"Saturday marked the third anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti that claimed between 230,000 and 300,000 lives," Vijaya Ramachandran and Julie Walz of the Center for Global Development write in the Guardian's "Poverty Matters Blog," adding, "The grim landmark has prompted much discussion about the struggles surrounding reconstruction and also some hope about what may come next." While "[m]ost observers agree that the international response to the quake was overwhelming," with more than $9 billion in public and private donations, "we do not really know how the money was spent, how many Haitians were reached, or whether the desired outcomes were achieved," they state, noting they "unpacked the numbers" in a policy paper published in May and a more recent blog post.
Ramachandran and Walz describe some of their findings, but say identifying the spending trail for most funding is difficult because of a lack of transparency. "It is very hard to achieve good outcomes when we cannot determine who received the money and how it was spent," they write. "The situation in Haiti highlights the need for greater transparency, and we are hopeful that existing initiatives can be used to meet this goal," they state, adding, "Transparency is a critical step towards better project design and implementation in Haiti and other poor countries." The authors conclude, "Donors, NGOs, private foundations, private contractors, and other civil society organizations must report to [the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI)] and must do so in a timely manner. We can and should do a better job of helping people to regain control of their lives in the aftermath of disaster or conflict" (1/14).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.