TOWARDS A MORE ACCOUNTABLE HUMANITARIAN SECTOR March 21, 2018 The Oxfam sex abuse scandal in Haiti is just the tip of the iceberg of unaccountable humanitarian action, and demonstrates the urgent need for improved accountability across the humanitarian aid sector. Sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) is prevalent in the aid community: one report found that 23 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Haiti have had a sexual exploitation problem. Like Oxfam, NGOs often do not treat staff SEA as a legal matter or provide remedies to the victims. Legal obligations exist, but NGOs ignore them. As with SEA, other accountability failures create anger and tension with local communities, and undermine humanitarian actors’ effectiveness. These include failures in aid delivery, sustainability of development projects and, in the case of the United Nations in Haiti, immunity that results in impunity for recklessly introducing cholera. […]
After the 2010 earthquake, many donors were pained to learn how little of their contributions actually went to Haiti. The American Red Cross was a prime example, according to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR. “The reputation of the Red Cross in Haiti is very negative,” Nicole Phillips of IJDH said. In the same way consumers “shop local,” the solution is to give local. Rather than donating to foreign NGOs with high overhead costs to help Haitians after Hurricane Matthew, Edwidge Danticat and others advocate for organizations based in Haiti. Nicole Phillips, who lives in Haiti, said, “By giving money directly to the Haitian network, you’re cutting out a huge sum of cost that otherwise would have to pay for the middleman, for plane tickets, accommodations, et cetera — it’s going directly to Haitians.” Local organizations, and NGOs with a proven track record, are […]
A recent report released by the office of Iowa senator Chuck Grassley found that the American Red Cross used approximately one quarter of the donations it received to aide Haiti (about $125 million) to cover its own internal expenses. The report also found that the charity impeded government efforts to obtain information on the Red Cross program in Haiti, and understaffed and underfunded its own internal investigation unit, which is responsible for looking into incidences of misconduct and abuse within the organization. Red Cross mismanaged money meant for earthquake relief in Haiti RT America 6/21/2016 Click HERE for the original video.
The American Red Cross needs to “make every effort to win [donors’] confidence” back after reports have revealed gross mis-spending of the money donated after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. For example, 25% of the donations were spent on administrative costs and fundraising though those are usually reported at 9%. Senator Charles Grassley has been investigating this issue since a 2015 report by ProPublica and NPR called attention to it. Trust Deficit at the Red Cross Editorial, The New York Times June 17, 2016 After calamities, people donate millions of dollars to the American Red Cross, believing it is uniquely equipped to provide prompt humanitarian aid. The latest evidence that their faith has been misplaced came this week in a report by Senator Charles Grassley about the charity’s poor response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The earthquake killed an estimated 160,000 people and left much […]
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has lead an investigation into the American Red Cross use of donations in the 2010 Haiti earthquake campaign. Receiving little to no feedback or answers to his questions, Senator Grassley has had a hard time finding information about the internal spending even though American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern has claimed to work with the investigation. Though met with subpar communication, Grassley found that the organization has spent around 25 percent of the Haiti donations on internal expenses with ambiguous and unfounded titles such as ‘program expenses,’ a discovery that stands in direct violation of McGovern’s claim that all but 9 percent of donations go to humanitarian aid. The lack of support for internal policing mechanisms by the organization may hold a piece of the blame. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full article. … Report: Red Cross […]
A new bill, the American Red Cross Sunshine Act, is currently pending approval in the House of Representatives. The bill would demand more oversight of how the Red Cross uses its funds, including audits by three inspectors general, and an annual report done by the Department of Homeland Security. The bill was sparked by the Red Cross’ resistance to an inquiry by the Government Accountability Office, requested by Representative Bennie Thompson after the Red Cross’ failed responses to Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, and Superstorm Sandy. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. ‘American Red Cross Sunshine Act’ Would Open Charity to Outside Scrutiny A House bill is being released today along with a government report citing a lack of oversight about how the charity spends the millions of dollars donated by Americans. Justin […]