Haiti: From Rescue to Recovery and Reconstruction was the title of a hearing yesterday held by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. On the link you can watch the video of the hearing (as of today the first 32 minutes of the on-line video is just silence, so if you move the slider over about one-quarter of the way, the hearing starts).
Paul Farmer continues to be the most prominent voice on Haiti that does not seem to fear telling truth to power. While many commentators blame the Haitian government for everything and anything (indeed one feels that many commentators seem to think that the Duvaliers are still in power), Farmer points out the intricate relation of the the US and Haiti and how that affects the ability of Haiti to have a sound public administration. For instance, Dr. Farmer wrote in his testimony:
Many of us worry that, if past is prologue, Haitians themselves will be blamed for this torpor. But as we have argued before, there are serious problems in the aid machinery, and these have contributed to the "delivery challenges" on the ground. The aid machinery currently at work in Haiti keeps too much overhead for its operations and still relies overmuch on NGOs or contractors who do not observe the ground rules we would need to follow to build Haiti back better. The fact that there are more NGOs per capita in Haiti than in any other country in the hemisphere is in part a reflection of need, but also in part a reflection of overreliance on NGOs divorced from the public health and education sectors.
Haiti will continue to need the contractors, and the NGOs and mission groups, but more importantly we will need to create new ground rules—including a focus on creating local jobs for Haitians, and on building the infrastructure that is crucial to creating sustainable economic growth and ultimately reducing Haiti's dependence on aid.
Dr. Rony Francois, a Haitian American and the Director of Public Health in Georgia, emphasized in his testimony that long term development focus on reducing the population concentration in P-a-P by developing the outlying cities.
Dominican Today reports: Dominican Republic will host a World Summit for the Reconstruction of Haiti on April 14. At the announcement was President Ma Ying-Jeou of Taiwan. In the past, Haiti's relationship with Taiwan often caused tension with China leading to action by China in the UN Security Council that harmed Haiti. This issue is hinted at in this article on President Ma's trip to the Dominican Republic.
Do you have introductory books (or articles) on evaluation to suggest? I will try to post some online resources later, of course, but here are two books with a wealth of introductory information on evaluation. The books below are texts for graduate students and professionals. Thus, while readable, the size and breadth of these books may not make them useful for boardmembers or organizational membership, so I will look for some workbooks and other materials that address those audiences. If people have materials in French or Creole they wish to identify for others, please send it in (see top post for contact information).
Evaluation: A Systematic Approach by Rossi, Lipsey, and Freeman. Often considered THE introductory text to the field of evaluation. The link takes you to Google Books where much of the book is availabe for examination. Even with a few pages missing, many of the chapters are well worth reading or consulting on-line if that is your only form of access.
Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation edited by Wholey, Hatry, and Newcomer. Each chapter introduces a topic or innovation in evaluation; this is not an overal introduction but readable reviews of essential topics by experts. Again, much of the book can be reviewed at Google Books which is where the link above takes you.
This website is made up of comments and posts (as well as links and resources included in the posts or otherwise stored here).
Posts. If you have an idea for a post or some material people should be aware of, write it up and email it to me at doug.hess.haiti [@] gmail.com. If you just have a suggested link or have a resource to send in, I can write it up and post the material. Or, if you have more to say, I can send you an email asking you to join as a temporary "guest author." The post should be short (1-4 paragraphs) and cover some issue, news, or resource related to public management, policy analysis, social science research, or evaluation.
Comments. Anybody can submit a comment to any post that you see. For the time being, comments will be posted only after they go through the moderator (Doug Hess). This will be lifted once I get a better idea of how much spam or how many rants are being sent. Please note that one of the ideas behind initiating this website is to encourage quality discussion; thus, while constructive debate is welcome, posts that ramble, rant, are factually-challenged, etc. will not be posted. Comments can be anonymous.
The Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ) has a blog posting that nicely summarizes and comments on this articlein the Washington Post about how smaller nonprofits may be left holding the bag if bigger groups pull out of Haiti once the immediate relief efforts wind down. (One of my reasons for starting this website was to find ways to make sure that this does not happen.)
Worth noting (quote from NPQ):
Alan Abramson of George Mason University reminds us of the response after Hurricane Katrina. While the larger groups such as the Red Cross received the bulk of the charitable dollars, the smaller groups in the area shouldered more of the burden with fewer resources. “Often, they are the ones who know the neighborhood and are connected with the people in need,” Abramson said. “They’re the ones who are there before, during and after.” Abramson suggests connecting small and large organizations so they can approach the work as a team.
Should the large organizations that are raising tens of millions begin a regranting process to help local groups? The funds would help these local efforts and smaller NGOs expand on what they already do as extra burdens or placed on them. In other words: can funds be used to provide smaller groups with the technical assistance and cash they will need to increase the scale of their operations? Increasing the scale of a good program is a very tricky thing; many good groups crash in the attempt. Using some money to have advanced trainers ride a circuit of communities to help local groups grow, could be key, I think, to rebuilding Haiti by Haitians.
Also, given the talent and training many Haitians have for developing associations and cooperatives, I can see significant amounts of funds being used almost like emergency community foundations for some of the tent cities and outlying areas that are receiving the exodus from Port-au-Prince. People in these areas could form committees that work with the donor group(s) to draw up and execute plans for addressing immediate and felt needs as well as more complex problems like public health programs to prevent outbreaks in the camps, and the construction of temporary schools and community kitchens.
"Crisis Mentality" (written by Keith Epstein almost four years ago for the Standford Social Innovation Review) discusses why money pours in for crises but not for chronic problems. The answers may not be surprising, but skim it and jump to the end where the people he interviewed give some interesting thoughts on how to raise money consistently using the dynamics of human nature that underly the "crisis mentality."
The Alliance for Justice is a nonprofit in the U.S. that maintains a free community organizing web site which includes Resources for Evaluating Community Organizing(RECO). Although these resources are about community organizing in the U.S., they may be of interest to people evaluating organizing in Haiti. Evaluating organizing can be tricky to think about at first as organizing operates in a very fluid environment where goals often shift and by definition often missed (i.e., if it was easy to win a policy change, you would not need organizing), so these may be worth a look.
Note: while RECO nicely summarizes and organizes the resources it tracks, some of them are from journals; thus, you may have to track a resource down at the library or contact the authors (many resources are directly linked, however).
If people have documents related to evaluating organizing in Haiti, please post in the comments or email to me (see the top post of this site for contact info).
Some recent resources reviewed on RECO:
Ranghelli, Lisa. 2009. Measuring the Impacts of Advocacy and Community Organizing: Application of a Methodology and Initial Findings. The Foundation Review. Volume 1:3.
"Analyzing and Evaluating Organizing Strategies" by University of Massachusetts-Boston Labor Resource Center (this is available from the UM-B website and was originally a tool for students to use).
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a service of the Library of Congress that generates a variety of documents for Members of Congress. Usually, the documents are fairly brief and are produced quickly on topics that are very current (for instance, an analysis of the potential implications of a court ruling or a review of published research on an issue raised by news events or by a proposed bill).
Sadly, documents by CRS are not released to the public or made avaible to the public by CRS directly (this is in contrast with other government agencies the specialize in policy and legal research and analysis). However, if recipients of the reports release the documents to advocacy groups, libraries, and other places, there are several places on the Internet that make CRS reports available. Oddly enough, the State Department itself makes some CRS reports available (so... that means a federal agency that doesn't make its reports available to the public finds them being released by another federal agency...hmmm).
Here are just a few places where you can search for CRS reports on Haiti. I see at least two reports, as of today, that deal with Haiti since the earthquake.