Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Haitian Diaspora Forum at OAS - Final Recommendations on an Strategic Plan for Haiti



March 21-23, 2010



(OtherStreams Comments: For far, the best positive, proactive, and propositive approach with an actual vision of FUTURE for Haiti, seconded only by the GOH's 'Haïti Demain" Territorial Plan and by H. E. The Culture Minister's vision of future)

The Haitian Diaspora wishes to thank the Organization of American States (OAS) for convening some 400 representatives from the Haitian Diaspora in its headquarters in Washington, DC, from March 21-23, 2010, to submit recommendations to the Government of Haiti and donors ahead of the discussion to be held on March 31st, 2010 at the United Nations in New York, as part of its contribution into the elaboration of a strategic plan for the reconstruction and development of its homeland. Following are the recommendations that emanated from the two-day discussions:


The Diaspora acknowledges and supports efforts by the Government of Haiti (GOH) and the private sector to address the post-earthquake urgencies. It welcomes their insistence to the international community that, in purchasing food aid, preference be given to local producers and national suppliers in order to avoid the contraction of domestic production. It also welcomes efforts initiated with the help of the international community to assess the structural integrity of existing homes, and to implement cash for work programs.

The Diaspora would like to urge the GOH to:

R1. Collaborate with the international community to ensure that food distribution systems and shelter arrangements take into account social and cultural factors and respect the dignity of people (e.g. establish distribution schedules and community kitchens; keep lines short at distribution points; target vulnerable beneficiaries for special distribution channels including home delivery; uphold regional equity by extending distribution to areas that have welcomed the displaced population; etc.).

R2. Transform the idle time at the camps into educational opportunities and provide various trainings, including civic education for children, young adolescents and adults. At the same time, strengthen the educational infrastructure outside of Port-au-Prince including at pre-school, primary, secondary, adult, vocational, and higher educational levels. Emphasize teacher training throughout the country.

R3. Seek the coordination of distribution efforts with all stakeholders, including local governments, international aid agencies, hometown associations and community groups in Haiti and abroad. Additionally, increase transparency and accountability by requiring aid agencies to publicize a detailed accounting of funds expended in Haiti.

R4. Given the fast-approaching rainy and hurricane season, seek the collaboration of aid agencies and local Haitian organizations to identify and prepare areas outside of Port-au-Prince that are less susceptible to natural disasters. Build seismic and cyclonic resistant temporary housing, such as modular housing and prefabricated homes. In the design of long-term housing and shelter plans, adopt and enforce seismic and cyclonic resistant building codes.

R5. Increase the effectiveness of humanitarian aid by empowering aid recipients through the extension of work-for-food and cash-for-work programs within the camps and throughout the critical areas, with a focus on the youth and women. Collaborate with aid agencies to assess periodically the humanitarian needs and the effectiveness of aid distribution within and outside of Port-au-Prince, including through feedback from beneficiaries.


R6. Increase accountability through greater transparency and oversight of all reconstruction funds (public or private) with the creation of an Inspector General Office. Such Office shall be required to conduct audits and investigations to prevent fraud, waste and abuse, and shall report its findings publicly.

R7. Make best efforts to ensure that firms that are contracted in Haiti hire Haitian workers and contractors as a priority, including from the Diaspora, as a means to alleviate poverty, enable job training and creation, reverse the brain drain by expanding human capital that will, in turn, attract foreign investment.

R8. Recognize the importance of the Diaspora in the Haitian economy and, referencing the Plan d’Action pour le Relèvement et le Développement National (March 2010), yield to the Diaspora’s strong request for a full voting seat in la Commission Intérimaire pour la Reconstruction d’Haïti.

R9. Create a Civil Service Corps with the participation of Haitian nationals and the Diaspora, particularly women, to assist in the building process. Donors are encouraged to review their personnel’s legal framework with the view of facilitating the transfer or detail of Creole-speaking employees to work on loan in Haiti.


The Diaspora stands ready to play its part in the development of private capital vehicles for investing in Haiti such as social venture capital funds, and to bring to bear its multifaceted expertise in capital markets, technology, engineering, green energy, etc. The proposals of the Diaspora for a sustainable development are articulated around two themes: (i) greater involvement of the Diaspora and (ii) sector specific recommendations.

The Diaspora urges the GOH to:

R10. Set an ambitious but concrete and quantifiable goal for the short and medium run, particularly in terms of GDP growth (6% per year or more) and reduction of poverty.

R11. Work with donors to formally engage the Diaspora in the implementation and follow up of measures and recommendations for recovery and reconstruction. As such, create a platform for exchanging information and ensuring that (i) the Diaspora is updated on business opportunities as well as other developments and (ii) at the same time that the GOH is aware of resources available in the Diaspora (financial and human).

R12. Publicize eligibility and selection criteria for donor-funded projects and ensure greater participation of Haitian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Diaspora investors. Moreover, create streamlined/expedited processes for business formation and license applications including a single point of entry for business proposals where investors can get responses from relevant authorities on firm timetables.

R13. Recognize dual nationality. Although the Diaspora understands that there are no legal impediments to investments, dual nationality will create greater inclusion and incentive.

R14. Increase accountability, transparency and oversight of all funds with detailed reporting through a public information system and a reformed/strengthened judicial system.

R15. Have an updated and publicly available inventory of all NGOs operating in the national territory and a mapping of their activities and their sources of funding.

R16. Promote green (solar, wind, ocean thermal and geothermal) and/or locally produced energy to achieve energy independence and security. Reduce electricity theft through wireless usage meter. Provide training opportunities to sustain a workforce prepared to install and maintain alternative energy solutions.

R17. Prioritize projects based on their contribution to decentralization, deconcentration, and the participation of women.

R18. Strengthen the role of the Investment Facilitation Center (Centre de Facilitation des Investments -CFI) and institute self-contained, automated regional branches to facilitate the establishment of corporations and investments directly outside the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Also, amplify the database within CFI of potential partners by sector.

R19. Create a mechanism to promote Haiti as a tourism destination even in the short term and to address all aspects of tourism security. Provide training opportunities to sustain a workforce prepared to install and maintain a thriving hospitality industry.

