Who should play the leading role in rebuilding Haiti? Why Haitians, of course, and yet few development organizations appear to be seeking local expertise. In "Voiceless in Haiti," Brian J. Stevens, a former reporter for the Haitian Times, provides distressing examples of the trend toward neglecting Haitian voices, even those with a proven record of identifying and solving local problems. Stevens writes:
For decades non-governmental organizations, driven by international community aid dollars, have employed development paradigms largely devoid of the voice of the Haitian people. From the Creole pig debacle of the 1980s (scroll to minute 4:40 of Dr. Paul Farmer's account) to today’s discussion of how to house the newly homeless masses, Haitian perspectives appear absent. This is unfortunate, not just because it undermines the dignity of the Haitian people, but also because the wisdom of lived experience—a wisdom that has enabled Haitians to survive for decades in conditions that would surely kill most others, a wisdom that could help rebuild Haiti—is ignored. While the almost incalculable devastation requires an immediate response, in some cases the best of intentions can have serious long-term negative consequences for Haitians.
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