Is Donor-Driven Funding Haiti’s Solution?

Did Haiti just get the help it needs from an innovative startup?

In January of 2010, the ground in Haiti rumbled with the force of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake caused horrific devastation, leveling homes and destroying local economies. Foreign countries and NGO’s responded with massive investments of aid. But an article published by TIME magazine last year shows that the capital city of Port-au-Prince is unfortunately still struggling after five years of recovery.


Right now, more than 60,000 people still live in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), mostly within the vicinity of Port-au-Prince. While some people might be managing to eke out a living within the camps, it’s a poor situation for public health. Cholera has proliferated in Haiti since the earthquake happened, due to bad sanitation conditions (the disease is waterborne). While the initial outbreak might have been contained under different circumstances, the ongoing IDP crisis means that cholera has established a strong foothold. New research suggests that the disease may now have become endemic to the country. So it seems that there is still a long ways to go before Haiti is stable and thriving.

This is the scene that startup nonprofit New Story entered into when it decided to take a radical approach toward getting IDP Haitians rehoused. In a traditional nonprofit model, donors often give money and the organization they give to decides how to best allocate those funds. New Story is instead showing their donors exactly what the need is and just where their dollars go. All of an individual’s donations go toward building a house for a family of their choosing, and the donor can later watch a video of their family moving into the new home. Using this model, New Story housed 1,200 people in just under a year, a result that some argue bigger organizations haven’t been able to achieve.

When a place like Haiti has seen so much destruction and despair it’s easy to look to a shiny, promising new approach as the ultimate solution. But one successful trial might not necessarily mean that we have the answer. It’ll be important to see if the housing works out for former-IDPs in the long run and if donors will continue to fund the approach once it too becomes an old method. Additionally, it raises questions about who gets to make decisions. Should donors be allowed only to fund the families they like the best or see as the most needy? What about someone who doesn’t seem so compelling on video and still needs a home just as badly?

While there are questions, New Story’s approach is certainly getting many people housed, and that deserves an applause. Time will tell how many people it can work for and how the organization’s efforts fit into the broader vision for Haiti’s reconstruction and resettlement.

Image: Chip Somodevilla / Staff via Getty Images

 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

15 surprising life lessons from a highly successful 80-year-old

You can use these to get ahead, no matter your age.

Personal Growth

Blackstone's Byron Wien, Vice Chairman of Private Wealth Solutions Group, gave a speech laying out the wisdom he learned during his 80 years. Here are 15 of Wien's best life lessons, which teach us about improving our productivity, sleep, burnout avoidance, and everything in between.

Keep reading Show less

Employees don't quit their job, they quit their boss

According to TwoFold CEO Alison McMahon, a leader who doesn't care (or can't pretend to care) about his or her employees isn't much of a leader at all.

Photo credit: Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation

Why do people quit their jobs? Surely, there are a ton of factors: money, hours, location, lack of interest, etc. For Alison McMahon, an HR specialist and the CEO of TwoFold, the biggest reason employees jump ship is that they're tired of working for lousy bosses.

By and large, she says, people are willing to put up with certain negatives as long as they enjoy who they're working for. When that's just not the case, there's no reason to stick around:

Nine times out of ten, when an employee says they're leaving for more money, it's simply not true. It's just too uncomfortable to tell the truth.

Whether that's true is certainly debatable, though it's not a stretch to say that an inconsiderate and/or incompetent boss isn't much of a leader. If you run an organization or company, your values and actions need to guide and inspire your team. When you fail to do that, you set the table for poor productivity and turnover.

McMahon offers a few suggestions for those who want to hone their leadership abilities, though it seems that these things are more innate qualities than acquired skills. For example, actually caring about your workers or not depending wholly on HR thinking they can do your job for you.

It's the nature of promotions that, inevitably, a good employee without leadership skills will get thrust into a supervisory position. McMahon says this is a chronic problem that many organizations need to avoid, or at least make the time to properly evaluate and assist with the transition.

But since they often don't, they end up with uninspired workers. And uninspired workers who don't have a reason to stay won't stick around for long.

Read more at LinkedIn.

Radical theory says our universe sits on an inflating bubble in an extra dimension

Cosmologists propose a groundbreaking model of the universe using string theory.

Getty Images/Suvendu Giri
Surprising Science
  • A new paper uses string theory to propose a new model of the universe.
  • The researchers think our universe may be riding a bubble expanded by dark energy.
  • All matter in the universe may exist in strings that reach into another dimension.
Keep reading Show less