Community-Based Well Maintenance in Rural Haiti
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
January 10, 2012
FRB of Cleveland Working Paper No. 12-01
The international community has pledged $11 billion to Haiti, a country where nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) provide nearly all public goods and services. This paper addresses two questions about these NGOs: How can they most effectively perform their own work, and how can they integrate their programs into broader efforts organized by public institutions? I evaluate the community-based model of Haiti Outreach (HO), which trains communities to manage wells after they have been constructed. The effect of this training is identified by comparing the outcomes of HO’s wells with a control group of wells that were refurbished by HO but then managed by other groups. Wells managed under the community-based approach are 8.7 percentage points more likely to be functioning after one year. I 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. Policymakers deciding between alternative interventions should also give consideration to the community-based approach for its ability to build political institutions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: Haiti, Haiti Outreach, Community-Based Water Intervention, Well Maintenance, Nongovernmental Organization (NGO), Water-Person-Year
JEL Classification: Q25, O22, O13, Q56, H41, H10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 11, 2012
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