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Slate, the online magazine, isn't the first to ask the question "Does International Aid Keep Haiti Poor?"

The article tells the story of what Haitians want, their voices heard after Haitian civil-society groups polled more than 1,700 citizens about their aspirations and hopes for their country.
Again and again, people expressed a desire for independence, self-determination, and direct participation in the rebuilding effort after the earthquake.

Many of the people interviewed saw the earthquake as an opportunity for renewal in which both rich and poor Haitians could participate in the economic development of the country. Aid from the outside should reinforce their country's sovereignty. Among the fishermen, teachers, mothers, unemployed, farmers, and students interviewed, many said they wanted help with agriculture, education, and housing, but they did not want to be passive recipients of the international community's money. The word they used most, according to the report issued after the interviews were conducted, was respè, meaning "respect."

Yet the strong Haitian government support needed to help make that happen isn't yet there, according to a Reuters article detailing a scathing report by United Kingdom-based Oxfam.

"As Haitians prepare for the first anniversary of the earthquake, close to one million people are reportedly still displaced. Less than 5 percent of the rubble has been cleared, only 15 percent of the temporary housing that is needed has been built and relatively few permanent water and sanitation facilities have been constructed," the report said.

The report said a reconstruction commission chaired by former President Clinton and Haiti's Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive had fallen short in many crucial areas.

"So far, the commission has failed to live up to its mandate," it said. "The commission is a key element for reconstruction and it must cut through the quagmire of indecision and delay."

Heifer's values-based training builds the skills and confidence of each participant with the end goal of self-sufficiency. In the Winter 2011 World Ark, in mailboxes late this month, read about how one Heifer sheep farmer in Nordely, Haiti, was able to feed, shelter and support 12 friends and relatives displaced by the quake. In the same issue, you'll find updates from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Clinton Foundation on Haiti one year after the earthquake.

Photo by Bryan Clifton
Heifer sheep farmer Francklin Silvanis with his sheep in Nordely, Haiti.


Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.