Tackling the Complex Issue of Donor Coordination in Haiti

by | April 11, 2012

On April 2nd 2012, 5 MPA-DP students presented their research on donor coordination to the Prime Minister of Haiti, Dr. Garry Conille.  The student team, working under the guidance on CGSD, conducted a critical analysis of top multilateral and bilateral donor activities across the country since the 2010 earthquake. Using the most recently available donor data, the students mapped out the top donors’ development programs and aid disbursement rates. In preparing their recommendations for the Prime Minister, the team gained first-hand experience of the challenges faced by governments in effectively tracking, managing and coordinating donor aid for national planning efforts.

The MDP student team was made up of Sebastien Carreau, Gaelle Espinosa, Stephane Keil, Monica Hitomi and Genia Sokolova. Sebastien Carreau, a first year MPA-DP student, reflected on the day’s events:

In your opinion, what was your biggest “takeaway” from your work on the project?         

Three things really stood out to me.

1. I think that students have a clear role to play in doing neutral and independent analysis on donor coordination.

2. Transparency and good governance should apply not only to the recipient country, but also to the donors themselves, who should commit to fully disclose their activities.

3. Finally, education and capacity building are crucial to improve countries’ capacity to manage and implement aid.

How would you describe the whole experience of presenting to the Prime Minister?

Presenting the outcomes of our analysis to the Prime Minister was an extremely exciting and rewarding experience. I really felt honored to be given this unique opportunity to interact directly with the Prime Minister and to contribute to his ongoing efforts to improve donor coordination in Haiti.

What was the most interesting thing came out of your discussions with the PM? Did anything surprise you in his reactions?

He showed a true and genuine interest in our analysis and in the perspectives that we gave to him. I was pleased to hear that most of our aggregate results and propositions seemed to line up with what he had in mind.  I found it interesting that he wished donors could better meet his country’s needs in terms of capacity building, to train staff that could perform this kind of analysis.

Sarah Curran is a Program Associate at CGSD and was a 2011 graduate of the MPA-DP Program at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

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