Haiti – a learning curve indeed.

I’m running a fever and have body aches.  I’m fairly grumpy at this point because I just don’t do sick.  When I was working full-time my modus operandi was pop some pills and get on with it.  But that’s changed over the years.  Being at-home I can’t ignore how I feel, there is not enough to distract me.  So, I feel my pain.  And especially since I’m trying to listen to my body (after this experience).

Anyway, one of the things I do when I am healthy or sick, is read – blogs, articles, anything and everything.  I got to thinking how much amazing stuff I find online and I could let others know about it.

ON HAITI, hopefully soon NGOs are going to get food to the folk in Haiti.

First, one blog I read, from an NGO worker who is not in Haiti said this today:

In the next day or two, non-governmental organizations expect to begin mass food distributions to earthquake survivors in Haiti. They’re planning to do this in conjunction with military support- specifically, the US Marines and the United Nations Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

It’s taken more than two weeks to organize. I’ve explained some of these reasons elsewhere. In short, the logistics of trying to organize food distributions to hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously is an immense undertaking. As well as importing and moving that amount of food (food is heavy stuff), there’s the matter of locating and organizing distribution sites, coordinating dozens of agencies, working through broken infrastructure, communicating the details to the residents of Port-au-Prince, and trying to define the relationship between the military and aid agencies.

I thought his explanation for why things are so damned complicated in Haiti and what the NGOs and the government are doing, are not doing and why was brilliant.  So many in the media are asking questions and criticizing.  This person explained.  It may not be what we want to hear but I feel it was forthright and honest.  And since he’s not on the ground there he doesn’t need to feel defensive.

Secondly, I have found MFAN, Modernizing Modern Assistance Network.

MFAN is a reform coalition composed of international development and foreign policy practitioners, policy advocates and experts, concerned citizens and private sector organizations.  MFAN’s goal is to help build a safer, more prosperous world by strengthening the United States’ ability to alleviate extreme poverty, create opportunities for growth, and secure human dignity in developing countries.

Fantastic!  I’m  totally with them and when they provided a list of articles I realized that many of them I had already read in the last week.  These give you a sense of the discussions going on in and around Haiti about the aid that is and isn’t getting there, how things are organized (or not) and folks criticisms and affirmations.

From MFAN’s website:

Since almost the moment that a devastating earthquake struck Haiti nearly three weeks ago, high-level world leaders, development experts (including MFAN Principals), and others have published pieces with opinions on what went wrong with development in Haiti and what we can do to make things right.

One common feature of the commentary, with the exception of a few pieces (Atwood and Birdsall come to mind), is the fact that they call for a new development approach in Haiti without mentioning that a transformative debate is happening at all levels of government about how to make overall U.S. development and foreign assistance efforts more effective and accountable.  In spite of this omission, the pieces touch on important themes of foreign assistance reform that MFAN has been aggressively advocating for more than a year, and which are now being discussed as part of the White House’s Presidential Study Directive on Development Policy, the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and Congress’ anticipated efforts to revise the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

I hope you will read some of them.  I hope they are as interesting and informative to you as I found them.  I hope you will start talking about the reform that has already been in the works.  Here’s the list of articles again.

Sorry for a less than passionate post.  I am — very much so  — deeply interested.

Just under the weather.

Stay healthy yourself!

One thought on “Haiti – a learning curve indeed.

  1. A day or 2 ago, there was a post about the port being broken and the unloading of food by hand – and the fact that it would take 35 days to unload the full ship in that manner! 35 days! The dock could be rebuilt in that timeframe….but it does take time. I saw on the news tonight that some cranes have been moved in and some of the dock repaired – and trucks driving provisions out! Now it’s happening! The UN is also now in charge of deciding what and where to build. That’s another problem….no one wants camps that start out temporary and end up permanent….through in some gang violence and it could be really bad!


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