Letters: Listening to Haiti

From Aid | The Guardian Thu Jan 3 2013, 21:00:03

As documented in our 2010 report, from early on in the earthquake response, Haitian civil society organisations, and Haitians themselves, complained not enough listening was being done by the Haitian government (itself hard hit, with over 16,000 civil servants killed) or the international agencies that arrived. One resident told us: "The international organisations should talk to us and learn about what we need. They'll save a lot of money by doing that." I'm pleased Ian Birrell (Report, 30 December) makes similar points but disappointed he doesn't go beyond a polemic aimed at the "humanitarian business" to suggest how we move forward. Now, dedicated work is taking place in Haiti - much of it led by Haitian organisations.

It needs to be "an inclusive process where the interests of the excluded are taken into consideration". This is what Pierre-Louis Muller of the Haitian Institut Culturel Karl Lévêque called for in our latest report, Thinking local in Haiti, and remains the approach we will strive for.

Mark Lister

Chief executive, Progressio

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