Hope and Healing

How should Canadians care about Haiti?

April 23, 2010General

Lorna Dueck reporting in Haiti

Today I Googled “Haiti Earthquake” and saw that the stories were mostly dated January. I wasn’t surprised that the world has moved on. There are new earthquakes in Chile and China, a volcano snarling the airways, mudslides in Brazil and Uganda.

I won’t ask if Canadians should continue to care about Haiti. Of course they should and of course they do. I believe that Canadians get that just because the news cycle has moved on doesn’t mean the end of the trauma for Haitians who have lost legs, arms, family members, homes and jobs. There is a whole new population of Haitians with disabilities.

The question is not if and why Canadians should care about Haiti – but how.

Too often we in the Christian non-profit world equate caring with giving! And yet, here’s a news flash, I don’t think cbm Canada or anyone else should be raising any more money for Haiti, until we’ve done a good job of reporting back to our supporters. We need to demonstrate that we’ve aligned our mid and long-term program work with local Haitian ownership and accountability.

This is why a team of us from cbm Canada went down to Haiti a month after the quake to see how our money was being used, how our programs were impacting lives, and how our work was coordinating with other players on the ground. Our primary purpose was not to gather fund-raising materials, but to gather material for reporting back to our supporters. That’s why we took Lorna Dueck and Listen Up TV with us. We wanted to get an independent take on our work.

So how should Canadians care about Haiti? First and foremost – continue to pray for the people of Haiti. Secondly – Canadians need to be asking for accountability from those agencies like cbm Canada that have been entrusted with their donations. Thirdly – Canadians need to understand that rebuilding Haiti will take time.

You can watch Lorna’s assessment of development work in Haiti Sunday April 25 on Global TV at 11 am.