Sunday, January 17, 2010

Doing what we can

Fundraising is always a tricky process, and what I realized is that it has become extremely competitive as well. Haiti is a case in point. Overnight, international organizations, pop artists, ex presidents (the B.Clinton and G.W.Bush initiative) and sportsmen (read Tiger Woods looking to rehab his image) have launched a Haiti relief effort of some sort. The danger - too much money overwhelms the system. Even in delivering aid there's such a thing as a bottleneck. That makes sense. When infrastructure is destroyed and local community devastated, getting the aid to the needy is both a logistical and a security challenge. Case in point: Haiti. Since the earthquake, we have witnessed an increase in violence and international organizations are struggling to process the aid and spend the money wisely and most importantly, in an accountable manner. This is not meant to discourage you from giving or helping. By all means do, and Haiti needs help and will need help going forward. But do check the organization before you donate, and try to match your donation with the organization that at least has experience and people on the ground in Haiti today.

Because a lot has been said on the net in the last days about misuse of funds - i.e the accusations against Yele Haiti setup by a member of the Fugees - I want to tell you a bit more about our own fundraiser. When we started we did some research into the immediate and medium term needs in Haiti. It turned out these are medical teams, equipment, water and rescue dogs. Then we considered how best we can help - should we go there and help on the ground or try to raise funds? Going to Haiti seemed unreasonable - the airport is shut, and once there, what experience do we have in providing valuable assistance? It didn't take long to shelve this option.

The next best thing was to link up with a charity that has provided medical service and equipment in Haiti, and is on the ground now. That's why we decided to link up with Partners in Health. They've been in Haiti since 1987 and have a strong track record of and infrastructure for delivering medical assistance in Haiti. After talking to them, we assessed that medical equipment was most needed and here we had a way to do it - through Balton, the Polish producer of medical equipment, which has agreed to give us the equipment at half price. This means that for every euro raised we are able to buy 2 euros worth of equipment.

So far, we have raised 730 euros. This is still a way off our target - 10,000 euros. But with your generous help, we can make it!

Training report: this weekend was great with a cumulative distance run = 55km.

Keep the faith!

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