R20. Have a subaccount for the apparel industry within the framework of the Guarantee Fund which is currently being created. Moreover, create a mechanism to make credit readily available for the productive activities, particularly in the agricultural sector.

R21. Increase productivity by strengthening vocational training and targeting skills demanded by the market, while promoting the employment of women. This would include an assessment of available skills and needs by sector.

R22. Encourage innovation through the strengthening of intellectual property rights.

R23. Transform the rural landscape by promoting local farming to better compete with agricultural imports, by aggressively pursuing food security and promoting agro-exports and agro-industry (including vertical integration). Specifically, promote rural units of integrated production including aquaculture, livestock, light manufacturing, services, etc.

R24. Identify each region’s comparative advantage and invest accordingly. Provide for appropriate financing of development activities, particularly through the widening of the tax base.


The Diaspora views institutional rebuilding and the consolidation of democratic governance as imperative. It believes that social justice, the rule of law, the respect of civil liberties and the protection of private property are key to creating an environment conducive to economic growth and development. 

Thus, it encourages the GOH to:

R25. Combat impunity and review immunity provisions in order to prosecute to the full extent of the law officials who have been perceived to abuse their privileges.

R26. Use the expertise of the Diaspora to continue the process of reforming the Constitution, including those provisions related to granting Dual Nationality to members of the Diaspora and facilitate enactment of new measures and legislations at the Executive and Parliamentary levels that will integrate the Haitian Diaspora in Haiti's society.

R27. Implement provisions of the Constitution with regards to decentralization.

R28. Adopt a realistic decision on the scheduling of the elections taking into consideration the special circumstances as a result of the earthquake. Collaborate with international partners and Diaspora organizations to put in place a mechanism to encourage greater participation of the Diaspora as electoral observers in all upcoming elections.

R29. Pursue the transfer of knowledge and expertise to help strengthen capacity through effective mechanisms such as (i) twinning/exchange programs with Diaspora professionals and through online communities and (ii) partnerships with academic centers for the training of civil servants.

R30. Establish an independent judiciary and accelerate the reform of Haiti’s criminal laws and procedures, including the correctional system, and increase the number of judges, prosecutors, police and corrections officers, and other court personnel.

R31. Reform the country’s justice system, and strengthen the capacity of its Ministries, including the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, to support national government institutions operating in local communities, and to develop and train a core of middle managers to assume leadership roles within their organizations.


The Diaspora believes that natural disaster management should be a long-term priority of the State. If Haiti cannot control the likelihood of natural disasters, it must manage the ensuing vulnerability and risks. 

Hence, the GOH should:

R32. Strengthen the capacity of the country to react to catastrophes and manage natural disasters through the implementation of a national emergency action plan. Particularly, implement strict building codes.

R33. Reinforce La Direction de la Protection Civile through formal training of public servants at all levels in disaster-related fields. At the same time, implement programs for disaster preparedness and simulation exercises. For example, implement a web-enabled crisis information management system to provide realtime information sharing to improve the response to disasters.


C h i l d   W e l f a r e

The Diaspora believes that laws and regulations that govern child abandonment, foster care, kinship care, domestic and inter-country adoption need to be modernized. Diaspora professional social workers and specialists in child welfare models as well as legal experts stand ready to consult and partner with the Ministry of Social Affairs, particularly l’Institut du Bien-Être Social et de Recherché (Institute for Social Welfare and Research), to provide training and technical support. NGOs working with children should be required to register with the Ministry prior to having access to children, and then be monitored by a set of guidelines.

The Diaspora makes the following recommendations for short-term improvements and long-term sustainability:

R34. Adopt the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention), which aims to prevent the abduction, sale or traffic of children, and prioritize the adoption of children by Haitian families in Haiti and the Diaspora. Further, work with identified partners to develop culturally congruent education and training for those wishing to care for Haitian children in order to minimize additional trauma and maximize adaptive outcomes consistent with Haitian culture and values.

R35. Support family preservation to prevent child abandonment, by offering support services to families and/or extended families to care for their own children. Moreover, phase out the orphanage system through the re-integration of children into family/extended family like settings (i.e. foster care models).

R36. Create a central database of all children in out-of-family placement, where progress and services are recorded and tracked ---modeled after best practices.

E d u c a t i o n

Members of the Diaspora who are in academia wish to collaborate with the government and the private sector to offer their services in implementing the following recommendations:

R37. Implement quality Universal Education For All (EFA) that assures equitable access to all children, including over-aged students and students with disabilities, that offers health and sports program, and civic education, that supplies second-chance education (drop-outs and youths) as well as youth mentoring and adult literacy programs, and that provides free meals (breakfast and lunch), free transportation, potable water, uniforms, and school supplies. Such education will have to be provided in schools built on the basis of safe building codes and fitted with all modern sanitation and hygiene facilities.

R38. Strengthen the certification process of teachers and administrators, and implement (i) appropriate training structures to ensure their ongoing professional development and (ii) a mentoring and exchange program between Haiti and Diaspora teachers. Similarly, implement a program of adoption of Haiti schools and students by Diaspora schools and students. Such partnership should occur also at the higher learning level, and extended through collaboration with foreign universities. Moreover, provide incentives to teachers and administrators through decent wages and reasonable benefit packages.

R39. Design school programs that utilize results-based criteria and reflect national standards. Such programs should be culturally relevant (use of Creole), promote differentiated curricula (by age and ability level), foster STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs, uphold technologically friendly tools and conduits (distance learning, media, internet, etc.), and support post-secondary internships for workforce readiness, as well as school readiness programming through a community approach that leads to higher education and vocational training.

R40. Address the needs of all vulnerable groups (special education, orphans/unaccompanied minors, restavek/children in domesticity, exploited children, disabled youths, etc.). Further, implement psychosocial support services.

W o m e n

Haitian women are facing specific challenges as the impact of the devastating earthquake meets the limitations of their gendered social roles. The disaster has further weakened their ability to perform their already overwhelming tasks as mother, wife, caregiver, educator, financial provider, entrepreneur and activist.

