World Bank

Development Debacles: Book Review of “Travesty in Haiti”

By Bryan Schaaf on Saturday, January 26, 2013.
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nTravesty in Haiti: A True Account of Christian Missions, Orphanages, Fraud, Food Aid and Drug Trafficking” is not a new book, having been published in 2008.  However, it should be required reading for volunteers, missionaries and development workers interested in Haiti.  Drawing from his experiences as an anthropologist and consultant in the northwest, he describes how NGOs in the region caused serious harm in the name of development.  Schwartz is frustrated but not anti development – he is against dependency, corruption, and  disempowering the people we say we want to help.  You can read a preview and/or purchase his book on Amazon.  A few thoughts below.

World Bank's 2012 Priorities for Haiti: Education, Agriculture, Disaster Management

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, December 2, 2011.

While the World Bank has a mixed record in Haiti, it and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) remain two of the most important multilateral funders of its post earthquake reconstruction.  Yesterday, the World Bank announced $255 million in grants for Haiti which will be focused on strengthening education, agriculture, and disaster risk management – all of which are critical for Haiti’s long term development.  The World Bank press release follows.  More information about its activities in Haiti are available on the World Bank website. Read more »

Security in Post Quake Haiti Depends Upon Resettlement and Development

By Bryan Schaaf on Thursday, June 30, 2011.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) recently released a report summarizes the challenges that the Haitian government has faced in rebuilding Port au Prince and facilitating resettlement of the internally displaced.  Chief among these challenges has been the lack of a formal land tenure system. While several communities have developed their own local solutions to land ownership, a strategy from the central government is needed.  ICG notes that this will require political will, creativity, and consensus. To put off resettlement further is to put off a transition to development.   Read more »

Haiti Earthquake Update (5/9/2010)

By Bryan Schaaf on Sunday, May 9, 2010.

The transition from emergency relief to reconstruction is happening, albeit slowly.  It won’t be easy and there will be setbacks, particularly given that the rainy season is upon us along with the risks it brings of flooding, mudslides, infectious diseases, and infrastructure damage.  Engineers have completed emergency mitigation measures at six of the most vulnerable settlements to protect the most vulnerable, but much remains to be done. Read more »

Haiti Earthquake Update (3/8/2010)

By Bryan Schaaf on Monday, March 8, 2010.

The United Nations has called this the most challenging disaster response in its history.  More challenges lie ahead, one of which is the upcoming rainy season.  While it will not begin for several weeks, heavy rains are already occurring sporadically.  Recently, eight people were killed in flooding around Les Cayes.  The rains also caused a landslide that destroyed a school in Cap Haitian two weeks ago.  Those who have been displaced in Port au Prince require solutions, whether that be temporary shelter or staying with a host family.  Their protection, health, and well being depends upon finding shelter before the rains become a daily event. Read more »

Center for American Progress Report on Sustainable Security in Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, September 18, 2009.

The Center for American Progress recently released an interesting and cautiously optimistic report (attached) on security in Haiti.  For Haiti watchers, the background will no doubt be familiar but there is still much of interest.  Below is an analysis of the  recommendations.  The historical and political cards have long been stacked against Haiti but there is now more evidence and more reasons to expect security will hold and improve. With a lot of work, a bit of luck, and the support of its friends, Haiti will continue to make progress….piti piti.   Read more »

Haiti Food Security Update (4/24/2009)

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, April 24, 2009.

It has been a busy month for Haiti.  The Donors Conference turned out reasonably well.  At the Summit of the Americas meeting, members of the Organisation of American States (OAS) expressed their willingness to offer long-term support to Haiti.  OAS Secretary General José Miguel welcomed the focus on Haiti, noted that the Haitian government drafted a plan on how the international community can help.  As he put it, 'Now you know exactly what you have to support…I think things are really going to begin to happen for Haiti.''  We hope so as well. Read more »

Haiti Food Security Update (3/8/2009)

By Bryan Schaaf on Sunday, March 8, 2009.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former U.S. President Bill Clinton will visit Haiti March 9-10 to promote international aid for Haiti.  According to UN Peacekeeping Chief Alain Le Roy, ''Clearly it's a fragile situation in Haiti.  There are still lots of difficulties but we think Haiti is winnable."  Also noteworthy is that a long awaited donor conference has been set for April 13-14 and will be chaired by the Inter American Development Bank. Expect food security to be an important part of these discussions. Read more »

World Bank Applauds Swiss Handover of Duvalier Funds to Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Tuesday, February 17, 2009.

Below is a press release by the World Bank welcoming the Swiss decision to return six million dollars in assets stolen from the Haitian people by Jean Claude Duvalier.  Duvalier still has thirty days to appeal although it is unlikely he would succeed.  These funds would be used for humanitarian projects in Haiti.  While the sum is not large, it shows that Haiti, and the international system of which it is a part, are willing to go after dictators (and ex-dicators) who enrich themselves by impoverishing their own countries. Read more »

Haiti, Debt, and the Tipping Point

By Bryan Schaaf on Saturday, October 25, 2008.

During a recent visit to Haiti, World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned that Haiti is at a ''tipping point'' given the billion dollars of damage caused by flooding from tropical storms.  For the first time in years, Haiti has a legitimately democratic, albeit struggling, government.  Given the World Bank's problematic history in Haiti, the agency should help the government by forgiving its debt -with the caveat that funds would be subject to external oversight and directed to disaster preparedness and response as well as reviving the agricultural sector.  Read more »