Effective Humanitairian Aid to BOP Countries: The Case of Haiti

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Effective Humanitairian Aid to BOP Countries: The Case of Haiti
Anneke Zwart, Moderator
Haiti has once again been hit hard, this time by a devastating hurricane named Matthew. The country – which is one of the poorest in the world – needs help from abroad, as their own chronic ineffective state is not able to deal with this disaster so quickly after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
But an important question is: what type of help is most effective in supporting countries that are the victim of distasters, like Haiti, in the rebuilding of the country? And what help isn’t? In terms of ‘lessons learned from the past’, the earthquake of 2010 has taught us 2 important lessons for humanitarian aid:
  1. COORDINATE EFFORTS: According to J. Mitchell, humanitarian aid analyst, the so-called "cluster system" that aimed to co-ordinate all the help from abroad lead to an effective system in which water and shelter could be supplied in a realitively quick way. A system that efficiently organizes and coordinates the aid can help to avoid gaps and overlaps in the work of various humanitarian organizations.
  2. WORK WITH LOCALS: In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, NGO’s and other foreign aid organizations were criticized for creating aid plans without the usage of expertise from Haitians themselves. In other words, locals – with their own coping strategies to those disastrous events – were completely ignored. As a result that local business opportunities were also overlooked. The perception and attitude of Haitians towards foreign humanitarians is therefore rather skeptic. Local people ironically talk about Haiti as being an NGO republic. Empowering and taking into account local people who are affected is critical in the success of executing humanitarian aid programs and projects. Combine the resources provided by foreign organizations with the knowledge and expertise of locals, so as to most effectively utilize resources. Reaching out new partnerships with local NGOs can help to build capacity to effectively respond to humanitarian disasters.
Please share any additional humanitarian aid lessons you may know of. Thanks! Anneke
Source: BBC (2016). Hurricane Matthew: Aid Lessons from Haiti Quake. BBC News.



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