International aid and assistance, as well as the involvement of Haitian women living abroad, will be a significant determinant of recovery and growth, dignity, equal opportunity and the overall development of Haitian women during this recovery and reconstruction phase.

R41. Conduct a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) with a direct focus on women and from a gender perspective, in order to identify specific challenges and good practices. On the basis of this Gender PDNA, allocate an equitable percentage of funding for meeting these documented needs.

R42. Encourage the Haitian government, civil society and the Diaspora to take gender issues into consideration in the conception, formulation and implementation of policies, structures and programs (affirmative action), and work with the media to support positive reinforcement of the status of women.

R43. Reinforce security in temporary shelters, food distribution centers and other environments for women and children by increasing the presence of women among security personnel, including both local and foreign troops. In particular, security personnel should be trained to recognize and gender-based violence.

R44. Adopt and implement a zero tolerance policy towards violence against women and children and implement the necessary measures to make this policy operational, including detention and prosecution of alleged offenders, stricter punishment relating to sexual offences against women and girls and the protection of victims and witnesses.

R45. Allow Haitian women, more particularly Haitian women living in rural communities, fair consideration and access to funding (in particular micro-credit), which will permit them to purchase land, supplies and
equipment that will strengthen their role in agriculture.

H e a l t h   D e v e l o p m e n t

The need for medical attention and care has nearly tripled as a result of the seism; and the doubling of medical infrastructure and services is indispensable to avoid a major health care crisis. 

As a result, the Haitian government needs to:

R46. Increase Haiti’s medical and health care capacities to meet the actual and future needs of the population
through a medical assistance program with the Haitian Diaspora where Haitians from abroad will provide their services for two weeks at time on a year round basis.

R47. Foster a partnership between Diaspora and local health care professionals to provide intense and modern technology training. Particularly, offer clinical mentorship programs to build technical and practical capacity for the numerous medical students who are no longer in school.

R48. Partner with universities as well as public and private hospitals to achieve uninterrupted medical service through clinical education. Further, maintain a medical residency and fellowship, focusing on diseases that are endemic to Haiti and the Caribbean (use of current technologies where continued training and support of Haitian doctors and nurses can be done through teleconferencing).

R49. Create a “mini-fellowship” fund in infectious diseases for local doctors and nurses.

R50. Strengthen family planning, women’s reproductive health and child health organizations, health centers in conjunction with the GOH. Special attention must be given to pregnant women living in precarious conditions in temporary shelters.

R51. Create mental health clinics to address the various post-earthquake traumas to provide therapy, especially to children and other vulnerable groups. Social workers from the Diaspora can be key in addressing this issue while understanding how culturally sensitive this is.

R52. Create therapy centers for the rehabilitation of thousands of amputees and for their reintegration in society.

R53. Urge donor countries to create a program to sponsor a certain number of students (a number to be agreed upon) per accredited medical schools per year during the period of reconstruction.

Recommendations - Haitian Diaspora Forum - Expanded                                                            

OAS Web Site >

Haitian Led Reconstruction & Development

A compilation of recommendation documents from several Haitian civil society and diaspora conferences, organizations and coalitions.

March 29, 2010

(full document below)

Below are common strategy points as well as process guidelines that are raised in multiple documents, both for immediate relief efforts and long-term reconstruction and development efforts:

  • Provide locally or regionally produced emergency food aid with coordinated and equitable distribution
    in both urban and rural areas of need.
  • Preparation for the imminent planting season by the procurement and purchase of tools and culturally
    appropriate seeds, as well as by providing agricultural training for displaced persons.
  • Support for shelter and temporary housing for internally displaced people, including adequate food,
    clean water, appropriate shelter for the rain season, medical services and psycho-social support.
  • Protection of human rights of especially vulnerable populations, such as women, children, displaced persons and people with disabilities, including security strategies to prevent gender based violence, documentation of human rights abuses, and provision of universal, non-discriminatory access to support and resources.


  • Support for agricultural infrastructure and development including investments in: seeds and tools; reforestation; water cisterns, new wells, and irrigation systems; soil conservation; and animal husbandry to repopulate the Creole pig.
  • Promotion of policies that foster food sovereignty that include land reform, financial support for small farmers, rural investment, and regulation of food markets to protect the local economy.
  • Leadership training, capacity building, and support for civil society groups conducted in a way that promotes participation within local, national and international government structures, as well as the ability of Haiti to break its dependency on international aid.
  • Strengthening and investment in formal and informal education systems to build national literacy, job creation and universal access in both urban and rural areas.

  • Strengthened civil society participation in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of all immediate and long-term reconstruction and development initiatives, both by the Haitian government and international actors. This necessitates sensitivity to language barriers and includes participation in the upcoming March 31 donor’s meeting.
  • Promotion of transparency and accountability among the Haitian government, NGOs and international donors that is fostered by a robust and active civil society with access to information in locally accessible languages.
  • Decentralization of infrastructure and resources in the long-neglected rural areas, including health, agriculture, education, water, sanitation, communications, power, housing, justice and social services.
  • Coordination with local, regional, international actors at all levels for reconstruction efforts, which includes aid distribution and repair of infrastructure.
 Haitian Led Reconstruction & Development                                                                   

This compilation was prepared by a Washington, D.C. based ad-hoc Haiti advocacy coalition (contributing members listed inside). Views expressed in the documents included are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the coalition that prepared this document.

Haiti president Rene Preval speaks to Al Jazeera

Rene Preval, Haiti's president, has been criticised for a lack of leadership since the January 12 earthquake struck Haiti, leaving more than 230,000 people dead.

Preval is to address the International Donors Conference on Wednesday, where more than 100 countries will meet at the United Nations to develop a long-term plan for Haiti's reconstruction.

He tells Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds that the recovery strategy for Haiti should focus on the entire country.

Mar, 29, 2010

“Reconstructing to Rebalance Haiti after the Earthquake”


“Reconstructing to Rebalance Haiti after the Earthquake”

Robert Maguire, Ph.D.
Trinity Washington University And The United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

Testimony presented before the Subcommittee on International Development, Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs and International Environmental Protection of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
February 4, 2010

(document below)

1. Welcoming Dislocated Persons: A de facto Decentralization

Since the quake, some 250,000 Port-au-Prince residents have fled the city, returning to towns and villages from which they had migrated or where they have family. An estimated 55,000 have shown up in Hinche in Haiti’s Central Plateau; the population of Petite Riviere de l’Artibonite has swelled from 37,000 to 62,000; St. Marc’s 60,000, has swollen to 100,000. The flight of Haitians away from a city that now represents death, destruction and loss might become a silver lining in today’s very dark cloud. If that is to be the case, however, we – both the government of Haiti and its international partners – must catch up with and get ahead of this movement. Already underdeveloped rural infrastructures and the resources of already impoverished rural families are being stretched. The provision of basic services to these displaced populations is an urgent priority. If conditions in the countryside are not improved, the displaced will ultimately return to Port-au-Prince, to replicate the dangerous dynamics of earlier decades.

To catch up and get ahead of this reverse migration, we should support an idea proffered by the Government of Haiti in Montreal last week: the reinforcement of 200 decentralized communities. As soon as possible, “Welcome Centers” might be stood up in towns and villages. They can be temporary, to be made permanent later. They can serve as decentralized ‘growth poles’ that offer multiple services, including relief in the short term, with health and education facilities attached. Let us not forget that Haiti has lost many of its schools and among those fleeing the devastated city are tens of thousands of students. Twenty five percent of Haitian rural districts do not have schools. And schools that exist outside Port-au-Prince are usually seriously deficient. The reverse migration we are seeing today offers a golden opportunity to rebalance the education and health system of Haiti.

The centers can coordinate investment and employment opportunities, as well as state services including robust agronomic assistance to farmers. Haiti’s planting season is almost here and now more than ever the country needs a bountiful harvest. Displaced people working as paid labor can reinforce Haiti’s farmers.

Infrastructure needs to be rebuilt – or built for the first time - including schools, health clinics, community centers, roads, bridges and drainage canals. Hillsides need rehabilitation, particularly with vegetative cover and perhaps even stone terraces. Providing work for not just the displaced, but to those they are joining in towns and villages throughout Haiti, will go a long way toward rebalancing Haitian economy and society, and toward repairing a social fabric ripped to shreds by decades of neglect and subsequent migration. This is an opportunity that must be seized.

2. Support the Creation of a National Civic Service Corps

Since 2007, various Haitian government officials and others have been working quietly on the prospect of creating a Haitian National Civic Service Corps. Citizen civic service is mandated in Article 52-3 of the Haitian constitution and, even before the quake, the idea of a civic service corps to mobilize unemployed and disaffected youth seemed attractive. Now is the time for this idea to take off. As I have recently written, a 700,000-strong national civic service corps will rapidly harness untapped labor in both rural and urban settings, especially among Haiti’s large youthful population, to rebuild Haiti’s public infrastructure required for economic growth and environmental rehabilitation and protection; increase productivity, particularly of farm products; restore dignity and pride through meaningful work; and give Haitian men and women a stake in their country’s future. It will also form the basis of a natural disaster response mechanism.

If this all sounds familiar, it should: the idea of a Haitian National Civic Service Corps parallels the same thinking that went into the creation of such New Deal programs as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

We have seen what these programs did to help the United States and its people stand up during a difficult time.

In the aftermath of the storms that devastated Haiti in 2008, Haitian President Prèval asked not for charity, but for a helping hand to allow Haitians to rebuild their country. Today he is making a similar point. Here is more symmetry between the Haiti and the U.S. As Harry Hopkins, the legendary administrator of the Works Progress Administration, pointed out: “most people would rather work than take handouts. A paycheck from work didn’t feel like charity, with the shame that it conferred. It was better if the work actually built something. Then workers could retain their old skills or develop new ones, and add improvements to the public infrastructure like roads and parks and playgrounds.” Let’s help Haiti restore its balance by supporting a national civic service corps that can accomplish the same for Haiti and its people as our New Deal programs did in the United States decades ago.

To reiterate, as was the case with our New Deal, Haiti’s civic service corps must be a ‘cash-for-work’ initiative. Cash-for-work will inject serious liquidity into the Haitian economy and stimulate recovery from the bottom-up. Already there are various entities employing Haitians in a variety of cash-for-work programs. This Monday, for example, the UNDP announced that it has enrolled 32,000 in a cash-for-work rubble removing program; a number expected to double by tomorrow. Coordination of existing efforts within an envisaged national program will be essential to maximizing how Haiti can be built back better – by its own people, with everyone wearing the same uniform.

A special commission, similar to those established by President Prèval in 2007 to engage Haitians from diverse sectors to study and make recommendations on key issues confronting his government, might be established to oversee this coordination. (Other special commissions could be mounted to tackle other topics or needs and as a means of expanding the Haitian government’s human resource circle.) Such a commission could be enlarged to include representatives of key donors. A central figure like Harry Hopkins will have to lead the endeavor. Perhaps such a figure could emerge from Haiti’s vaunted private sector. In any case, let’s avoid a repetition of the cacophony of feel good, flag-draped projects.

3. Strengthen Haitian state institutions through accompaniment, cooperation and partnership

At the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Haiti held last week, witnesses spoke of the need to rebuild the Haitian state from the bottom up, and of working with Haitian officials – not pushing them aside. I agree with these points whole-heartedly. This is not the time to impose governance on Haiti – that is a 19th century idea unfit for the 21st century. This is an opportunity to help strengthen Haiti’s public institutions, not to replace them.

As pointed out above, the capacity of the Haitian state, never strong to begin with, has deteriorated progressively over the past 50 years. In recent years that was due in part to international policies that circumvented state institutions in favor of private ones – both within Haiti and from beyond, and left the resource-strapped government virtually absent in the lives of its citizens. In the aftermath of the quake, we see starkly the results of the decimation of the Haiti state. The already weak state has been further set back by the death of civil servants and the loss of state facilities and physical resources. In this context, the government of President Rene Prèval and Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive has taken much criticism for its response – or lack thereof – in the past few weeks.

