June 18, 2010
A map of Health-related projects in Haiti (InterAction, haitiaidmap.org)
This morning I came across a job announcement directly related to Deborah David’s database proposal to wrangle NGOs and the general concern that NGOs are “wild cards” in Haiti’s development. Not only don’t they typically coordinate social service delivery with each other, there are thousands of unregistered and unchecked NGOs in the country–perhaps encouraged by the same misperception that aid worker TFTH laments:
Somewhere along the line we’ve done a basic disservice to our donors, to our “Third Audience”, and to ourselves: We have allowed them to believe that relief and development work are easy, uncomplicated and inexpensive.
For all of the romantic oooh-aaaah sometimes associated with aid work, the general population continues to basically lack respect for both the nature of the problems being tackled by aid work, and also what it takes to do aid work. And whether it’s, “98 cents of your dollar goes directly to beneficiaries”, “your $100 buys a poor family a cow and gets them out of poverty”, or “feel good about making a difference while on vacation”, we’ve become totally seduced by the belief that solving the basic problems of the world can be done cheaply and easily.
Quite frankly, I could call myself an “NGO” and get away with it. In fact, I came across an online description of myself as a “humanitarian blogger.” What in the world does that mean? I’m no humanitarian. I’m a journalist–end of story.
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May 28, 2010
In two weeks I leave for Haiti for most of the summer. I’ll be based in Port-au-Prince so if anyone there wants to help this indie journalist escape aid-worker prices, holler. I’ve been doing DH off-line these last few weeks so this post is an update on what I’ve been getting into and what I’ll be doing in Haiti–besides learning Kreyol and swapping the E train for top-tops.
I’m going to Haiti to work on a long article to finish my degree (which is also what’s kept me busy these last weeks). Won’t say what the article’s about yet but it’ll take most of my time and get me into nearly every facet of Haitian society. Other than that, I’m there to watch, talk to everyone and write. I try to look at how systems work so while there I’ll focus on sustainable projects over those run on the charity model, the Haiti Reconstruction Commission and for-profit enterprises. I’ll be running DH from there so definitely check back.
While I’m in Haiti, I’ll find out if I get the grant that kicked off this site in the first place. Fingers and toes crossed. As appreciative as I am, this site can’t live by accolades alone.
I’ve been investigating a map of NGO’s in Haiti. I have a dream of going online to see which NGO’s doing what and where in Haiti. I have a dream of being able to search by city and project focus. I have a dream of better NGO coordination and avoiding duplication or concentration of similar services in one specific area. I have a dream of using that NGO map to enhance public-private partnerships and resource sharing. So far, I’ve heard from a few sources that such a map(s?) exists; still trying to pin it down.
Right now, I’m writing a story about Haitian-American business interests in Haiti. My research led me to an upcoming investment conference being held this June in Montrouis and Jacmel. It’s sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic, which of course, is well-positioned to take advantage of business opportunities in Haiti. If I can work out transportation and sleeping arrangements, I will definitely be reporting from there, too.
That’s it for now. Have a great Memorial Day weekend. I’ll be with my fam; hope you’re with yours.