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LRRD: the case of Haiti

More than two years after the Haiti earthquake, Resacoop, the Collectif Haïti Rhône Alpes and Groupe URD co-organised a workshop on the topic: LRRD: the Case of Haiti. Over fifty professionals and volunteers gathered in Lyon on 27 April to discuss and reflect on this issue.

As there has been criticism of the way international aid was managed in Haiti after the earthquake of January 2010 and questions have been raised about agencies’ level of anticipation and preparation in this country, which is regularly hit by natural disasters (cyclones, floods, etc.), it was important to learn from what had happened and to share lessons amongst development and relief actors.

There was a need to revise and update the issue of LRRD, which was first addressed almost 20 years ago, and which prompted the creation of Groupe URD, in order to improve the results of international aid projects run by development and relief NGOs from the Rhone Alpes region and encourage dialogue and the coordination between organizations working in Haiti.

The workshop, which received positive feedback from participants, was split into two parts. In the morning, Haitian students and Groupe URD made presentations on a number of contextual and conceptual points.

Groupe URD’s input focused on a number of key points such as:

  • The relation between emergency relief and development aid and their converging and diverging viewpoints and methods;
  • The need to understand concepts such as “a hazard”, “a risk”, “anticipation”, “disaster prevention” and “disaster preparedness” and to implement appropriate action in each situation;
  • The importance of working on LRRD to build the resilience of individuals, communities and institutions.

In the afternoon, thematic workshops were run to discuss sticking points and propose actions to anticipate risks more effectively and reinforce the capacities of communities. These highlighted the need for development NGOs to improve their knowledge and understanding of the link between relief and development and between development and relief, and of crisis prevention.

Overall, the day showed that development NGOs need to improve the way they take into account disaster prevention and preparedness and relief NGOs need to take long term development into account more effectively in their short-term projects.

In general, organizations of both kinds should take local knowledge into consideration more, should reinforce the legitimacy of local authorities and should avoid substitution as much as possible. Instead, they should try to support local activities and initiatives and aim to improve the resilience of communities.

It was interesting to see that, for the first time in a while, development organizations were broaching the subject of LRRD with a view to improving the coordination between development and relief activities.

See Groupe URD activities in Haiti.