It is easy to kick someone in the teeth when he or she is already on the mat. Rather than swinging our foot, however, we should offer our hand. This is the time of the Haitian government’s greatest need. Achieving cooperation and partnership, as pointed out by Canadian Prime Minister Harper at the recently-held Montreal Conference, is the biggest concern. Over the past four years, the Prèval government has won praise internationally – and among most in Haiti – over its improved management of the affairs of the state. Political conflict, though still extant, has diminished considerably. Haiti’s terribly polarized society is a little less polarized today. Moderation and greater inclusion – not demagoguery and a winner-takes-all attitude – have worked their way into the ethos of the Haitian political culture. Partnership to strengthen the Haitian state was on the horizon following the ‘new paradigm for partnership’ agreed to at the April 2009 Donors Conference.

Let’s stay that course. Generations of bad governance and a zero sum political culture are not turned around overnight.

Quietly, but steadily in the post-quake period, the Haitian government has been picking itself up by its bootstraps beyond the photo-ops and glare of the cameras to reassemble, and then to reassert, itself. Still, given the magnitude of this catastrophe, the government is overmatched. Any government would be. This is not the time to cast aspersions. It is the time to work in partnership and to accompany Haitian leaders through their time of loss and sorrow, into a more balanced and better future.

4. Get Money into the Hands of Poor People

In 1999, Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto estimated that there was $5.2 billion in ‘dead capital’ in Haiti, shared among 82 percent of the population. Of this sum, $3.2 billion was located in rural Haiti. This amount dwarfed by four times the total assets of Haiti’s 123 largest formal enterprises. This capital, principally in the hands of poor people in the form of property, land, and goods, is considered ‘dead’ because it cannot be used to leverage further capital for investment and growth. To free it up, clear titling would be required along with a reduction of red tape and corruption, and a brand newattitude toward Haiti’s most vibrant form of capitalism – its’ informal economy – and the poor entrepreneurs who make it work.

Doubtless, you have seen post-quake stories of how Haiti’s grassroots entrepreneurs began rebounding within days.

A key to Haiti’s recovery – and, yes, to its rebalancing – is to get capital into the hands of grassroots entrepreneurs – be they still in Port-au-Prince or elsewhere in the country. Formalizing dead capital – which will be a long, tedious and conflictive path, but one that perhaps can be facilitated now through such steps as the issuance of provisional land and property titles that subsequently are fully formalized – is but one way of getting liquid assets into poor people’s hands. Others, more expeditious, include:
  • More small loans (microcredit) to entrepreneurs, particularly those who produce something, including farmers. Farmers with capital will not just produce more food, but will increase employment. Government studies indicate that a 10% increase in man-hours on farms will create 40,000 new jobs. One strong candidate to improve microcredit throughout Haiti is an organization called FONKOZE. With more than 33 branches country-wide, it serves some 175,000 members, mostly among those who make – or made prior to their engagement with microcredit - $2.00 a day or less. FONKOZE also facilitates the efficient and lower cost decentralizing of the flow of funds sent to Haiti from family abroad.
  • Haiti must now benefit from a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program. Brilliantly popular in such places as Mexico and Brazil, CCT programs serve as a means of transferring cash to the poorest of the poor, conditioned upon the children of poor families attending quality schools and fully operational clinics. Mexico’s program is largely rural; Brazil’s more urban-oriented. In both cases, they have succeeded in assisting millions of poor families improve living standards while sending their children to schools and clinics. As such, CCTs have invested in future human resources. Such a program in Haiti could accomplish these goals, but only if Haiti’s educational and health systems are extended into rural areas (helping to rebalance) and upgraded in existing locations (helping to rebuild). Importantly, CCT programs provide the government with the challenge/opportunity of being a positive presence in the lives of citizens. In Haiti, this is essential as a means of enabling the government to move from being largely absent to being positively present in the lives of citizens, and to demonstrate therefore that there are tangible fruits of democratic governance.

5. Seek-out and Support Institutions, Businesses, and Leaders who work toward Greater Inclusion, Less Inequality, and Enact Socially-Responsible Strategies for Investing in Haiti.

One cannot discuss the future of Haiti without considering the prospect of external investment to create factory jobs, particularly in view of the HOPE II legislation and its potential benefits. Beyond any doubt, factory jobs should be a part of Haiti’s future. Already, some of the assembly plants in Port-au-Prince are back in operation, to the satisfaction of both owners and workers. In this regard, support should be given to the “Renewing Hope for Haitian Trade and Investment Act for 2010” introduced by Senators Wyden and Nelson. But, as this legislation is considered, three important points must be kept in mind if this job creation strategy is to be a plus in helping Haiti to rebalance, ‘build back better’ and avoid mistakes of the past.

First, the fiasco of the 1980’s ‘Taiwanization’ period must not be repeated. Universal free education and rural investment are important, and though they will not precede assembly investment, they must robustly parallel it and eventually get ahead of it. Investment in Haiti should not ignore decentralized agri-business possibilities and the economic growth and development it can bring through jobs and the infusion of cash into the Haitian economy.

Second, assembly plants cannot be concentrated largely in Port-au-Prince. If nothing else, the shattered infrastructure of the city should serve as an incentive for decentralization. Haiti has at least a dozen coastal cities that either already have a functioning, albeit usually rudimentary, infrastructure or where a port and support infrastructure can be built – perhaps at a lower costs than Port-au-Prince. Decentralization to coastal cities and towns offers Haiti and investors an opportunity to undo the damage begun fifty years ago by Papa Doc’s insidious centralization in Port-au-Prince and to rebalance the prospects for economic growth and infrastructure development (including electricity) to all of Haiti.

Third, investors, owners and managers must be mindful of the fact that Haitian workers are more than plentiful cheap labor. As Secretary of State Clinton said at the April Donors’ Conference, “‘talent is universal; opportunity is not.” A key to Haiti’s renaissance is to improve the opportunity environment for all of its people. Haiti’s Diaspora offers bountiful evidence of what can be achieved when opportunities are twinned with talent.

