Haitians: “Don’t Donate to the American Red Cross”

by: Obert Madondo | Published October 11, 2016, by Charity Files

Last week, Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti, killing at least 1,000 people. The hurricane also caused a new cholera outbreak and devastated Haiti’s fragile infrastructure.

If you want to help Haiti with its recovery efforts, don’t donate to the American Red Cross. That’s the message from some Haitians.

“In the coming days, many of you are going to write and ask me how you can “help Haiti’,” one Haitian woman said in this Facebook post., “Don’t give the American Red Cross. Nope. But… Nah.”

The woman’s sentiments echo recent extensive investigative reporting by news outlets ProPublica and the NPR, which documented the Red Cross failures in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. In one instances, ProPublica’s investigation found that the mammoth charity had built only six permanent homes after raising nearly half a billion dollars.

The damning reporting prompted U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, the chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the Finance Committee, to launch an inquiry. In a scathing report issued in June, Grassley blasted the Red Cross for misusing Haiti aid money. In a press release, Grassley said:

The Red Cross documented good works to help the Haitian people, but the accounting for how much it spent on each program in Haiti and the amount of money spent on management and administrative expenses were hard to come by. When the information was forthcoming, it became clear that the Red Cross does not know how much each project in Haiti cost. The Red Cross should be as detailed and transparent as possible about where donor money goes and how it’s used. People who give generously to any charitable cause expect transparency and the careful use of every dollar. That’s especially true for the Red Cross as an organization we all rely on for disaster relief.

The Haitian woman urges people donate to Haitian-led organizations and non-Haitian organizations with a proven track record of financial transparency and accountability. Her choice of Haitian organizations includes: Konbit Mizik, Haiti Communitere, ACFFC, Sakala Haiti, SOIL, Fondation Aquin Solidarité , Volontariat pour le Développement d’Haïti, Lambi Fund, MADRE, Sowaseed, Konbit Solèy Leve and Sakala. For reputable non-Haitian organizations, the woman suggested: Doctors without Borders, Roots of Development, Partners in Health, Border of Lights and Nova Hope for Haiti.

The woman also urges people to avoid sending “anything that can be bought in Haiti (which means everything that can be bought in the US)”.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad