Rebuilding Haiti: What Can Investors Do?

Just two weeks ago, a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti. As all of you know, Port au Prince, was devastated. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a history of horrific coups and destructive intervention by foreign powers including France and the United States, Haiti was grossly unprepared for this disaster.

Their buildings were not earthquake or hurricane proof, their airport tiny, and their port outdated. As the world has rightly rushed to the rescue, the relief efforts have been both helpful and extremely problematic. At a minimum, hundreds of thousands of people are still living on the streets, and many are going hungry.

Recently, though, the conversation has turned to the long-term rebuilding of Haiti.

As citizens, we must encourage our government to ensure that we support Haiti to build a sustainable and just economy for its entire population. As donors and investors, we have an opportunity to support that development.

One way is to support the organizations on the ground doing this work. For example, REC supporter Sister Pam Buganski’s group, the Sisters of Notre Dame in Toledo, Ohio, has been investing in Fonkoze, Haiti’s Bank for the Organized Poor, for the past two years, and plans to continue to do so. Writing recently, she said that their investment allowed them to “be with the people of Haiti before and during the earthquake and allows them to support the rebuilding of the people in the country” in its aftermath.

As investors, though, you, and I, and the institutions that we are part of, especially colleges and universities, have an opportunity to make a long-term difference by investing in just and sustainable economy. Aren’t those the kind of returns we really want to make?

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