MFAN Principal Reiterates Ownership on Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake

Ray Offenheiser 1In an op-ed for The Hill, MFAN Principal Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, offers insight into reconstruction in Haiti following the devastating earthquake one year ago. Offenheiser makes the case for country ownership, arguing that the situation in Haiti represents a unique chance for the US and the broader international community to support Haitians to build their own capacity and design and implement plans according to priorities of Haiti’s government and civil society. Click here to read the full piece, and see below for excerpts:

“Haiti is exhibit A for everything that is wrong with the old model of development, which is precisely why it deserves the investment and effort required to be a model of this new approach to fighting poverty.”

“The new approach will not offer assistance in perpetuity, but instead support the creation of institutions and conditions that get to the causes of the poverty rather than just slapping on temporary band-aids. It is a vision rooted in one word: ownership. It would mean that the US invests more into supporting efforts designed, led, and controlled by poor countries.”

“As we mark the one year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, Congress and the Administration must focus American efforts in Haiti on an ownership principle. This will mean helping the Haitian government become a more modern, reliable and competent counterpart, run by a new technocratic class of civil servants who are committed to providing quality services to their fellow citizens. It will require investing in the will and ability of citizens to hold those civil servants and politicians, accountable for results. And most importantly, it will require resources. In this short term, this will be in the form of aid. In the long run, Haiti needs a revitalized local economy that generates the resources for critical services and programs.”

“The bottom line is that in order to move beyond inequality and poverty, Haitians must be given a voice in decisions about their country’s rebuilding process. Leaving them out of the process only creates greater dependency on foreign aid.”

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