Assistance to Haiti:

Barriers, Recent Program Changes, and Future Options

ID-82-13: Published: Feb 22, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 22, 1982.

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GAO reviewed the effectiveness of the Agency for International Development (AID) programs in Haiti, the reasons for past project failures, the adequacy of planned corrective actions, and possible development options.

After 8 years of operating in Haiti, AID is still having difficulty implementing its projects. Past projects designed to improve Haitian Government institutions have had only a limited impact, and many projects have suffered serious delays. AID has been instituting changes to increase program effectiveness. For example, in collaboration with the Haitian Goverment, AID has established a Joint Project Implementation Plan to better document performance, problems, and responsibility for delays. Other donors have had difficulty in implementing their projects. To cope with the difficulties, these donors have: (1) deemphasized sectors where project success is least likely; (2) used outside contractors rather than local personnel; and (3) used semiautonomous project implementation offices within the Government ministries. GAO found that the United States could emphasize grassroots participation by using more private and volunteer organizations, establishing a Peace Corps program, and working directly with the Haitian people. Criteria to guide decisions on program size and direction are currently lacking. AID needs a clear definition of its role in meeting U.S. objectives and the impact it can realistically achieve.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of AID should encourage other donors to use the Joint Project Implementation Plan, or a similar approach, in development projects requiring Government participation, if the Joint Project Implementation Plan proves to be a useful project management tool.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of AID should explore alternate approaches to project implementation and decide which ones should be followed. In the meantime, AID should attempt to avoid delays in project implementation and work directly with the Haitian people until Government of Haiti counterpart personnel are available, or another alternative approach is chosen.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of AID should in cooperation with the Department of State, should develop a statement that better defines U.S. objectives in Haiti and the role AID can play in achieving them.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

 

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