Foreign Aid in Haiti the Capstone Project

Excerpt from Capstone Project :

Although the UN Mission was present in the region and tried to ensure a safe passage from a regime which lacked all regard for democracy, human rights, or economic development, the perspectives and the time frame instituted for these were not optimistic. Indeed, the UN aims to secure a strong, coherent, and secure form of government through its missions and interventions. However, the most important element for a state is to provide a strong central government that would deal with organization matters, with management of aid relief in situations such as the one in Haiti. Still, given the political turmoil experienced by the country it is difficult to be able to manage such an operation. Therefore, from this point-of-view, it is fair to say that an important element in the failure of the aid relief actions was the lack of a strong government organization.

Another crucial issue to be taken into account when discussing the matter of aid relief and the way in which the Haitian problem was dealt with, is the failure of donors to assist in the relief. However this is not an issue solely related to the events that took place in January 2010, but an aspect which is the result of previous actions taken for support of the Haitian government and people. In this sense, the research will take into account the way in which all donors intervened in Haiti financially from 2004 and even earlier.

The literature in this regard is rather comprehensive because it was a subject of great debate. For instance, F De Terry and Adam Gardner Buss write an interesting book on the way in which the donors failed to assist Haiti in its problems. However, the authors point out that in fact it was not necessarily the problem of the way in which donors acted but rather the matter of the way in which Haiti adapted to change and of its political history. In this sense they argue that "even if foreign assistance had been well conceived, well financed, and well executed, it would have been difficult to realize unqualified successes in Haiti, given the magnitude of the problems to be overcome. Haiti's political history was too in part responsible for creating and perpetuating poverty and for encouraging a legacy of poor public administration" (De Terry and Gardner, 2008). This is a good source for information and analysis concerning the history of foreign aid to Haiti. Yet another source of information regarding the way in which foreign aid failed or not in Haiti in the last decade is the report from the Academy of International Affairs which in its conclusions also offers advice and possible new paths of development.

Also, donors failed because there was no prior organization of the state, an organization which was supported with billon of dollars in the past to be constructed. The United States offered for several years aid to reconstruct a functional judicial system, a proper public administration, investments which also related to the infrastructure of these areas of assistance. However, at the moment of the earthquake, the situation in the country was chaotic, with thieves running on the streets, with looting, and crime. For a country which is supposed to have benefited from such an important help from the U.S., France, or Canada, there are serious questions on the way in which these donors were effective.

At the same time however, a proper analysis will have to also consider the response of donors to the current situation in Haiti. From this point-of-view, it is important to take into account the almost 3 billion dollars in aid given or promised to Haiti following the earthquake (CNN, 2010). An interesting question is what happened to this money and how they will be spent.

Donors failed because there was no organization, on the one hand. According to Reuters, "world leaders have pledged massive assistance to rebuild Haiti after the earthquake killed as many as 200,000 people, but five days into the crisis aid distribution was still random, chaotic and minimal." (Cawthorne and Bremer, 2010).

It is important to stress that donors failed in their actions also because there was no immediate plan for reconstruction. Better said, even if the interventions on the site were or were not satisfying, a plan to ensure people decent way of rel="follow">life and supplies was essential. In this sense, it is difficult to consider, after months from the disaster, that financial aid will be ensured for plans to reconstruct.

At the end of March 2010, a donor meeting is planned in New York with the aim or raising money for a Post Disaster Needs Assessment and Recovery Framework (PDNA) which aims to raise funds for ensuring a good development of the agricultural sector. It is important to bear in mind that the agricultural sector is essential for the well being of the Haitian people as the population relies on agriculture for survival. However, there is a question which will be asked eventually. To what extent will this aid be used differently from the ones provided years ago? There is a lot of literature on the matter to be able to answer such a question. This is not related necessarily to the case in mind, but parallels can be made with other disasters that took place along the years, such as aid relief with Hurricane Katrina in order to offer a comprehensive answer. In any case, this would be an important aspect to be taken into account. Also, it should be borne in mine the tragedy that is taking place in Chile who will need support as well. Thus, how will donors manage the two situations in parallel and which will be the choices for foreign aid given in these cases?

Finally, the issue of aid suspension may be an important aspect regarding the way in which donors acted on the matter. There are voices who suggested that given the nature of the disaster and the Chilean disaster, aid should be at one point suspended. On the other hand, the UN announced, by presenting the initiative regarding the agricultural relief aid, that aid should continue up to 2011 (UN, 2010). However, the fact that there are opinions who believe that aid is necessary only to a certain point can offer a sign of doubt on the way in which donors perceive this action.


All there are important points to be taken into account and essential questions to answer. However, this endeavor cannot be achieved without a proper methodology. The purpose of the research is both descriptive and analytical. In this sense, the research will be done having in mind several perspectives.

First, in order to understand how such a disaster took place it is important to have in mind both the history of the country and the geographical background of the island. In this sense, the method of historical research will be used in order to grasp the geographical causes of the earthquake and at the same time to have a complex understanding of the historical background of the region. While the former is based on clear cut evidence, the latter is subject for debate, varying according of the resources used. This is why for the historical background, the UN reports and analysis will consist the main resource, with due regard for other academic and well accredited resources.

Second, for determining the state of the nation prior to the earthquake but also after the disaster, therefore for changing the perspective from general to particular, and in the end to generalize again, it is important to use the historical descriptive method, in order to place together both information and facts for a global picture on the situation. In this sense, the specialized reports from the UN on the previous missions in Haiti as well as the news reports on the same subject will be analyzed.

Third, in order to understand the events that took place during the aid relief operations and to answer the questions mentioned above, therefore for the analytical part of the paper, statistics will be used as well as official clear data from sources such as the UNDP.

Finally, in terms of what could happen in the future with the aid relief operations, it is important to use the comparative method of analysis. More precisely, comparisons could be made with the responses from Hurricane Katrina or other natural disasters. In this sense, both information and analysis will be compared in order to offer a better view on how the issue of aid relief failed in Haiti


The research aims to point out the way in which the international community failed to offer aid relief to the country of Haiti in the last thirty years. This will be achieved by analyzing a particular example of how the international authorities…

Sources Used in Documents:


Academy International Affaires. "Why Foreign Aid to Haiti Failed." National Academy of Public Administration: Washington, 2006.

Buss, Terry. Haiti in the Balance: Why Foreign Aid Has Failed and What We Can Do About it. Brookings Institution Press: New York, 2008.

Cawthorne, Andrew, Bremer, Catherine. "Haitians receive little help despite promises." Reuters Press Agency, Online editions. January 17, 2010. Available at

CNN. "Aid groups rush to Haiti." Complete coverage of Haiti earthquake. Available at

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