Skip to main content

Haiti: USAID and State Should Improve Management and Assessment of Reconstruction Activities

GAO-23-105211 Published: Mar 16, 2023. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 2023.
Jump To:

Fast Facts

Pour la version française de cette page, voir GAO-23-106250.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided $2 billion to support reconstruction and development in Haiti during FYs 2010-2020.

It completed half of the infrastructure projects we reviewed—such as constructing a power plant—but most projects were delayed, cost more than planned, or had to be scaled back. USAID developed unrealistic estimates of costs and timeframes. For example, USAID planned to build 4,000 houses but only built 906 due to higher-than-expected building costs.

We recommended that USAID use sound technical information and expertise, like accurate cost estimates, in future strategic infrastructure plans.

Completed Renovation at Labiche Clinic in Haiti in May 2021

Skip to Highlights

Highlights

Pour la version française de cette page, voir GAO-23-106250.

What GAO Found

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) completed four of the eight major post-earthquake infrastructure activities that GAO reviewed. Key results included constructing a power plant, building 906 homes, and improving 24 health and public facilities. Two activities are ongoing, including upgrading a port and two health facilities. Two other activities were canceled because costs were higher than initially anticipated. USAID's completed infrastructure activities supported Haiti's recovery—providing shelter, reliable electricity, and improved access to health services. However, due in part to unrealistic initial plans, most infrastructure activities experienced delays, budget increases, and scope reductions. GAO also found gaps in strategic planning and tracking and assessing the results of these activities, affecting management and oversight.

Progress in Constructing the State University Hospital from June 2014 and May 2021

Progress in Constructing the State University Hospital from June 2014 and May 2021

GAO reviewed 29 evaluations, each of which discussed multiple results for USAID development activities. GAO found that across key sectors—economic and food security, governance, and health—at least half of the results were successful and at least one-third were unsuccessful. For example, under governance, evaluations indicated that an activity improved property tax systems and another activity fell short in strengthening judicial oversight.

The Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs activities to develop the Haitian National Police achieved mixed results. The results that implementers reported for these activities usually focused on outputs, such as the number of trainings provided. However, State has not evaluated the outcomes of these activities, such as improvements to investigative capacity, limiting information about their overall effectiveness.

USAID has taken steps to strengthen the organizational capacity of local organizations in Haiti so that they can manage USAID awards. However, local entities secure limited USAID funding, due in part to capacity limitations, according to officials. The USAID mission in Haiti does not fully track data on its local partnerships, or its activities to strengthen local organizational capacity, which limits institutional knowledge about these efforts and understanding of results and lessons learned to inform future activities.

Why GAO Did This Study

In January 2010, a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti caused physical, social, and economic devastation. More than a decade later, Haiti continues to experience political and social unrest and natural disasters, including another large earthquake that struck the country in August 2021.

USAID provided nearly $2.3 billion to support reconstruction and development activities in Haiti from fiscal years 2010 through 2020. State funded activities to develop the Haitian National Police.

GAO was asked to examine U.S. reconstruction activities in Haiti since 2010. GAO examined the extent to which: (1) USAID infrastructure and development activities achieved intended results; (2) State met its goals to develop the police; and (3) USAID undertook efforts to help build the capacity of Haitian entities to implement reconstruction activities.

GAO reviewed results from evaluations, agency documents, and implementer reports for a nongeneralizable sample of activities selected based on funding. GAO interviewed officials, implementers, and beneficiaries.

Recommendations

GAO recommends that USAID improve its infrastructure planning, tracking, and assessment of results; and better track data on its local partnerships in Haiti and activities to strengthen local organizational capacity. GAO also recommends that State evaluate the effectiveness of its activities to develop the Haitian National Police. USAID and State concurred with the recommendations.

 

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
U.S. Agency for International Development The Administrator of USAID should ensure USAID/Haiti updates or develops strategic infrastructure plans using quality information, such as technical information and expertise. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
U.S. Agency for International Development The Administrator of USAID should ensure that USAID/Haiti develops a process to track and assess consistent and complete results information for infrastructure activities, such as the final outputs, outcomes, costs, time frames, and lessons learned. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of State The Secretary of State should ensure that the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs conducts an evaluation of the effectiveness of its activities to develop the Haitian National Police. (Recommendation 3)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
U.S. Agency for International Development The Administrator of USAID should ensure that USAID/Haiti establishes a process to completely and consistently track and analyze data on awards made to local organizations, such as the amount and percent of total funding awarded and the percent of total awards provided to these organizations. (Recommendation 4)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
U.S. Agency for International Development The Administrator of USAID should ensure that USAID/Haiti systematically tracks information on the activities that the mission funds to strengthen organizational capacity of Haitian organizations, including which activities USAID funds, and basic information about these activities, such as key interventions, entities involved, results achieved, and lessons learned. (Recommendation 5)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Full Report

Office of Public Affairs

Topics

Agency evaluationsBeneficiariesConstructionDevelopment assistanceEarthquakesFood securityForeign aid to HaitiHaiti reconstructionHealth carePerformance appraisalPerformance measurementPerformance monitoringWater systems