Friday, July 9, 2010

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund announce $1 million in grants ... more questions than answers!

Dear Colleagues

I thought I would share this. I have been critical of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (CBH Fund) initiative for being big on PR and not much of practical use to show for it. This is a modest step in a good direction ... but just a modest step. The article is from

It would have been nice to know how much the CBH Fund has raised ... more interesting than the fact that more than 230,000 people have made generous donations. If generous is an average of $100, then the amount raised would be $23 million ... so where has the other $22 million been used!

It will be interesting to see if there is any feedback in due course about how well the money gets used. The initiatives sound good ... but that does not mean they will implement well and deliver the hoped for results.
Over $1 Million in New Grants From Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to Rebuild Lives, Livelihoods
July 8th, 2010

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund today announced $1 million in new grants aimed at creating new jobs and promoting economic opportunity in Haiti.

Reflecting the shared vision of founders former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, more than 230,000 generous donations made to-date will fund these new grants and have a powerful impact on helping post-disaster Haiti build back better.

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is focused primarily on longer-term reconstruction, especially job creation and the promotion of economic opportunity. The success and sustainability of reconstruction will depend in large part on a more vibrant, decentralized, inclusive, and competitive economy – an economy where every Haitian has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential.

Post-earthquake Haiti’s challenges are many, but among the most compelling and critical is the need to create jobs and economic opportunity. CBHF will do this by:

  • Supporting the restart, expansion and creation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, to which women are often key contributors;
  • Empowering people and enterprises by helping them access the formal business sector;
  • Promoting job creation, particularly jobs with a direct social benefit, such as in health and education;
  • Providing life skills and job training to people, especially youth, so they can embrace economic opportunity.

The legacy of building back better will be future generations of Haitians for whom the country’s vicious cycle of aid-dependency is history.

The grants announced today will create opportunity for Haiti’s workers and businesses in key industries – garment production, microfinance, the artisan community, and the health sector.

Institut National pour le Developpement et la Promotion de la Couture (INDEPCO)
INDEPCO’s network of seamstresses and tailors consists of over 600 ateliers (workshops) employing 6,852 people throughout Haiti. CBHF’s grant to INDEPCO will allow it to repair a key building to house displaced ateliers, complete an order for 40,000 school uniforms, and expand its atelier network, employing more garment workers.

Haitian Emergency Liquidity Program (HELP)
The catalytic grant from CBHF will contribute to launching HELP, an emergency liquidity program that will give recovery grants to key microfinance institutions (MFIs) with approximately 50,000 clients – including support for businesswomen, as well as rural borrowers. HELP will buy earthquake-affected loans from microfinance institutions, providing them fresh funds to maintain their lending operations and preserve their capital base. The program is designed to help stop the contraction of lending by key MFIs and allow them to expand.

BRAC will use its decade of experience running a limb and brace center in Bangladesh to establish a similar center in Haiti. Through collective grants from CBHF, American Jewish World Service, Child Relief International, and Grapes for Humanity/US, BRAC will provide prosthetic and orthotic services to 1,500 Haitians in just over a year, enabling youth to return to school and adults to take advantage of work and livelihood opportunities. Within two years the center will be Haitian run and staffed – in addition to manufacturing and repairing prosthetics and orthotics on-site.

Aid to Artisans (ATA)
Funding for ATA will help re-establish over 3,000 artisan production jobs and expand local retail revenues by a projected 10-15% over the next six to eight months. ATA will provide Haitian artisan businesses throughout the country with product development and design consulting; arrange buyer trips in areas capable of production and delivery; position Haitian artisan goods at international gift fairs; and execute targeted retail training to stimulate demand for Haitian artisan products.
My impression is that the BRAC initiative is particularly needed ... and hopefully there will be many more initiatives similar to this. I do not know the total magnitude of the need for prosthetic services in Haiti, but I suspect it is may times bigger than this initiative on its own can handle.

It is now coming up to 6 months since the earthquake ... and very little accountability from the spenders of money since last January. It would be good to know how upwards of $1 billion has been used! I know some of the work done has been amazing ... but there has also been an embarrassing level of less than amazing work. I am particularly bothered by the almost complete absence of any knowledge about how cost efficient things have been. But on this I sound like a broken record!

Peter Burgess

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