The January 2010 earthquake that plunged Haiti deeper into poverty and the accompanying rush of nongovernmental organizations to the Caribbean nation — a situation that further solidified Haiti’s unflattering reputation as a “republic of NGOs” — have become the dominant narrative surrounding the tiny country, already one of the world’s poorest nations even before the earthquake struck, in the past few years.
That Haiti has been viewed in such light is unfortunate, given the significant strides it has achieved in certain education and health indicators after the earthquake.
Still, available numbers support the claim that Haiti is indeed teeming with NGOs. A 2010 study found that Haiti had effectively substituted its weak state institutions with a cottage industry of NGOs even before the earthquake hit: NGOs were running 70 percent of health care and 85 percent of national education services.
But the ubiquity of NGOs became even more apparent after the earthquake. According to Haiti Aid Map, a mapping initiative that monitors the Haiti projects of members of InterAction, a network of international NGOs based in the United States, 42 groups are currently reporting 171 active projects in Haiti. Members submit information to NGO Aid Map on a voluntary basis so projects noted may only represent a portion of a group's work.