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Keep speaking the truth.

[An idea about the vision of some NGOs in Haiti]

Nowadays, both social media and advocacy organizations have changed a concept, transparency, into a norm. This evolution should positively affect the humanitarian world. Indeed, transparency is one of the humanitarian principles since ever. It avoids phantasmagorias. It protects us and is the best enemy of corruption. It allows better evaluation, monitoring and analysis, which are keys of success and improvements in our programs. It allows also better accountability towards beneficiaries, but also towards donors.

In one of the poorest country worldwide, Haiti, many people have access to mobile phones and to internet. Anyone can then spread easily bad information on organizations, on people, on projects. No matter if these information are true or not. Yet, the only efficient counter-measure that exists is transparency, especially for small organizations that does not have the weight to engage in counter-information. If an organization is truly transparent, anyone could easily cross-check information to see if it’s true or not.

The reality is that humanitarian program does not work perfectly as it has been forecast. Never. It has been written one day, sometimes only after a quick and basic evaluation of the problems and the possible solutions. It has been submitted days or weeks later, often approved after weeks or months of biding. Between the first idea and the start of a project it is not rare to have months, except hopefully during emergency phases. In any place, worldwide, during these months the context, the problems, the realities change. In addition, once the project started you have to face new problems, to correct mistakes (errare humanum est) and sometimes to overpass your own incompetency, or those of your staff, the authorities or some subcontractors. This is actually one of the things that is common to every genuine humanitarian worker: the capacity to find solutions to any kind of problem. Even to those that do not exist officially.

Actually a humanitarian program is similar to the life. The more you overpass mistakes and problems, the more you will grow up and become a respected, competent and strong person; the more you develop empathy, the more you will understand others and be able to live within a society.
In Haiti problems are legions. We would not be here if it would not be the case. JEN operations in Haiti are not perfect, while relatively coherent, and above all still useful for the population.

Our job is to understand these above-mentioned problems and to develop solutions.  Our job is also to live with Haitians, to have empathy with those we meet, to understand them, their education and their culture, which enables a better adaptation of our programs to their needs. Furthermore, our job is to confront our difficulties and our mistakes to overpass them to better support the country and its inhabitants.

All the competencies present in the team are tools for such a success. And transparency is our best ally.

(Haiti Head of office Cedlic Turlan)

September 13, 2012 in Haiti |