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Community-based well maintenance in rural Haiti

  • Dionissi Aliprantis

The international community has pledged $11 billion to Haiti, a country where nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) provide nearly all public goods and services. This raises at least two questions: How can NGOs most effectively perform their own work, and how can NGOs integrate their programs into broader efforts organized by public institutions? This paper addresses these questions by evaluating the community-based model of Haiti Outreach (HO) that focuses on training communities to manage wells after they have been constructed. The effect of this management training is identified by comparing the outcomes of HO’s wells with a control group of wells that were refurbished by HO in the aftermath of the January 12, 2010, earthquake but then subsequently managed by other groups. Wells managed under the community-based approach are 8.7 percentage points more likely to be functioning after only one year. We also propose a social planner’s problem to quantify the tradeoff between equity and efficiency created by user fees that may be applied to many development programs. A social planner indifferent between standard and community-based interventions has strong preferences for sporadically providing water to the poorest members of a community at the expense of sustainably providing water to the majority of community members. Policy-makers deciding between alternative interventions should also give consideration to the community-based approach for its ability to build political institutions.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 1201.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision: 01 Oct 2012
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1201
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