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Killing with Kindness

Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Killing with Kindness
    Book Description:

    After Haiti's 2010 earthquake, over half of U.S. households donated to thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in that country. Yet we continue to hear stories of misery from Haiti. Why have NGOs failed at their mission?Set in Haiti during the 2004 coup and aftermath and enhanced by research conducted after the 2010 earthquake,Killing with Kindnessanalyzes the impact of official development aid on recipient NGOs and their relationships with local communities. Written like a detective story, the book offers rich enthnographic comparisons of two Haitian women's NGOs working in HIV/AIDS prevention, one with public funding (including USAID), the other with private European NGO partners. Mark Schuller looks at participation and autonomy, analyzing donor policies that inhibit these goals. He focuses on NGOs' roles as intermediaries in "gluing" the contemporary world system together and shows how power works within the aid system as these intermediaries impose interpretations of unclear mandates down the chain-a process Schuller calls "trickle-down imperialism."

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5364-1
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)

    InKilling with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid and NGOs,Mark Schuller offers nuanced insight into the mechanisms (and failures) of foreign aid in Haiti. Through his extensive field research, recounted here in a clear, practical prose, Dr. Schuller suggests that the most efficient and effective way to engage in this work is to accompany the intended beneficiaries. “Accompaniment” admits many meanings, but it is not infinitely elastic. To accompany someone is to go somewhere with him or her, to break bread together, to be present on a journey with a beginning and an end. It means listening, working alongside communities,...

    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  7. Introduction: Doing Research during a Coup
    (pp. 1-13)

    The city was on fire. Not the Eternal Flame, a work-in-progress memorial to the Haitian Revolution that had yet to be lit, but thick plumes of charcoal-gray smoke filled the sky, blotting out the sun.

    I was rushing. My neighbor Lise¹ had warned me. “Better pick up what you can,” she said. “You don’t know the next time you’ll be able to be out in the street.” It was late afternoon, soon to be dark.

    The market was unusually crowded, voices elevated an octave higher than usual, the staccato shouting of business transactions louder than usual, devoid of its usual...

  8. 1 Violence and Venereal Disease: Structural Violence, Gender, and HIV/AIDS
    (pp. 14-41)

    The shooting continues. This might be a spillover from this afternoon. There was a ton of shooting in the Nazon/Kafou Ayewopò area. According to Radyo Ginen,¹ several people were injured from gunshots. I saw the effect: a completeblokis(traffic jam), so it was faster to walk all the way from Sove Lavi to Kabann Kreyòl (two kilometers), where I got in a taxi that was going to Kafou Ayewopò.² I walked in the afternoon sun and rode in a blokis through neighborhoods I am not all that familiar with, all so I could make it in time to a...

  9. 2 “That’s Not Participation!”: Relationships from “Below”
    (pp. 42-73)

    We finally reached our summit, this little town, high enough in the mountains to have a forest of pine among the more tropical mango trees. A church service just let out. About forty or so people were already waiting, milling about. It was chilly by Haitian standards, with several peasant leaders wearing torn hand-me-down sweaters. We were over an hour late from of the official start time for the event.

    Across the dirt road from the church, completely dwarfed by it, was the national school, four cinderblock rooms with a tin roof. The team planned for many people, so we...

  10. 3 All in the Family: Relationships “Inside”
    (pp. 74-106)

    The chairs were all occupied, so people sat on the desks as well. Laughter drowned out the shouting across the room. Everyone was still waiting for Mme Dominique, the director, to emerge from her office. Even the doctors were both there. It was Thursday, the end of the workweek. In the other direction, the literacy training session was just getting out. Some of themedanmvisited with Giselle, who directed the clinic. She peered up from her computer, still trying to work, but smiled as the medanm streamed in. All of Giselle’s coworkers chatted away, long having turned off their...

  11. 4 “We Are Prisoners!”: Relationships from “Above”
    (pp. 107-135)

    The technical team meeting was postponed to 1:30 to coincide with a 2:30 meeting that was supposed to take place for Kanaval and filling out the weekly work plan. This 2:30 meeting never happened. Josue was supposed to come to the technical team meeting to help the trainers think of what is realistic. But he never did. Instead, he insisted, twice, that people fill out the weekly plan of action, repeating, “It is urgent.”

    Apparently this meeting cancellation—and the insistence on the weekly action plan—is because the Global Fund called today. Either that or Mme Versailles just told...

  12. 5 Tectonic Shifts and the Political Tsunami: USAID and the Disaster of Haiti
    (pp. 136-170)

    Today I met with Jillian, a USAID “retiree” who is now working with the agency as a “contractor,” making more money but taking fewer benefits (e.g., she has to pay her own health care and retirement). Since she was a retiree I was thinking she could talk more freely, which she further signaled by meeting me at the lobby to go downstairs to the food court.

    This was my third visit to USAID’s headquarters, in the public–private Ronald Reagan Building, and so I was getting used to the metal detector. It struck me how the security culture is made...

  13. Conclusion: Killing with Kindness?
    (pp. 171-187)

    It is a year—to the minute—since the earthquake that killed at least 230,000 people. A wave of silence has passed through the city. Like the immediate lead-up to the coup, the streets are empty. Roosters crowing in the distance are the only sound. It seemed that even the dogs, following the lead of their human caretakers, are honoring the moment of silence. This is how people chose to commemorate the loss of their loved ones: at home or at church, with their families, quietly and dignified.

    I had to move out of my house because although it is...

  14. Afterword: Some Policy Solutions
    (pp. 188-194)

    Since 2003, I have engaged in many conversations about the system of foreign aid and NGOs with colleagues, NGO professionals, students, andti pèp.Below are a series of recommendations stemming from these conversations for ending this killing with kindness, once and for all. Following the structure of the book, these begin at the grassroots and move up the various constituencies within the civic infrastructure analysis.

    Danielle, Djoni, and Maxime learned from their experience at Sove Lavi. Maxon brought up the idea that grassroots groups should “recognize our own self-worth” or “value ourselves”—bay tèt nou vale.True, grassroots groups...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 195-206)
    (pp. 207-210)
    (pp. 211-230)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 231-234)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 235-236)