Rights-Based Humanitarian Indicators in Post-Earthquake Haiti
GOVERNANCE BY INDICATORS: GLOBAL POWER THROUGH QUANTIFICATION AND RANKINGS, Davis, ed., 2011
Posted: 25 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 25, 2011
This chapter presents results of empirical research and critical analysis of the use of rights-based humanitarian indicators, using Haiti as a case study. The author argues that data collected through an online survey, site visits, and interviews with human rights experts suggest that humanitarians are using indicators and benchmarks to monitor projects and ensure effective, measurable results in Haiti. Such metrics also have unintended impacts: while humanitarians have managed to deliver impressive, life-saving services to camps in incredibly difficult conditions, the system has also failed to ensure predictable services to large swathes of the population. The author suggests that this is in part because issues of coverage and scope are not as visible via monitoring and assessment tools such as indicators as project quality and outcomes. Further, although some indicators include attention to issues of sustainability, by highlighting successes in improving outcomes they also inadvertently downplay the potential damage that humanitarian interventions can have on existing and nascent systems for delivering key services. Finally, the quest for data seems to become less pressing when protection issues arise: the humanitarian system appears reluctant to count rapes and evictions despite rising calls to monitor such abuses.
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