Haiti Outreach has developed and operates with a philosophy that projects be long-term and sustainable. Our goal is to assist the people to help materialize what they need, provide coaching and training so that a competent management team is in place, make sure that they have an open and public handling of the money required to maintain the project, and then turn it over to them.
The Way It Works
It starts with them: The request for assistance comes from the community and not from us; we don’t tell them what they need; they tell us.
Total Involvement: The community must organize, with our assistance, and participate in all levels of planning, including bringing any resources they can to help create the project.
Community Responsibility: The group responsible for the project must be a cross-section of the community, and the project must benefit the community, not just a particular section or group.
Financial Sustainability: An economically viable maintenance plan is established and managed by the community group, with shared oversight and transparency for the collection and expenditure of the funds used for maintenance and repair.
Development vs Relief
Relief is primarily needed when a natural or man-made disaster occurs and people’s very survival is at stake. Goods and services are given to people, with little or no responsibility being taken on their part. They are not trained to provide these goods or services for themselves, and there is little incentive for them to do so.
Hand out = Dependency on the provider for as long as they are willing to continue their giving.
Requires people to become responsible and take over the provision of the good or service themselves.
Hand up = Independence and empowerment for their well-being
Relief is not development.
In the last two decades, billions of dollars have been sent to Haiti. Yet when you look around the country, there seems to be very little to show for it. Why is that? Many organizations in Haiti think they are providing development, but when their activities are closely examined, they are essentially providing relief. This results in an even greater dependency on the aid agencies, which is counter-productive to Haiti becoming a developed nation.
While Haiti Outreach typically is not involved in relief efforts, when disasters occur, we are often well positioned to provide aid until relief agencies can arrive. When hurricanes lead to major floods, for example, we are able to bring potable water to the victims using our water trucks that are normally used in our well drilling.
We believe that what distinguishes our organization from most non-profits operating in Haiti is that we require community participation and responsibility throughout the entire life of any project.