Jeffry Sachs has equated factory jobs in Bangladesh with the first rung on a ladder toward greater opportunity and development. In Haiti, however, the ladder for most factory workers, in view of their survival wages juxtaposed with a constantly increasing cost of living and the absence of any public social safety net, has a single rung. Haiti’s opportunity environment will be improved considerably:
  • If investors, owners, and mangers recognize that Haiti’s workers have legitimate aspirations to improve their lives, and their honest days’ work should be means for that, and;
  • If investors, owners and managers follow that recognition with actions that demonstrate socially responsible investing and public-private partnerships that improve workers status and conditions, and;
  • If the Haitian state has the strength and resources to become and remain a positive presence in workers lives by providing services to them and their children, particularly in education, health, and safety from gangs and other criminal elements whose activities are often financed by narcotics trafficking.
“Reconstructing to Rebalance Haiti after the Earthquake”                                                              

Wole Soyinka, Literature Nobel Laureate, on Haiti

UNESCO Forum on Haiti
Mar, 24, 2010
Rebuilding the social, cultural and intellectual fabric of Haiti



 Wole Soyinka at The Nobel Prize Web Site >

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Haïti Get Back Up / Ayiti Leve Kanpe / Haiti Levántate

An 8min time capsule of Haiti, Pre/Post Earthquake!
Jean Jean-Pierre and 
the Dominican Republic Symphonic Orchestra
Conductor: José Antonio Molina

The Dominican Republic National Choir
Conductor: José Enrique Espin

Composer/Producer: Jean Jean-Pierre

Director: Yvetot Gouin

Making Haiti Whole

March 28, 2010

Making Haiti Whole

A donors’ conference at the United Nations this Wednesday is meant to be the beginning of the long, slow birth of a new Haiti.

Representatives of the Haitian government, the United States and other nations and aid organizations will be discussing large, ambitious, farsighted plans.

Participants will be asked for lots of money: $11.5 billion to start, $34.4 billion over 10 years.

That is a large investment for a small country, but it is not all Haiti needs.

For this to succeed, the commitments made this week will need to be sustained for many years, and the rebuilding will need to clear away more than just rubble.

It will need to sweep out the old, bad ways of doing things, not only those of the infamously corrupt and hapless government, but also of aid and development agencies, whose nurturing of Haiti has been a manifest failure for more than half a century.

The good news is that even before the Jan. 12 earthquake, international donors had largely reached a consensus on what they had done wrong, and how to get Haiti right.

Their conclusions are reflected in the plans to be presented this week, with ideas like these:


No donor wants to pour more cash down a Haiti sinkhole, or to fritter it away in small-bore projects that do not accomplish much.

The plan envisions a multidonor trust fund managed by the World Bank that pools money for big projects and avoids wasteful redundancy.

The Haitian Development Authority would approve the projects; outside auditors would oversee the spending.

There also is a parallel idea, in which certain donors choose just one area to focus all their efforts — reconstructing government buildings, say, or fixing the power grid.

That promises to be an effective way to eliminate the curse of inefficiency.


Haiti is Haiti’s problem, for Haitians to solve with the help of the rest of the world.

The rebuilding must involve genuine, not token, engagement by the Haitian government and civil society.

Previous efforts by aid organizations to entirely avoid the control — and corruption — of the government were an understandable impulse, but had the unwanted effect of undermining the effectiveness and credibility of the Haitian state.

The new plan proposes an interim recovery commission of Haitians and non-Haitians, which would eventually evolve into a Haitian Development Authority that answers to the prime minister.

If it works, Haiti might no longer have to rely on freelance charities roaming the country, doing scattershot good works that cannot be sustained.

Relief agencies have also recently been hiring thousands of Haitians to clear rubble.

The country needs much more of that strategy, in other areas like reforestation and reconstruction, to boost not just employment but also the skills of the work force.


Haitians need seeds and fertilizer more than bags of charity groceries.

President Bill Clinton recently confessed that United States trade policies in his tenure did more to help rice farmers in Arkansas than those in Haiti.

Haiti now enjoys generous access to the American market, which should be continued and expanded. As many experts have pointed out, modest investments in the garment industry, and trade preferences for it, could swiftly employ many thousands of Haitians and accelerate foreign investment.


Haiti does have a large, successful professional class — entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, teachers and administrators.

It just happens to live in Brooklyn, Miami, Boston, Canada and other places.

Many of its members are eager to go back to Haiti to help.

They could do so far more easily if their governments subsidized their salaries when they moved.

Such paid furloughs would quickly supply Haiti with people of great expertise, language skills and deep commitment to the rebuilding.


There are too many people in Port-au-Prince. Haiti needs new population centers, less congested and more vibrant.

The failure to build safe housing for earthquake survivors is a continuing tragedy; the time to start fixing it is now, far from the capital.

The paradox being confronted on Wednesday is how to rebuild a country that was never properly built in the first place.

Haiti may yet escape the crushing legacy of its tragic history, propelled by the opportunity that this latest tragedy creates.

The government of President René Préval has not inspired confidence in its handling of the relief effort, but it has a chance to shake off its inertia and show it wants to get the rebuilding right, beginning this week.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rebuilding the social, cultural and intellectual fabric of Haiti

UNESCO Forum on Haiti 

Mar, 24, 2010 

'Rebuilding the social, cultural and intellectual fabric of Haiti' 

"...Haiti has The Most Resilient People of The World..."
"...strike the iron while it is hot..."
"...The responsibility is ours..."

Mr. Davidson Hepburn 
President of The General Conference of UNESCO

A Post-Earthquake Rapid Assessment of Cité Soleil

Port-au-Prince - March 2010 by The Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED) - www.inured.org

"...A detailed, well-conceived and executed, and ambitious plan to assess local needs in both quantitative and qualitative terms, a report called "Voices from the Shanties" voices some concerns about security and trauma that are going under the radar.

It also uncovers some practices from individual families to abuse the system by fanning out into many camps (which if neighborhood groups were organizing the distribution would be much more difficult - not to mention less likely for corruption or violence - as grassroots groups constantly point out).

Primary concerns remain sanitation - literally shit - and its health consequences in the U.N. run camps.

As almost every report from the field has shown, Haitian survivors are doing an amazing job of working together, of building solidarity, of organizing neighborhood-level committees.

