The non-profit and community driven organization, Roots of Development, and the premier natural and organic grocer, Whole Foods Market, have teamed up to help alleviate poverty in Haiti with multipurpose “Empower Haiti” reusable tote bag sold exclusively at stores in the DMV area (Georgetown, P Street, Tenley, Arlington, Old Town, Bethesda, Foggy Bottom and available upon request at other mid-Atlantic region stores).  Available now, the sturdy totes aims to raise awareness about the needed and continued commitment to development in Haiti are $2.99 each, with $1.99 from the sale going towards Haiti to support community empowerment projects. 

The proceeds from sales of the bags will help community groups on the island of La Gonave, Haiti fund their own development projects, including a women's business initiative, block-making business, and rainwater collection tank.  One of the initiatives the bag will support is the women of GFDAG (pronounced “jev-dahg”).  Of the world’s 1.3 billion poor people, 70% of them are women.  Proceeds will support and help women open up food businesses that will create jobs, help the group raise their own revenue, and attack food shortage issues. The money raised for this project will be used by GFDAG to buy wholesale packaged goods in Port-au-Prince, transport them to the Haitian island of La Gonave, and resell the goods for a profit. Profits will be used by GFDAG to maintain past projects like their micro-lending initiative as well as fund new projects like their initiative to support the educational expenses of vulnerable children and orphans in the area.

With many community causes and efforts, the bag initiative looks to establish and help produce opportunities to build successful businesses and create access to clean water, food and shelter.  Working in partnership with Whole Foods Market, Roots of Development helps impoverished communities in Haiti acquire the financial resources and organizational skills they need to manage their own development. They promote an alternative approach to rural development by facilitating a process in which we bring together diverse representatives from a community, listen to their goals, and build on their inherent strengths to complete community-driven projects that foster greater independence.