Read the written testimony from a recent hearing of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, presided by Senator Bob Menendez and Senator Ben Cardin
The panels included:
Major Joseph Bernadel,
Permanent Representative of the Haitian Diaspora
Interim Haiti Recovery Commission
Mrs. Regine Simon-Barjon
BioTek Solutions, Inc./Biotek Haiti S.A.
Mr. Georges Barau Sassine
Association of Haitian Industries
Mr. Gary Shaye
Haiti Country Director
Save the Children
An excerpt from Major Joseph Bernadel:
The institutional donors will need to focus less on growth and more on social programs geared toward alleviating the high rate of poverty. Legal or administrative provisions should also be made to facilitate access to capital by small and medium enterprises, the traditional creator of jobs in any economic environment. To the task of job creation, the Worldwide Haitian Diaspora is well suited. Representing 83% of the Professional and Technical expertise available among all Haitians but living outside of Haiti, this Diaspora has engaged in significant efforts to organize. Many wonder why this group is not more present economically in the Reconstruction of Haiti. Few reports now exist on how many individual Diaspora members or firms are actively involved in the Reconstruction programs
To this same issue, there are a vast number of NGOs working in Haiti – hence the reason why Haiti is commonly referred to as the “Republic of NGO’s”). They range from large recognizable names such as the Red Cross, Save the Children, UNICEF, along with smaller entitles, based for the most part in the United States, the EU, Latin America, Canada and Israel, many of them operating in Haiti prior to the January 12 2010 earthquake. There are gaps in support and coordination among all the NGOs, with the larger NGOs having the bulk of resources and the smaller NGOs often struggling for funding and often most able to maximize the impact of donor dollars on the ground.
Efforts to date to create a complete census of NGOs and coordinate sharing of resources have not been realized. I see the need for greater integration of NGO initiatives, to preclude overlap and to maximize resources. Ultimately, there must be an effort by the NGO community to pass the baton on to the Haitian ministries and civil societies who are eager to take on the roles of leadership on behalf of its people. While Haiti can benefit from the teaching/training/guiding roles of NGOs, there is a real need for NGOs to render themselves obsolete.