Haiti earthquake & US Aid…Whose voice counts?


American aid

Following the devastating earthquake which hit Haiti in 2010, there has been a long debate as to how best to deliver international aid to the impoverished nation. Critics have argued for years that donors’ practice of spending aid money through organisations located in their own countries has hampered efforts to build self-sufficiency abroad, and works to the detriment of local businesses and industries. In particular, this article examines the distribution of American aid money in Haiti, noting that a large portion of the aid money continues to be channeled through American NGOs and aid charities. Many argue that by continuing to operate through foreign aid agencies, the agency of domestic agents (i.e. their ability to effect meaningful change/action) is reduced. It’s clear that money still does the talking in aid situations – concentrating aid money and wealth in the hands of foreign donors means that it is American ideas, thoughts and voices which are driving change and creating a new Haiti. But what of the local voices? What about what those who were affected by the earthquake want? It isn’t always clear that those from another context fully understand the difficulties and subtleties of particular geographical contexts. Can Americans really be sure about what is best for Haiti?

American aid money in Haiti