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Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and Ngosby Mark Schuller
Synopses & Reviews
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti was one of the deadliest disasters in modern history, sparking an international aid responseandmdash;with pledges and donations of $16 billionandmdash;that was exceedingly generous. But now, five years later, that generous aid has clearly failed. In Humanitarian Aftershocks in Haiti, anthropologist Mark Schuller captures the voices of those involved in the earthquake aid response, and they paint a sharp, unflattering view of the humanitarian enterprise. and#160;
Schuller led an independent study of eight displaced-persons camps in Haiti, compiling more than 150 interviews ranging from Haitian front-line workers and camp directors to foreign humanitarians and many displaced Haitian people. The result is an insightful account of why the multi-billion-dollar aid response not only did little to help but also did much harm, triggering a range of unintended consequences, rupturing Haitian social and cultural institutions, and actually increasing violence, especially against women. The book shows how Haitian people were removed from any real decision-making, replaced by a top-down, NGO-dominated system of humanitarian aid, led by an army of often young, inexperienced foreign workers. Ignorant of Haitian culture, these aid workers unwittingly enacted policies that triggered a range of negative results. Haitian interviewees also note that the NGOs andldquo;planted the flag,andrdquo; and often tended to andldquo;just do something,andrdquo; always with an eye to the andldquo;photo opandrdquo; (in no small part due to the competition over funding). Worse yet, they blindly supported the eviction of displaced people from the camps, forcing earthquake victims to relocate in vast shantytowns that were hotbeds of violence.
Humanitarian Aftershocks in Haiti concludes with suggestions to help improve humanitarian aid in the future, perhaps most notably, that aid workers listen toandmdash;and respect the culture ofandmdash;the victims of catastrophe.
Set in Haiti following the 2004 coup and enhanced by research carried out after the 2010 earthquake, Killing with Kindness analyzes the impact of official development aid on recipient non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their relationships with local communities. It offers rich enthnographic comparisons of two Haitian womenandrsquo;s NGOs working in HIV/AIDS prevention and examines participation and autonomy as well as donor policies that inhibit these goals.
Women in Haiti are frequent victims of sexual violence and armed assault. Yet an astonishing proportion of these victims also act as perpetrators of violent crime, often as part of armed groups. In Gender and Violence in Haiti, award-winning legal scholar Benedetta Faedi Duramy visits Haiti to discover why these women act in such destructive ways and what might be done to stop this tragic cycle of violence.
Mark Schuller led an independent study of eight displaced-persons camps in Haiti, compiling more than 150 interviews ranging from Haitian front-line workers and camp directors to foreign humanitarians and many earthquake victims. The result is an insightful account of why the multi-billion-dollar aid response to the Haitian earthquake triggered a range of unintended consequences, rupturing social and cultural institutions and actually increasing violence, especially against women.
After Haitiandrsquo;s 2010 earthquake, over half of U.S. households donated to thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in that country. Yet we continue to hear stories of misery from Haiti. Why have NGOs failed at their mission?
Set in Haiti during the 2004 coup and aftermath and enhanced by research conducted after the 2010 earthquake, Killing with Kindness analyzes the impact of official development aid on recipient NGOs and their relationships with local communities. Written like a detective story, the book offers rich enthnographic comparisons of two Haitian womenandrsquo;s NGOs working in HIV/AIDS prevention, one with public funding (including USAID), the other with private European NGO partners. Mark Schuller looks at participation and autonomy, analyzing donor policies that inhibit these goals. He focuses on NGOsandrsquo; roles as intermediaries in andldquo;gluingandrdquo; the contemporary world system together and shows how power works within the aid system as these intermediaries impose interpretations of unclear mandates down the chainandmdash;a process Schuller calls andldquo;trickle-down imperialism.andrdquo;
About the Author
Mark Schuller is an assistant professor of anthropology and NGO Leadership Development at Northern Illinois University. A writer for Huffington Post, he is the coeditor of four books, including Tectonic Shifts: Haiti since the Earthquake, and codirector of the documentary film Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Tables
Foreword by Paul Farmer
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Doing Research during a Coup
1. Violence and Venereal Disease: Structural Violence, Gender, and HIV/AIDS
2. andquot;That's Not Participation!andquot;: Relationships from andquot;Belowandquot;
3. All in the Family: Relationships andquot;Insideandquot;
4. andquot;We Are Prisoners!andquot;: Relationships from andquot;Aboveandquot;
5. Tectonic Shifts and the Political Tsunami: USAID and the Disaster of Haiti
Conclusion: Killing with Kindness?
Afterword: Some Policy Solutions
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