Last Friday was pay day. After putting in five days of work clearing debris and repairing basic infrastructure, 119 participants in Mercy Corps’ cash-for-work program here in Port-au-Prince patiently lined up at Impasse Dorcé and waited their turn to get paid.
Mercy Corps’ local microfinance partner, FONKOZE, helped with the money distribution. The 119 workers are divided into seven teams, each with a team leader, and they approached the FONKOZE staff one team at a time. The leader handed over a sheet of paper with all the team members’ names on it, and then one by one names were called out and the workers stepped forward.
Because many people lost their national ID cards in the earthquake, Mercy Corps distributes vouchers to the workers the day before as a way of keeping track of who is being paid. The vouchers look a bit like a credit card and have a unique number that corresponds to each worker. They also have a small hologram on them to prevent replication. The worker hands in this voucher, sign their name and then they are handed an envelope with their money.
The workers are paid 180 Gourdes, or roughly US $4.50, a day. This figure is the standard minimum wage set by the Haitian government.