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Survival in post-earthquake Haiti: Institutional predators, individual maneuver

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Survival in post-earthquake Haiti: Institutional predators, individual maneuver

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  1. Survival in post-earthquake Haiti:Institutional predators, individual maneuver Gerald F. Murray Dept. of Anthropology (emeritus) University of Florida

  2. The Caribbean Basin

  3. Island of Hispaniola

  4. Relief map of Hispaniola

  5. Relief map of Haiti

  6. Survival strategies and their special complexities in Haiti • Male agrarian strategies • Female commercial strategies • Reproductive strategies: Protection in old age • Health strategies: • Schooling strategies: freedom from agriculture • Child relocation: “giving children away” • Emigration: the major collective aspiration

  7. Components of peasant economy • Land tenure system • Crops • Livestock • Market system

  8. Haitian peasant land tenure • Bilateral partible inheritance • Privatized holdings. • Low level of landlessness • Small holdings • Scattered holdings • Sharecropping and land purchase

  9. Peasant cropping • Technology: Hoe and machete • Water: Rainfall • Land clearing: Deforestation and erosion • Absence of fallow • Conversion to pasture

  10. Peasant livestock system • Cattle, pigs, goats, sheep • Private and communal grazing land • Animals as a source of investment

  11. Subsistence vs. market involvement • Definition of “subsistence cultivator” • The subsistence economies of indigenous America. • The commercial orientation of the Caribbean • Market strategy of Haitian peasant

  12. Hoe agriculture

  13. Exchange labor or wage labor

  14. Agrarian “architecture”

  15. A planted lowland field

  16. Agrarian options and dilemmas • Mass exodus: Agriculture a declining option in Haiti. • Major problem: not land shortage, but water and capital. • Because of drought, credit not a safe option. • Food security: dependent on purchase. 60% imported. • Agriculture no longer seen as an attractive option for offspring

  17. The Haitian market woman • Marketing still an attractive option for women. • Major activity is purchase and resale, not sale of family crops. • Two levels of marketing • Madam sara • Revandez • Males market major livestock • Women interviewees prefer access to credit over access to free food.

  18. Children as porters to market

  19. The market in art

  20. Family strategies • Two modes of conjugal union: mariaj, plasaj. • Marriage socially more respected. • Marriage often occurs in old age. • Polygamy in the rural areas. • Children now valued more for support in old age than for field labor. • Though people are reluctant to say how many children they want (“it’s up to God”), the want 4 or 5 in view of child mortality. • The issue of fertility and development.

  21. Child relocation • The phenomenon of the “restavek”: child “slave”. • Poorer Haitians relocate their children to live with relatives or strangers, usually in the city. • The basic ground rule: child gives labor in exchange for schooling, shelter, food. • Many Haitians argue in favor of the practice. • Parents want to remain in touch with the child. • The children are often abused, and human rights activists describe it as child slavery

  22. Comparative Population Statistics

  23. Schooling of children • Education now a universal goal. • Relocation of children is justified in educ. terms. • 53% literacy rate (people over 15 who have gone to school). Lower than 90% ave. for L.A. and Carib. • There are 15,200 primary schools in Haiti, 90% private. • 2/3 of Haitian children attend at least a year of school. Of these only 1/3 reach sixth grade. • One of Aristide’s priorities was education. • Field observations: shaky financial viability of most private schools. • Statistics come from USAID report on education

  24. Health care strategies • Rich traditions of folk healing: • Natural healing: midwives, leaf doctors • Spirit healing: houngans and mambo, Protestant healers • Haitians firmly believe in modern biomedicine as well. • Multiple forms of post-earthquake and post-cholera emergency programs • “Partners in Health” will discuss health issues in the next lecture.

  25. Age, birth, infant deaths

  26. Emigration as a survival strategy • There has been a history of labor emigration. • Cuba • Dominican Republic • A shift in orientation from the 1970’s. • Increase in urbanization. • In 1970’s Haiti was 85% rural • Increase in outmigration • Dominican Republic • U.S.A and Canada • Bahamas and other Caribbean islands

  27. Public and private institutions: service providers or predators? • The need for systems that convert funds into services. • The State: origins and evolution • 3 major historical actors: • The State: government • the Corporation: private sector • and the Church: religious institutions • Appearance of the NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)

  28. The Haitian State • Autocratic military origins • Absence of service or human rights • Systemic functions: extraction and control • “Letagrangou” • Contrast between Trujillo and Duvalier • Contrast between Dominican and Haitian reactions to their States • “Pa bay letakob-la. Yamanje-l. Nou pap jwenn.”

