As soon as I showed an interest in Haiti back in January, the organizations that specialize in raising money in response to disaster have been making contact with me quite regularly.
None of the organizations seems to have noted that the reason I contacted them was to ask about their approach to accounting and accountability in the post-earthquake rescue, relief and rebuilding process. I offered to help them with accounting and accountability ... not to donate money to them!
Of course I am not surprised ... I was not born yesterday!
The following example is from Concern Worldwide (US) ... an email received back in July under the signature of Siobhan Walsh, the Executive Director.
Siobhan Walsh to meThe website link referenced has the information in a little more detail and with a slightly different spin ... but not significantly different. I am not sure how much the webpage has been updated between July and now.
Concern in Haiti: Six Months Later ... Concern's work in Haiti
When the massive earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday, January 12, few of us realized what lay ahead. It was the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in the past 200 years, it left an estimated 220,000 people dead, 300,000 injured, and 1.2 million people homeless. By early Wednesday morning, planning for Concern's emergency response was already underway.
We were able to respond quickly not only because of our 42 years of experience, but because we knew we could count on our friends and supporters to help. Our ability to respond so quickly is down to the support of people like you.
Concern’s Work in Haiti – Six months Update
Now in the post-emergency phase, Concern is already reaching more than 109,087 people, making this the largest earthquake disaster response in the organization’s history. We are working in three areas of Haiti – Port-au-Prince, the Island of La Gonâve, and the rural area of Saut d’Eau.
With 400 staff members on the ground in Haiti, Concern is currently:
Please read more about our work in Haiti here.
- Managing 13 camps for displaced people with a combined population of 58,000;
- Supplying 64 truck deliveries of clean drinking water every day to 58,350 people;
- Distributing household kits containing essential items like kitchen sets, and soap, reaching 96,000;
- Screening and treating malnourished children in Concern’s nine outpatient therapeutic centers;
- Organizing cash-for-work programs, giving 17,500 people the chance to earn a living;
- Running a cash transfer program which has benefited 35,000 people (mostly women);
- Providing “Child Friendly Spaces,” which give 6,500 children a safe place to play and learn.
I’m very proud of what we have achieved, and what we continue to do to reduce the suffering in Haiti. Concern began working there in 1994 and is there for the long term, we are committed to helping earthquake survivors restore and rebuild their communities.
On behalf of all at Concern, thank you for your support.
Copyright © 2000-2010 Concern Worldwide US Inc. All rights reserved.
104 East 40th Street, Suite 903, New York, NY 10016 1.800.59.CONCERN
On January 12, 2010, the most powerful earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years left an estimated 220,000 people dead, 300,000 injured, and 1.2 million people homeless. In the capital of Port au Prince, an estimated 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed.
“What struck me was the silence,” says Concern’s Country Director in Haiti, Elke Leidel, who was in her home outside Port-au-Prince when the earthquake happened, “You could actually see the city from where I live, and there was a big dust cloud coming up.” It quickly became apparent that an indeterminate number of people were buried in the rubble and many more were injured and in urgent need of medical assistance. “It was beyond everything we had ever imagined or seen before in our lives,” says Elke, “Dead bodies everywhere, houses collapsed, whole areas of Port-au-Prince basically wiped out.”
Concern is providing cash-for-work to the most vulnerable in Haiti. This allows local people to earn money to buy what they need (supporting local markets) and gives them an active role in building their new community.
THE INTERNATIONAL AID EFFORT: RESULTSConcern Worldwide and all the other international NGOs have a lot of material for stories about the work they are doing ... and this is not to be ignored ... but it would be great if they would also do some rigorous reporting about what they are doing and have done in relation to the need and in relation to the amount of money and other resources that they have consumed.
Appeals for humanitarian aid were issued worldwide by international organizations, the United Nations, and Haitian president René Préval. More than $1.3 billion was raised by US-based relief organizations alone. Delivering aid quickly was enormous challenging: Haiti’s airport and main sea port were damaged, telecommunication systems were down, hospitals and health clinics were destroyed, and fuel stations and power systems were not functional.
“People and agencies who would normally deal with an emergency in Haiti – UN, government officials and NGO staff – were themselves incapacitated, with huge loss of life, and loss of family members, offices, and homes,” said Dominic MacSorley, Concern’s Emergency Coordinator in Haiti.
