceeding 100%, and the feelings of frustration the entire family felt at the injustice.

Determined to provide a more inclusive financial future for his country, he earned a degree in Economics from the State University of Haiti in 1996 and began working with Fonkoze the following year as an account officer, before quickly earning a promotion to Assistant Director of the Business Development Program. Today Alexandre is the Zonal Operations Manager for southern Haiti, responsible for 22 branches and hundreds of employees. So what has kept this talented individual committed to Fonkoze for the past 17 years? To answer that question, it’s necessary to go back to his introduction to Fonkoze.

After graduating from college, Alexandre met Father Joseph and Anne Hastings, who introduced him to Fonkoze’s mission. Alexandre said that he immediately “agreed with the idea and loved the mission of commitment to the poorest of Haiti.” From that initial meeting onwards, Fonkoze has had a brilliant manager, and Alexandre had a place to put his tremendous talents to work for an organization fighting for a stronger and more independent Haiti.  Demonstrating Fonkoze’s commitment to the professional development of our family, he was one of the first participants in our educational program for managers at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and studied there from 1999 to 2000.

His journey, much like that of Fonkoze, has not always been easy or without sacrifice.  As an organization founded on the principle of inclusion, and dedicated to helping the poor realize their power, there have been times when the Fonkoze family has been threatened. Alexandre’s friend Amos Jeannot, with whom he began working at age 19, was kidnapped on September 6, 2000. The kidnappers demanded that the CEO, Anne Hastings, shut down Fonkoze. Because she could not, Amos was murdered. It was Alexandre who found his body one week later. In spite of this devastating tragedy, he has not stopped his fight for greater equality in his country.

When his colleagues discuss Alexandre’s role in the Fonkoze family, they repeat one idea again and again: how faithful he is to them, no matter their issue. Whether an employee discovers fraud, faces a security threat, or just needs trustworthy advice, Alexandre is known as the man who will listen and help. Natacha Blanc, his colleague of seven years, says, “He is one of the backbones of this organization. He does more for Fonkoze than just what his job demands, and no one knows this organization better than him.”

Today, with his wife and two young children, Alexandre is living a life of service in support of the vision of a stronger Haiti with economic access for all, regardless of background or circumstance. As he says,

“The rich and poor, they all deserve the same chance to become their best. When I look at the 60,000+ [ti machann] who benefit from Fonkoze services, I can say with pride that I contribute to this organization.”

For the past 20 years, Fonkoze has fought to be a resource and guide for the very poorest in Haiti. Thanks to leaders like Alexandre, we will continue to fight as long as is necessary to ensure access to capital and training for Haiti’s most vulnerable.

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