  29. Personal post-earthquake observations • The majistraand the U.N. relief vouchers. • The Haitian and Cuban physicians • The confiscation of a bottle of glue.

  30. The foreign-aid establishment • The U.N. in post WWII • Multilaterals vs. bilaterals • The era of government-to-government aid • Foreign aid as major source of predation • Agroforestry Project and the shift to NGOs • Revisionist history: “NGO competitors to blame for Haitian government failure”.

  31. The publicly-funded NGO: Service provider or predator? • The rise of the Beltway Bandit. • The hybrid NGO • Cashing in on poverty: profitable Non-Profits. • The RFP: top-down ideological project design. • Contractors responsive to foreign funder. • The top-heavy budget: overhead, expenses, salaries, vehicles, etc. • Consortia: Negotiating your cut of the pie.

  32. Privately-funded NGOs • Small church groups involved with Haiti. • Volunteer self-financed trips to Haiti. • Texting donations

  33. Philosophical gatekeepers: the case of trees in Haiti • “Reforestation” • Misplaced pedagogy: “Teach a man to fish” • “Watershed management”: the devastated landscape as major concern • “Ecological justice” ????? • “Develop their character; make ‘em pay for it”: how to kill tree planting.

  34. Summary of gatekeeping • Sources of blockage • Public sector kickbacks • Predatory customs blockages • Top-heavy, self-serving USAID and NGO budgets • Top-down philosophically driven mis-planning. • Shared element: out of touch with village-level or street-level needs. • Caution: avoid “spitball anthropology”. Assume that institutions can improve performance. • Only Haitians can improve GOH performance. • Outsiders can and should insist on more rational and effective performance by donors and NGO implementers.

  35. Avoiding the gatekeepers:Project options • Trees and farming: Agroforestry Outreach Project • Female credit: FonKoze • Health care delivery: Zanmilasante • World Bank: $15,000 grants to communities • The small Thomazeau school program

  36. The larger picture:“If I had $1 billion to spend….” • Divide it into 10 regional funds of $100 million each to create regional poles that would draw people from Port-au-Prince. • One and only one fund would go to Port-au-Prince for rubble, garbage, sewage, etc. • Each regional fund would be subdivided into • Public infrastructure: roads, water, electricity, garbage collection. • Public works jobs – a major short term component. • Agricultural fund: irrigation, erosion control structures. • Credit, particularly for female market women. • School support, both public and private. • Health care (including physician and nurse training) • Others

  37. Who would manage the regional funds?Who would implement the activities? • Fund management: mixed foreign and Haitian. • Separate activities would be subcontracted. • A small but sufficient percentage would be allocated to local municipal authorities. • Local consultation as to priorities. • The bulk would be allocated on a competitive contractual basis to organizations (Haitian or foreign) with proven track records in selected domains (e.g. health, education, credit). • They would be allowed to budget a maximum of 15% for organizational costs. The rest has to be budgeted for bona-fide outputs. Otherwise the proposal gets thrown in the garbage pail.

  38. Current contributions of UF • One of the best library collections on Haiti • Creole language program: largest in the country. • College of Public Health and Health Professions • IFAS (WINNER) • Individual faculty as consultants • Haiti working group • Club Creole – Haitian student group • UF medical student trips to Haiti (in past)

  39. Potential contributions of UF • Goal: become THE premier center of Haiti scholarship • Energetic Haiti-related grant applications. • Search for a Haiti related endowment. • Scholarships for Haitian students. • Special support for Haiti-related theses and dissertations. • Haitian publication series. • Targeted faculty hires . • Increased course offerings. • Minor or Certificate in Haitian Studies

  40. The role of Gainesville? • A sister/city relation between Gainesville and Jacmel. • Gainesville aid to Haiti is often faith-based. • Parish to parish support, both Catholic and Protestant • Personal contributions • Personal visits • The complicated issue of evangelization with public funds.

  41. Potential role of the diaspora • Major perceived obligation: support of kin • Remittances • Assistance in the migratory process • Temporary lodging in the U.S. • Assistance in settling in • Possible support in home communities • Schools? • Credit? • Others? • Return to Haiti in a professional capacity.

  42. Conclusion: Haiti imagined