Through its Our World, Our Family program, the foundation will match donations from individuals to Seattle-based Mercy Corps via Zafen.org, a Haitian microfinance site, or at participating Western Union agent locations. In turn, MercyCorps will use the funds raised from the challenge, which runs through the end of the year, to provide training and support to up to one thousand small businesses in Haiti.
With 70 percent of Haitians age 30 or younger, the need to create jobs for Haitian youth is critical. To that end, Mercy Corps will foster apprenticeships as part of its work with micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the country.
"The people of Haiti are remarkably entrepreneurial and are hungry for new job opportunities," said Mercy Corps regional program director Phil Oldham. "Western Union's grant supports Mercy Corps' strategy to help Haitians develop their entrepreneurial talents into the successful enterprises that will drive their country's long-term economic recovery."