Say they word ‘Haiti’ and ask people what comes to mind you are likely to get many things but most are bound to have a negative connotation.
- All of Haiti is a tent city
The 2010 earthquake ravaged the country. The infrastructure in Haiti was already weak and the earthquake occurred in a densely populated area, the metropolitan area around the capital Port-au-prince. Utter disaster! I lost former classmates in that earthquake. While this specific area is still recovering, the entire country wasn’t directly hit by the earthquake, indirectly and economically affected, no doubt.
For years news outlets have perpetuated the myth that Haiti only have 2% forest cover. Peter Wampler, a university professor and geologist, led a research project that concluded that Haiti has more than 30% forest cover, a number similar to that of the U.S. and Germany.
4. French is widely spoken
I can make the argument that Haiti doesn’t need more charity, both literally –nonprofits– and figuratively –handouts. Haiti is the charity capital of the world. There are more charities per capita there than any other place.
I have a nonprofit background (my graduate degree -MPA- focused on nonprofit management) and I believe most nonprofits make a positive impact. I may be a bit biased. They do work that governments are either unable or unwilling to do. But, too much reliance on charities can have negative externalities, no country in the world became developed because of international aid.
Haiti needs help in better utilizing its natural resources, building more infrastructure, increasing the number of highly skilled professionals and having more tourists at its hotels, restaurants and beaches. Not donations that seem to disappear into an abyss.
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