Although there were massive challenges, great progress has been made. To date, there have been no major outbreaks of diseases and no resulting increase in an already devastating number of earthquake-related deaths. The Haitian people’s immediate survival needs are being met, and at present:
- 1.1 million people have access to safe water – more than before the earthquake
- Over 90 percent of displaced people in Port-au-Prince have access to health clinics
- Food has been distributed to over 4.3 million people
- More than 1.5 million households have received emergency shelter
- Over 116,000 people have benefited from short-term employment
- Nearly 120,000 buildings have been assessed to see if they are safe enough to live in or can be repaired
- Around 300 truckloads of rubble and debris are cleared away from the streets of Port-au-Prince every day
CONCERN’S IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
“As a humanitarian worker, of course you immediately think –what can we do to help these people?” says Concern’s Country Director Elke Leidel, “Water, food, sanitation; these were all apparent, glaring needs in the first couple of days.”
Active in Haiti since 1994, Concern had already been working in Port-au-Prince before the earthquake, allowing us to quickly reach those in need. Within 24 hours of the disaster, Concern’s team in Port-au-Prince responded, delivering water and aid to slum communities. Concern chartered three relief flights to bring in urgently-needed supplies to earthquake survivors, including:
CONCERN’S LONG-TERM RESPONSE
- 47,000 blankets
- 2,300 family tents
- 10,000 mosquito nets
- 15,000 kitchen sets
- 5,000 hygiene kits
- 1,160,000 square feet of plastic sheeting
Although media attention has shifted away from Haiti over the past few months, the emergency is far from over. With an estimated 250,000 homes damaged or destroyed in the earthquake, many families are still living in overcrowded, makeshift camps without adequate shelter or sanitation. A recent screening of children under five carried out by Concern showed an increase in malnutrition rates. An estimated 90 percent of school buildings were destroyed, leaving 2.5 million children without access to education.
Now in the post-emergency phase of our response, Concern is reaching more than 109,087 people in three areas of Haiti: Port-au-Prince, the island of La Gonâve, and the rural area of Saut d’Eau.
With 400 staff members on the ground, Concern is currently:
Concern is deeply committed to providing effective aid, and we are coordinating our activities with other agencies on the ground through the UN “cluster” system, a partnership between UN agencies, international organizations, the Government of Haiti and local organizations.
- Managing 13 camps for displaced people with a combined population of 58,000
- Supplying 64 truck deliveries of clean drinking water every day to 58,350 people, and improving access to sanitation
- Distributing essential relief items (tarps, kitchen sets, mosquito nets & soap) to 96,000 people to date
- Screening and treating malnourished children in Concern’s nine outpatient therapeutic centers, and providing 12 “baby tents,” where mothers with very young children can get advice, privacy and support to continue breastfeeding
- Organizing cash-for-work programs, giving 17,500 people the chance to earn a decent living by clearing rubble and doing basic construction work, and running a cash transfer program which has benefited 35,000 people (mostly women)
- Running three “Child Friendly Spaces,” providing almost 6,500 of the most vulnerable, quake-affected children with a safe place to play and learn
UPHILL BATTLE: HUGE NEEDS REMAIN
Concern designed and is managing a site at Tabarre Issa for families who relocated from areas where they were at high risk from dangers posed by heavy rains and hurricane season. Tabarre Issa site is a lifeline for people like Marie Colas, a mother of two who lost her husband and family home in the earthquake. “In this new home, our lives can begin again,” Marie told Concern staff when the family moved into the Tabarre Issa camp, which offers water, sanitation, education, health services, cash-for-work programs, and durable, transitional homes to 2,500 people.
Rebuilding Port-au-Prince and other earthquake-affected areas will take up to ten years and the principal responsibility for this will lie with the Haitian government. "There is a role for the international community to support the Haitian people, but those in charge must be the Haitians,” says Concern US Chief Executive Officer Tom Arnold, “The courage, dignity, survival and resilience of the Haitian people over the past six months have been astounding. In the most appalling circumstances, they have proven to be the real ‘Humanitarians of Haiti’, the first to help others, to take people in and, despite immense devastation and suffering, are now working to re-establish their lives against all the odds."
Concern is in Haiti for the long term, and we are committed to helping earthquake survivors restore and rebuild their communities. “With the attention that is given to Haiti now, there might be a chance to improve the situation that we had in Haiti before the earthquake,” says Country Director Elke Leidel, “But it will certainly take years to recover from it and to build a better future for Haitians.”
The Burgess Method (TBM) for value accounting uses a rigorous framework of value that includes (1) the state of affairs; (2) progress which is improvement in the state of affairs over time; and, (3) performance which is the relationship between what something cost and what is should have cost AND what impact or progress was achieved for the money or resources consumed.
An important element of TBM is to have data that reflects place and time ... quantity and cost ... amount of activity and the amount of impact ... the value or resources used and the value of benefit created and value adding.
Nothing of this seems to be of interest to any of the major NGOs that are multi-million dollar organizations ... it is scandalous.
Slowly slowly there will be data compiled that forces NGOs to be accountable ... from the outside if they will not embrace the idea internally.
Concern Worldwide may be doing good work ... but they so not seem capable of being accountable about it.