March 10, 2011

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Eric Martin, an assistant professor of management at Bucknell University, will give the talk, "Haiti: A Year After the Quake," on Wednesday, March 23, at 11:30 a.m. in the Center Room of the Elaine Langone Center. || Related CNN commentary on Japanese earthquake and Haiti assistance efforts.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Bucknell series, "Resist, Reclaim, Recreate: Stories of Survival and Transformation in Haiti."

Assistance efforts lagging
"International development assistance efforts to rebuild Haiti after its devastating 2010 earthquake leave much to be desired," said Martin, who visited Haiti in January.

Martin found evidence of classic problems in international development assistance, including the lack of coordination among international players, limited integration with local government and civil society, and serious questions regarding NGO accountability and responsibility.

"I traveled to Haiti to understand a bit about the delays and apparent lack of progress," said Martin. "I have been to countries recovering from major traumas before, primarily wars, but the scale of the damage in Haiti was immense. That alone has hampered some recovery efforts - the problem is simply so huge.

"Also, so much infrastructure was destroyed — physical, technical and human — that NGOs often couldn't find local partners to work with, and that was a problem as well. Even worse, locals were often simply excluded from decision making processes for a variety of reasons."

Martin said that international NGO accountability remains the biggest question after a year, asking, "Where has all the money raised gone? What has been accomplished in terms of recovery and rebuilding?"

Martin, who joined the Bucknell faculty last year, holds his doctorate from the State University of New York, Albany. In addition to his activities with nonprofit organizations in the United States, he worked on environmental projects as a Peace Corps volunteer in Poland from 1992 to 1994. He later researched the coordination of international development assistance in Bosnia after the war and spent the 2008-09 year in Serbia as a Fulbright Scholar.

Contact: Division of Communications