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Latest update : 2010-02-26

Haiti: where is the money going?

In the month that followed the Haiti quake, the French donated 65 million Euros for emergency aid. Who gets the money? Who uses it? What impact does it have on the ground? Find out in this edition of Reporters.

On a cold winter night, Mr Barthélémy is tuning his guitar, shivering in the under-heated church of Gujan-Mestras, a small town in southern France. He has organised a charity concert, to raise funds for the victims of the Haiti quake, some 7000 kilometres away.

His last concert raised 3000 Euros. Prospects are good for tonight: the church is filling up, so is the collection box. But after the last song is sung and the money is counted, Mr Barthelemy confesses to being a little disappointed: he managed to raise only 1255 Euros. Less than half what he collected during his previous effort, six years ago. But all is not lost. What really matters to Mr Barthélémy is not the amount raised so much as “knowing precisely how the funds will be used, knowing that the money collected today will be used for this orphanage or that building project, etc.”

Despite an unprecedented media campaign, the French donated less money for Haiti than they did in 2004 for the tsunami. 65 million Euros collected in the month that followed the quake, versus 95 million in a fortnight, for the victims of the tsunami.

Some NGOs blame the economic crisis for the generosity gap. Others say French donors have been called upon too often, for too many causes.

Another possible explanation: the mistrust of donors. It’s difficult to quantify, yet many donors, like Mr Barthélémy, now want to know precisely where their money is going. The Fondation de France, a private charity which collected a third of all the money donated in France admits to receiving numerous calls from donors, anxious to know why their cheque hasn’t been cashed yet and how it will be used.

So, where does the money go? What impact does it really have in Haiti? Tune in to Reporters to find out.
 

By Nicolas RANSOM , Hélène FRADE , Cyril VANIER

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