This comes as no surprise to those who know the Haitian people, but apparently this knowledge seems not to trickle up to mainstream foreign media, policymakers, donors, and large NGOs.

Survivors are excluded from the process.

The U.N. cluster meetings exclude Haitian survivors and even government officials, as
Reed Lindsay reported.

Meetings are held in French, a language that 90 percent of the population does not speak and cannot write.

Even progressive solidarity organizations are having conversations in English.

A network of 47 progressive groups in Haiti and other countries met to critique the exclusion of Haitian civil society from this plan, publishing a
statement on March 18 signed by 26 groups.

The plan does appear to be more of the same..."

David Schuller for The Huffington Post >

Voices From the Shanties                                                            

An Urgent Call for Action addressed to the Great Solidarity Will and Business Vision of The People of China

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
March, 27, 2010

Honorable Businessmen, Businesswomen, Authorities, and People of China.

Your greatness and wisdom is as great as the size of your Country, the greatness of your heart, the timeless legacy of your enchanted culture, the number of your peoples, the magnitude of your economy, and the strength of your resilience.

Getting to the point, you are so brilliant that you became “rainmakers”.

And now, a brother Country, an example of resilience as you are, is desperately in need of this unique capability you have.

I am not talking about magic skills, but about pure high tech technology.

This is all about the Cloud Seeding technique in which you are the masters in the world.

I had been noticed, by the way, even about some fun tales reporting on provinces complaining about other provinces “stealing” their rains.

This is the core idea. In some way, in the contrary objective as it is used.

I am far from being an expert in the issue and maybe I am saying complete stupid things for what I since and right now apologize. But the cause is worthy seeming myself stupid or crazy.

I can also imagine that it is a very expensive enterprise but I am sure that it can compensate even under a business perspective as I will explain below.

The idea is to monitor, evaluate and “steal” the rains before they fall over the Port-au-Prince area.

The idea is “attacking” the clouds to make the rain fall in not so populated areas, or where people are better abridged, or over the sea, or at least to make fall part of the rains before the camps areas.

We are really proud to be together there, Brazil and China, in the MINUSTAH peacekeeping UN Mission.

We know, also, being so far as you are, that China was one of the first Countries to arrive in Haiti and with a really heavy aid.

Western media didn’t show it as usual, as didn’t show also the invaluable help of Cuba and Venezuela for instance.

But at in some channels as Democracy Now (an independent US Web Channel) and Al Jazeera I could see the infinite to the horizon line of red packages of supplies with the yellow star by the Port-au-Prince airport.

But the rains season is coming and we have 300,000 people unabridged and 1,300,000 people abridged improperly in improvised tent camps.

As the heavy rains come we will lose certainly at least 25% of them, after losing more than 250,00 people by the Jan 12th earthquake.

It is too heavy for a solely and yet suffered Country.

It is too much for the Human Kind!

Just now, while I am writing, a gadget of the Weather Channel noticed me that is raining there. I really want to do something…

The rains season there are heavy and they mean much more than wet bodies in areas with no shelter, sanitation and none basic services.

They mean Malaria, TB, deadly flus and all kind of infectious diseases, infectious drawbacks in recent 200,000 amputees’ surgeries and other patients and, in summary, the total physical and psychological chaos.

Finally, they mean the unfeasibility of any of the necessary preparations for the hurricanes season that follows immediately.

We, the World, cannot let it happen!

And if this desperate insight is somehow feasible, China can save Humanity’s hope!

And yet it can be a great marketing opportunity for the technology owners within the whole western hemisphere.

As an example an can I give you the Brazilian case.

I can guarantee you the most of Brazilian Northeast agriculture business men and women have listened about it but know very little in practical terms.

Brazil is probably the richest Country of the world in water supply and one of greatest producer of food.

But as surprisingly that is seems, there is an immense region – my region – really scarce of water and starving of all manners to produce food.

This is the region also where H. E. Mr. President Lula was born and from where he had to leave exactly as a refugee of hunger, thirst, and poverty.

Billions are invested there all years.

And I am sure that a part of it can go for Cloud Seeding (after, of course, your technical evaluations about if I am not, for the first or second time, saying stupid things).

This area, the Brazilian Semi-Arid – the most impoverished region of the whole Country - is alone officially as big as 969.589,4 square kilometers, ready, waiting for agribusiness productive solutions.

Brazilian Government, as you may already know, got completely compromised with Haiti Government and People far beyond the MINUSTAH mission and far before the earthquake.

Just as an example I can put H. E. Mr. President Lula decision that no Brazilian money will go to no other hand but the Government of Haiti.

Not even to the many Brazilian NGOs operating there.

And, for the cry, complaints, and yelling of Brazilian contractors, the engineering endeavors that Brazil is beginning to build in Haiti will be exclusively done by the Brazilian Armed Forces Engineering Unities.

And he is trying to convince some other Governments to do the same.

He is saying to the contractors here that no other President before him got as much contracts for Brazilian companies.

But that the case of Haiti now is not the case for business.

Is the case for respect and solidarity.

That the empowerment of the Haitian Government, People, Independence, and Sovereignty is not a need, is an Imperative and something that we are not giving, we owe.

By other hand, Brazil is extremely focused in improving relations with China within and beyond the BRICS strategy, wanting to foster more and more China’s presence in Latin America, and Brazil have also a huge and fully integrated Chinese community.

Finally, Chinese Business would help Haiti and gain else and everywhere.

Imagine the Marketing impact of such action!

I talked about Brazilian market as an example, but we are talking about the world markets.

Again, there could not be a better marketing than – if it is technically, even if in part, feasible – helping to solve one problem of this kind and dimensions.

You can say, otherwise, that as usual the western media would not show it.

But the marketing we, ourselves, the guys with a mouse, can guarantee.

We can guarantee, the images, pictures, and so on, on the ground, during the operations.

And we can guarantee millions of messages arriving at mail boxes, and millions of phone calls arriving at phones of millions of agribusinessmen and agribusinesswomen worldwide with the powerful legitimacy, intimacy, trustworthiness and personality of the word-of-mouth, one-to-one, and friend-to-friend advertisement.

