November Update from Cap- Haitien

November, 2017

Dear friends,
Greetings from Haiti.  Today we are awaiting the arrival of our 18th shipping container from Maine.  Thanks to all of those who volunteered out of the limelight to make it possible, and a special thanks to Konbit Sante Co-founder Wendy Taylor who made a brief video about the loading of the container to share with you.   I hope that it will give you a good idea what, literally, goes into a container… and what goes into getting a container out.  
One challenge we are facing is that we have been supported for many years with our work at the Fort Saint Michel Health Center by a variety of larger USAID-funded international organizations.  In the past 6 months, we have experienced two funding cuts with little to no notice, the latest being this week.  We have not heard yet what will happen after our contract extension runs out at the end of December, so 28 health workers do not know if they will have a job.   We are expecting fairly drastic additional funding reductions, which will surely impact our capacity to continue to support this Health Center that serves a very poor urban community of 110,000 people.  

As we have had a front row seat to see how foreign aid has been implemented here over the years, and now seeing these changes beginning to unfold, these sentiments by John Lyon resonate:
“The current model that primarily turns over U.S. foreign assistance funding to only a few large organizations misses the mark.… Development efforts are most effective when organizations have deep roots in the countries where they work — this is a primary differentiator for small and medium-sized nonprofits. These organizations rely heavily on their local relationships to make a difference...Entering a country without these relationships is much less effective and in fact is more likely to backfire….  [W]hile governments and large nonprofits have roles in providing foreign assistance, it is actually the small to medium-sized development organizations that most effectively mobilize change through their local relationships.…” (Read the post in its entirety.) 
We will soon be sharing our Annual Report with all of you, and hope that it speaks to the level of impact a small nonprofit like Konbit Sante can have on the lives of those who are most vulnerable.  As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we are grateful for both your support and your solidarity as we navigate these difficult and uncertain times together.


Nathan Nickerson
Executive Director