December 11, 2010
A year after the quake, do nonprofits still have cash for cash-for-work? (Howard LaFranchi/The Christian Science Monitor)
Over the last month all eyes have been on actual and potential post-election violence in Haiti but there’s more than violence and frustration going on there (see below). Business happens in Haiti, too, but it’s a topic that won’t typically be reported on in the media–to the detriment of Haitian diaspora who’re either looking for sustainable ways to help their country or who want to magnify the impact of foreign aid.
Fact: investment opportunities exist in Haiti. Business coverage can help to foster not only more of them but more open commercial transactions. Fact: if there’s one word that the Haitians I talked to this summer repeated most often, it’s “job.” Despite that, most of our media and community conversations in the US, even among the diaspora, center not on job creation but on charity–as if alms ever lifted any mass of people out of poverty.
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April 8, 2010
I’m linking to this opinion piece because, it’s a helpful reminder of how to understand Haiti’s reconstruction: in many ways, disaster is big business. Somebody somewhere is always making money. I want to cover the same topics, here: where’s the money going? who’s getting government contracts?
As a journalist though, I’d tone down the us v. them approach and get the other side. Governments outsource all the time; every contractor can’t be crooked. Some might even be experts at what they do. I’d at least like to get their perspective, have them react to the criticism. Later I’ll delve more into Haitian voices, also highlighted in the opinion piece:
Twenty-two Haitian organizations, representing religious, conflict resolution, women, human rights, development, and other sectors, had this to say about the three recent international donors’ meetings: “[T]he process is characterized by a near-total exclusion of Haitian social actors and a weak and non-coordinated participation by representatives of the Haitian state… We need an alternative process which can define a new national project which incorporates strategies to counteract exclusion, political and economic dependence, and poverty.”
Read the rest on CommonDreams.org.