"A man without a vision is a man without a future;
a man without a future will always return to his past."
Then I would do an in-depth survey/observation to see if each and every project supported and inspired the following axioms.
Each non-governmental organization project MUST:
1. Seek to instill dignity and ownership to the Haitian people by creating opportunities for employment.
2. Develop independent, skilled workers who take pride in their work and are effectively able to teach their skill to other Haitians.
3. Require and reward honesty, ethics and quality work.
4. Continually look for opportunities to create Haitian independence by delegating more responsibility to the Haitian people.
5 5. Design a sustainable organizational structure focused on outsourcing foreign aid workers with local Haitian employees.
The NGO conundrum is simple. If the primary aim of an NGO was to 'work themselves out of a job' by doing the aforementioned axioms, then where would they go and what would they do. The corporatized structure of NGOs seems to force them into always growing in size, budget, and most importantly...their usefulness. If their usefulness is in question, the entire structure begins to crumble and they will then need to find another place or country to be useful in. The pressures which then develop are the same as a fortune 500 company. The shareholders become the financial supporters and backers from the rich western nations, and they expect to see a return on their investments. Thus we see the pretty newsletters and updates outlining all the glorious work being done to help the poor Haitians.
But is the reality on the ground always accurately portrayed in the graphically designed high resolution newsletter? An unfortunate pressure to 'look' useful and effective undermines the humbling raw honesty that is necessary for genuinely effective improvements. No organization is ever perfect nor will any organization ever meet every need. Simultaneously, no organization will ever become more effective without that raw honesty to say, "Are we really helping here?"
It is a difficult balance. A tight rope needing to be walked but a highly precarious existence waits on the other side of the NGO efficacy chasm. The worst part is...most every NGO is full of loving, caring, altruistic hearted people. They give their time, energy, and money to help others expecting nothing in return. And yet, I fear that I am guilty of creating a stubborn entitled child who demands what he has not earned.
We must never abandon Haiti. We must always seek to love and bless her. And we must focus on becoming useless to a Nation that must become strong enough to stand alone...proud and prosperous.