If it seems exaggerated, I just would like to remember that while there are to be a Donors Conference next week to decide the amount of money to invest in the Haiti Reconstruction Plan, and since now not more than US$ 2bn was pledged by Governments and multilateral banks and institutions, in less than one month, we the guys with a mouse, made arrive in Haiti (I repeat: we not pledged, we made arrive) more the US$ 1 billion just through very small donations via Internet and SMS messages.

By other hand, people in Kenya together with universities in US, Japan, China and elsewhere developed over Google, Yahoo, Zoho etc platforms some of the most astonishing Humanitarian Mapping Aid tools in less than 48 hours.

We are tens of thousands and growing.

The media is moving their lights.

We are not.

And we are getting more powerful and more connected with the real people of Haiti.

We together can make the difference.

And together with the great people of the great China we can make a really great difference.

Finally, if some of you did not detect that my idea is technically unfeasible I would kindly ask you to do me a favor in translating at least its essence to Mandarin and spreading the word to facilitate that it arrives in the right hands.

Once more, my deepest sincere apologies, my thanks, and my full respect and admiration.

The best wishes.


Guilherme de Alarcon Pereira
Salvador - Bahia - Brazil
+55 71 8802-0531
umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu

Friday, March 26, 2010

Haiti Donors Conference FAQ

Source: Haiti Donors Conference Web Site >

Frequently Asked Questions
International Donors’ Conference
Towards a New Future for Haiti

March 31, 2010, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Conference Goals
Q:  What are the goals of the Conference?
A:   The goal of the Conference is to mobilize international support and announce concrete financial commitments for Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction needs as the country begins to lay the foundation for its long-term development. 
Q:  What types of pledges of assistance are you seeking?
A:   The Conference seeks financial pledges of assistance for Haiti’s long-term recovery and development.   This is separate and apart from the humanitarian assistance so generously provided by so many donors.
Q:  How will priorities for development assistance be set?
A:   Priorities for the assistance will be set by the Government of Haiti, which will present its strategy, developed with input from the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment led by the Government with the joint support of the United Nations, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, European Commission, and several major donors. 
Q:  How can donors be sure that pledged assistance actually reaches Haiti?
A:   The pledges will be published and assistance flows tracked through a web-based system being established by the UN with the Government of Haiti.  This represents an effort to trying to improve on past practice and provide support in a transparent and more effective way.

Conference Organization
Q:  Why are the United States and the United Nations the co-hosts of the Conference?
A:  The United States has been the largest donor to Haiti, and the United Nations has a long-established valuable role in Haiti and provides a forum to mobilize a truly global response.  It is natural that both would co-host.
Q:  What is the role of major donors mentioned in the Conference invitation?
A:  Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain, as major supporters of Haiti, are helping to organize the Conference, and will act as Conference co-chairs.
Q:   Who is invited to the donors’ conference and at what level?
A:   All member states of the United Nations are invited and are encouraged to attend at the ministerial level.  Major international organizations are also invited as well as representatives selected to report the findings from outreach and consultation meetings held before the conference with Haitian civil society, the private sector, the Haitian diaspora, Haitian state and local government, MINUSTAH stakeholders, and international NGOs.
Q:  Will non-governmental delegations be included?
A:  While donors’ conferences are limited to governmental participation, for this Conference we have incorporated broader inclusion through pre-conference outreach and consultation meetings.   A series of preparatory consultations are being undertaken with Haitian civil society, the Haitian Diaspora, the private sector, Haitian state and local government, and non-governmental organizations in these meetings, which will report back to the Conference through representatives.  The future of Haiti will not rest on government commitments alone, but on support from a strong private sector, non-governmental organizations and civic engagement.

Non-governmental Participants
Q:  How will the Haitian people be represented?
A:  The Haitian people will be represented in three ways:  first, by their elected government officials, second by Haitian civil society representatives at the conference who will report back from the preparatory consultations, and third, through the inclusion of Haitian civil society in the conference process overall.  The Office of the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), NGO’s, and local community groups have organized more than 125 meetings with a total of more than 1,000 Haitians living in rural and urban areas of  Haiti’s 10 departments.  A summary of the groups’ findings will be presented to the Conference by designated representatives.
Q:  How will international and Haitian NGOs participate?
A:  There will be a series of NGO events that will culminate in a meeting on March 25 in New York being organized by the Office of the UN Special Envoy to Haiti , InterAction, and the European Commission.  Representatives from this event will be asked to address the Conference on March 31.
Q: Will any other groups be represented at the Conference?
A: Yes, meetings will or have been held with citizens in Haiti through focus group discussions (March 15), with representatives of the private sector (Haiti, March 15, organized by the Inter-American Development Bank), the Haitian Diaspora (Washington, D.C., March 21-23, organized by the Organization of American States), MINUSTAH stakeholders (New York, March 23, organized by the Government of Brazil and the Government of Haiti), and Haitian state and local government (Martinique, March 23, organized by the Government of France) Two representatives from each of these meetings will be asked to address the Conference on March 31.

Conference Agenda and Format
Q:  What is the agenda?
A:  It is still being finalized, but will include introductory remarks by the co-hosts and the Government of Haiti, statements by the co-chairs, reports from the public outreach meetings, presentation of the Haitian plan for development and a response by international institutions, and then the pledging session.
Q:  Who gets to speak?
A:   Given the number of delegations expected to attend the Conference and the limits of time, only those making financial contributions for long-term recovery and reconstruction (as distinct from the humanitarian assistance that so many countries have already generously provided) will be speaking. We are asking those making pledging statements to limit their remarks to less than 3 minutes and are making available a dedicated website for delegations to share longer statements. Unfortunately, because of time restrictions, donors offering in-kind support will not be able to take the floor.
Q:  What determines speaking order?
A:  The co-hosts will determine the order.
Q:  Is the conference open to the public?
A:  The conference will be live-streamed and thus the public will be able to follow the entire proceedings.
Q:  Will there be a website?
A:  Yes, www.haiticonference.org
Q:  Are there side events?
A:  None are scheduled at this time.