Recovery in Haiti — not a linear process

Hygiene promotion volunteers receive cholera t...

Image by British Red Cross. via Flickr

Relief or rebuild? Balancing Haiti’s cholera crisis with long-term recovery. Source is a blog named Civil Society, under the category of  fundraising; Nov. 16, 2010. As Haiti deals with its cholera epidemic,  the author discusses the difficult balance aid workers must strike between a building sustainable future and dealing with a growing emergency situation. The current challenge is  how to focus on on sustainabile recovery while also addressing  the urgent need to battle cholera?

The answer is to try and bridge the gap between relief (short term efforts to save lives) and development (long-term improvements to economic, social and political conditions). The two have traditionally, and still often are, considered as distinct and separate activities. This separation is evidenced in how activities are funded, planned and implemented.  For example budgeting for relief may follow a one year cycle whereas for development five years can be more common.  Also there is often a perception that relief comes first, followed by recovery and then finally development.

However as recent events in Haiti have clearly shown this notion of “one-way” progress – that recovery will, or should, proceed in a straight line from relief to development with no back and forth – is fundamentally flawed. This traditional approach has, over the years, been challenged by the concept of “developmental relief”.  In simple terms, “developmental relief” involves meeting immediate survival requirements in a way that simultaneously builds longer-term strength.

1 thought on “Recovery in Haiti — not a linear process

  1. I wholeheartedly agree. We need to look at recovery using something more aligned to a Venn Diagram with multiple sets and expand our vision to a three dimensional perspective. Additionally recovery needs to incorporate all interested parties not just stakeholders. By this later statement I mean, interested parties tend to want to provide assistance to the whole of the problem whereas stakeholders tend to seek resolution for their specific issue with minimal respect to other participants desires or needs.


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