Shelby: Two years after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, four to six thousand people marched in remembrance of the tragedy. They also marched to protest the country’s slow recovery from the disaster that killed about 300,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.
Gina Pierre knows the frustrations of that slow recovery firsthand. Just outside of Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince, she is cooking the only meal of the day for her family and neighbors. Gina is among the 500,000 Haitians who are still without a permanent home.
‘They don’t do anything,’ she says about Haiti’s government. Like many of her fellow Haitians, Gina is frustrated with the way the country has handled donations.
Since the earthquake, $3 billion has been donated to Haiti to rebuild. But according to the United Nations, the Haitian government got only 18% of that money. Much of the rest went to charities operating independently in the country.
Some of those charities have helped build hospitals and provide food. For example, Partners in Health, employs Haitians to produce nourimamba, a peanut-butter like food that can cure malnutrition in a matter of weeks.
“It’s ready to eat. You literally open up the jar, and you take a scoop.”
Shelby: By teaching Haitians to make nourimamba, the organization is helping fight malnutrition and unemployment in the country.
“What we are looking at will provide jobs, training and also a lifesaving product.”
Shelby: But not all of the 20,000 charities operating in Haiti have had such positive results.
“The international community showed an incredible amount of generosity towards Haiti. Unfortunately, the systems weren’t in place to make sure that the funding is channeled in an effective way.”
Shelby: Prime Minister Garry Conille says that while some charities have helped in the short term, they have not worked with the government for longterm solutions. For example, one charity built a school but there were no teachers to fill it.
Conille has only been in office for three months, but he is considering a radical approach. He wants to make some charities leave.
Prime Minister Garry Conille: I think we should be able to say very strongly that you’re going play by certain rules or not play at all.
Shelby: Tough words coming from a government that has been known for its corruption in the past. But Conille says if nothing changes, neither will Haiti’s desperate situation.
But despite the uphill climb, many are hopeful that things will change.
“The country feeds on hope. And this is extraordinary. They really believe that tomorrow will be better.”
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.