About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"The Big Truck That Went By": How we can support education in Haiti without leaving behind a disaster

In 2013, Associated Press journalist Jonathan Katz, wrote a book entitled The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster.

 Katz documents the incredible mistakes and failures that accompanied the response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.A summary of the book states that it, "...presents a hard hitting investigation into international aid, finding that the way wealthy countries give today makes poor countries seem irredeemably hopeless..."

One of the key lessons I was reminded of when I read the book was that we want to ensure that we work with our Haitian partners in authentic and meaningful ways. We have tried not to "parachute in" and invent new programs. Instead, we have worked hard to develop long-term relationships, listened to the ideas and needs presented, and considered how we can work together to address these ideas and needs in ways that "make sense" to both groups. I believe that this approach is what has made our work in Haiti successful.

Next week's partnership meetings will work on the same principles:
     *relationships matter
     *listen before you speak
     *work together for change

Isn't this really what all successful partnerships are about?

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