CRISIS RESPONSE & RESPONSE TO CHRONIC NEED IN HAITI ARE OFTEN LESS EFFECTIVE THAN THEY COULD BE, AND IN THE PAST HAVE OFTEN FOSTERED CORRUPTION, DEPENDENCY, AND INEQUALITY
Large Agencies pour International aid into Haiti after hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and droughts. Large agencies, like International Red Cross, USAID, Inter-American Development Bank, CHF, Pan American Development Fund, etc want to work with grassroots leaders and organizations. How successfully are they doing that? CHF, for example, is reported to be one of the largest development employers in Haiti, with over $100 million in funding. "It employs 150-160 locals and employs around 10 expatriates...and has created 64,000 part time jobs. " according to: https://www.devex.com/news/top-aid-agencies-in-haiti-a-primer-61426.
Yet, after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, major international aid groups who wanted to work more effectively than they had after the earthquake of 2010 were still struggling to get supplies quickly and directly to affected communities. Within 3 weeks of the hurricane, Creative Exchanges Initiative was directly distributing cash stipends to 225 farmers, so they could immediately replant, and jump-starting economy with goat and agriculture programs to meet short-term food and economic needs, prevent migration to cities, and establish a healthier economy.
For systemic change to happen in Haiti, it needs to happen within and among agencies, NGOs, and individuals who work in, with, and on behalf of Haiti and its people. Otherwise, the work itself fosters corruption, dependency, and inequality.
Smaller NGOs, churches, civic groups, and individuals often gather resources and collect funds in response to natural disasters. But these efforts rarely are part of a long-term strategy, and don't contribute to sustainable systemic change. They often don't know how their effort fits into the larger picture, or contributes to the system as a whole. (such as how suitcases of T-shirts put the local Haitian used-clothing salesperson out of business. Their well-intentioned giving can have disastrous results.
For that to change, those who are contributing in isolated efforts (water only, for example; or to one community only; or in school-building that doesn't address need for building economy to locally sustain it) need access to bigger picture consequences and best-practices models. Groups who bring American resources and expertise to Haiti need awareness and access to local Haitian resources and expertise. (The cost of one person's mission trip, for example, might fund a Haitian entrepreneur for 6 months or more; the cost of bringing an American engineer to Haiti might hire 2-3 Haitian engineers for a 6-12 months)
Large agencies need a bridge to grassroots community-led groups with already-established practices of accountability, transparency, and effective local leadership.
Smaller partners, like churches and civic groups who regularly send mission groups, funds, or other aid to Haiti need a bridge to best-practices and local Haitian resources.
A Central hub, hosted by Creative Exchanges Initiative, could facilitate authentic engagement, honest dialogue, access to information and resources, and bridge grassroots community-capacity building organizations and civic groups in Haiti with small, medium, and large donors and partners?
Creative Exchanges Initiative's multi-pronged, integrated approach toward more quickly reaching a tipping point through development of internal change agents, locally-led community capacity building efforts, equal access to information, and equality of voice would become a readily scalable, replicable model?
This hub could be economically self-supporting, provide income for its developers and for on-going upgrades, and maybe even bring ongoing funding to Creative Exchanges Initiative?
The next time an earthquake or hurricane hit Haiti, major players like USAID, IFRC, and CNF could quickly connect with people throughout Haiti who, like Creative Exchanges Initiative's Senior Advisor Rodolphe Eloi and his local team, have expertise and ability to immediately & effectively work with grassroots leaders and structures, within a framework that supports longterm, sustainable development?
Create an economically self-supporting "hub" where people and organizations in Haiti, the US, Canada and elsewhere could access ideas, information, resources, etc that would spread healthy systemic change and sustainable development throughout Haiti, while also helping fund Creative Exchanges Initiative's lead-work in continual creation and extension of best-practices models.