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It Pays to Fail in Haiti

Haiti is a broken country, this is an obvious statement, but fixing it seems to be a problem worthy of a Nobel Prize. It is so broken that even the simplest of tasks cannot be accomplished. For example, it is almost impossible for anyone to find out the exact procedures on how to enroll a child in a public school. The same can be said about getting access to health care, clean water, electricity, shelters, and most ridiculous of all justice.

Everything in Haiti is non-functional and seems almost non-existent. Whenever I am in Haiti, I am simply in shock of how the people can accept to live in such conditions. I am forced to ask some of the people close to me what exactly is preventing the Haitian society from erupting in complete social chaos. The phrase most often spouted out of most Haitians mouth is “Ki sa ou vle’m fè” what do you want me to do. The people have accepted their conditions, and few of them have any hope that change can really happen.

This mentality of accepting mediocrity as if it’s normal is one of the major reasons why living conditions have not improved in Haiti despite all the money that have been giving for various projects aimed at alleviating the misery of the people. One does not have to be an expert in any field to clearly realize that the lack of progress in Haiti is a big advantage for many. In term of financial wealth, the people who stand in the way of progress are often those who can claim to be making personal progress. Now, our challenge is to find a way to reverse this pathetic systemic failure.

This reversal of fortune that I am talking about can only start if every single individual is willing to hold themselves accountable. People must start realizing that accepting the status quo and adapting to its failing game plan is only going to benefit those who do not want to see change happens. We have a few options at our disposal to reverse the curse of Haiti’s misery.

First, we must get in the mindset of collaboration and second we must always ask ourselves are we adding more values to the system than we are taking from it. This last sentence is directly pointed at individuals who so much want to contribute in a better Haiti, but have consistently failed to understand the best way to maximize their contributions, impact on the Haitian society.

The groups of people who are failing Haiti are getting paid big times. They are making money that is beyond the average their wildest imagination. Haiti, for a poor country, is like a jackpot for many in the industry of country development. People are making huge amount of money left and right in the name of changing Haiti. Almost everyone actively involved in Haiti have an individual project for the betterment of the country that they are working on, and yet the impact of those projects have yet to translate into any meaningful transformation for the average Haitian. Why do we keep on pouring money at those failing formulae?

The answer is simpler than you might envision. People who are cashing their heavy developmental check do not really care about overall change for Haiti. They are very comfortable with small projects that have big budgets and are not led by Haitians. The few Haitians who happen to be part of those small projects are exactly the supporters of the status quo, and as long as they get paid, they could care less about the rest of the population.

We must end the practice of paying for failure, and the practice of throwing money at projects that are not capable of leading to sustainable development. We must suspend our dealings with people who cannot deliver on their promises. It is about time we stop making millionaires out of a few at the detriment of the many. This is no way to help a country develop.

Anyone working on any project in Haiti must be required to collaborate with Haitian-led organizations. They must be able to share resources, expertise and work together to strive for excellence. This is one of the most crucial steps that are currently missing in all the efforts to get Haiti on the right track.

It is not possible to expect that Haiti will haphazardly get on the road of development without setting the proper conditions for progress to take place. For years, big international organizations have claimed to be contributed enormous amount of money for Haiti to invest in education, healthcare, projects that can lead to better living conditions, and almost never can we find any report that demonstrate accountability of those grants. Why do they continue to give money to a broken system?

Many of the issues facing Haiti can be fixed easily, if granters and contributors were to demand for accountability. Sometimes, it is wise to step back and analyze the impact of a grant, project or a new initiative. There are many people with ideas, few with solutions and even a smaller group with a successful track record.

We have been supporting a failing system for more than a century. No one has bothered to make accountability a requirement for any project or initiative. Many people enter Haiti with a blind idea, only to leave with their pockets full of greenbacks, as if Haiti is a slot machine. Those who are involved in Haiti know that the end-result does not matter much, so what incentive do they have to strive for success.

It is the business of failing that keeps the money coming, so there’s no pressure to change the status quo. The development of Haiti is not the responsibility of anyone, which is also a dead-end project with no clear vision. Those are the type of guidelines currently being implemented in Haiti. Of course, with such processes in place, it is not surprising that the living conditions of Haitians have gotten worse over the years. We must act to make change happen. Failure is no longer an option, and it should go bankrupt.

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
May. 05, 2012

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