My posting on Haiti last week (and the resulting spot on WordPress’s homepage, editorial in The Age, etc. etc.) provided a couple of fun side-effects. As well as the upswing in traffic on this site (thanks for the 12,000 of you who sauntered round for a gander last week), it also linked me in a little more to some of the other blogs and websites out there discussing the ins, outs, ups, downs and general architecture of humanitarian assistance. Some highlights for those interested in getting some more in-depth analysis around some of the issues that make aid work complex, fascinating, engaging, and periodically dysfunctional are linked below.
On why we should think twice about how best to engage with military actors in protecting aid delivery, check out this article on J.’s [fantastic, insightful and frequently humorous] blog Tales From the Hood.
On what to do to help the people of Haiti, what not to do, and why, check out these punchy points from J., and also some thoughtful analysis from Saundra Schimmelpfennig in her string of posts about choosing a charity to give to, why admin costs should not be the deciding factor in which agency you donate to, and why Haiti doesn’t need well-meaning volunteers. Aid worker and blogger Alannah Shaikh has also been getting some great coverage on her article explaining what Haiti does not need right now.
Some added insight into the ins and outs of logistics and complexity as related to the Haiti quake, aid logistician Michael Keizer gives a great overview here. He also gives a good response to my earlier post on the economics of Search and Rescue teams.
Michael and Alannah have both written good responses to an article in the Lancet criticising the aid industry, which you can read here and here, while AidWatch, a site dedicated to holding humanitarians accountable to best aid practice, has their own response here.
And finally J. adds his two or three cents on what needs to follow the initial frenzy of digging people out of the rubble.
On a completely different (non-Haiti-related) tack, I stumbled across an article written about a year ago entitled The Archipelago of Fear, a personal and insightful account of the dichotomies of life in Kabul as an expatriate. Long, but full of vivid emotion and tight, evocative prose. Highly recommended.
Edit 25.01.10: For a great overview of some of the more relevant alternatives for how to help Haiti become a better place after reconstruction, check out Paul Currion’s commentary on Reinventing Haiti. NGOs need to start taking some of these more non-traditional approaches to reconstruction and rehabilitation more seriously.