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Nobody wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti

The following post is by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

Don’t donate goods. Donating stuff instead of money is a serious problem in emergency relief. Only the people on the ground know what’s actually necessary; those of us in the rest of the world can only guess. Some things, like summer clothes and expired medicines are going to be worthless in Haiti. Other stuff, like warm clothes and bottled water may be helpful to some people in some specific ways. Separating the useful from the useless takes manpower that can be doing more important work. It’s far better to give money so that organizations can buy the things they know they need.

Some people like to donate goods instead of cash because they worry that cash won’t be used in a way that helps the needy. If that’s you, I have two points. 1) Why are you donating to an organization you don’t trust? 2) What’s to stop them from selling your donated item and using the money for whatever they want?

After Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Honduras was flooded with shipments of donated goods. They clogged ports, overwhelmed military transport, and made it nearly impossible for relief agencies to ship in the things they really needed. Those donations did harm, not good. Expired drugs had to be carefully disposed of. Inappropriate donations had to be transported away and discarded. All of this wasted time and money.

Don’t go to Haiti. It’s close to the US, it’s a disaster area, and we all want to help. However, it’s dangerous right now and they don’t need “extra hands”. The people who are currently useful are people with training in medicine and emergency response. If all you can contribute is unskilled labor, stay home. There is no shortage of unskilled labor in Haiti, and Haitians will be a lot more committed than you are to the rebuilding process.

If you are a nurse or physician, especially with experience in trauma, and you want to volunteer, email Partners in Health – volunteer@pih.org – and offer your services. Or submit your details to International Medical Corps. They’ll take you if they can use you. Do not go to Haiti on your own, even if you are doctor. You’ll just add to the confusion, and you’ll be a burden to whoever ends up taking responsibility for your safety.

Don’t ignore rebuilding. The physical damage done to Port au Prince is going to take a long, long time to repair. The human consequences will have a similar slow recovery. Haiti will still need our help next year, and the years after that. It is going to take more than just a short-term infusion of relief money. Give your money to organizations that will be in Haiti for the long haul, and don’t forget about Haiti once the media attention moves on.

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35 Comments

  1. Ian wrote:

    I’d add – Don’t adopt a Haitian Child. After disasters there is often a heartfelt desire and a rush to adopt “Orphans”.

    The problem is they are often not orphans – and even when they are, where possible it’s better for then to be cared for by extended family or adopted within their communities.

    At times of disaster when families are trying to reunite and child protection systems are weaker is not the time to “fast-track” international adoptions and remove the important safeguards that should normally be in place to protect the best interest of the child.

    Posted January 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  2. Just what Haiti needs! Some inexperienced college students with cameras to take pictures of poor black children and construct huts.
    http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/haiti/

    Posted January 16, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink
  3. Thomas wrote:

    And afterwards, Haiti will need experienced folks, not freshfaced kids who are just getting their Peace Corps experience stamped on their CV. There are facilities there that have been built, but that the Haitians just do not have the capacity to operate.

    Posted January 17, 2010 at 1:23 am | Permalink
  4. Holly wrote:

    I don’t know…I’ve got some pretty cute shoes. And I hear fashion is priority #1 in Haiti these days. With all the camera time, people want to look their best.

    More seriously, well put and/but I hope/doubt that people who’d be tempted to “help” in the ways you’ve mentioned are reading this blog–spread the word.

    Posted January 17, 2010 at 1:24 am | Permalink
  5. amber lung wrote:

    thank you. could not agree more. have been trying to articulate this in a more convincing way, as many friends simply believe i am cold-hearted. this will help. could not agree more.

    Posted January 17, 2010 at 1:59 am | Permalink
  6. Megan wrote:

    As always – incredibly insightful + well put by Ms. Shaikh. I really hope that this post is being circulated outside of the professional development + relief community. Is there anyway to get these crucial points included on the round the clock coverage on CNN? Or linked to on more *mainstream* sites? I keep hoping to see Saundra S. interviewed on the news…

    It struck me how many people I know that have never taken any interest in the developing world or even local community service, who muse over just going to Haiti to “help.” Suddenly everyone is a superhero in disguise who, when finally moved to care – considers themselves potentially indispensable in a context they know nothing about!

    It truly seems that those outside of the industry presume that there is no training, logistics, experience, nor skills required to “help” if they were to feel like it. If it’s so easy, why have they never bothered to “save people” til now? Disconcerting.

    Posted January 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  7. Ted wrote:

    In response to Megan’s comments including”It struck me how many people I know that have never taken any interest in the developing world or even local community service, who muse over just going to Haiti to “help.” Suddenly everyone is a superhero in disguise who, when finally moved to care – considers themselves potentially indispensable in a context they know nothing about!”

    In disaster there is the awakening of compassion in the otherwise self absorbed…not to be dismissed but nurtured by those who work the fields. Disasters such as this anywhere in the world stirs compassion. The slightest hint of wanting to help should be an open door to instruct on how best to help…it is not ‘where have they been up to now” that is in question..it is “where do they wish to be in the future” once the enlightenment of compassion in them awakes.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink
  8. Lawrence wrote:

    In response to:
    “Just what Haiti needs! Some inexperienced college students with cameras to take pictures of poor black children and construct huts.”

    You just described every NGO in today’s world. They take a picture, you feel bad, you send them money, and they pretend to do something with it. NGOs are like a person who brags about how good they are at something and then when you ask them to demonstrate, they give all kinds of excuses why they can’t. You later find out that they are horrible at what they do.

    I would send inexperienced college students to Haiti before I donated money.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:14 am | Permalink
  9. Anouk wrote:

    As an adoptive parent myself, I’ll second what Ian says. Firstly, adoption is not like in the movies – it’s inherently time-consuming, involving years of consdieration, selection, testing, screening and training. And that’s without all the paper work and the time needed to process dossiers. Second, an adoption programme can only operate in a country with a functioning care system (two countries if it’s an inter-country adoption), which may take years for the Haitians to rebuild. Third, adoption on idealistic grounds is somthing that child welfare agencies strongly discourage. This is not some bizzare prejudice, it’s simply that experience has shown them that the outcomes are not as good as when the impertus comes from a long-term preparation and desire for children.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 6:04 am | Permalink
  10. Roberto wrote:

    Good post. As for international agencies and NGOs, I would suggest to provide the victims most of its aid in cash, and make the supplies available to the people through local traders. Even if prices go up, it will be beneficial, because that will attract more and more suppliers, going everywhere with their own resources. It is in Spanish, but this is posted in laserna.wordpress.com

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink
  11. Rory Holland wrote:

    Amen. That advice is just as true in non-disaster relief situations. My son is in Congo with a full time job of emptying containers from well meaning folks in North America. Boxes of used toothbrushes, and carton after carton of expired Contact ‘c’, along with broken bikes and other mechanical stuff requiring parts that don’t exist. This is after the organization has paid duty on the ‘declared value’ to get the container into the country.

    There are a few good organizations, like the IMED program of FHCanada.org that holds inventories of used hospital equipment and refurbished medical machinery from wheel chairs to x-ray machines. They take and fulfill orders from hospitals and clinics around the world insuring that what arrives is what’s needed.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink
  12. Casspark wrote:

    Thanks for broadcasting these tips.

    As someone who has to deal with the effects of misplaced do-goodism, they’re also germane for folks wanting to “do something” in Detroit!

    Give your time and money to legitimate charities rather than create more problems by trying to re-invent the wheel. No one wants your old shoes.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink
  13. Karl D wrote:

    Do the math
    I would add not even to bother contributing money. The suggested $10 per person times every person in the US (300 million, not very likely) = 3 $billion, which is a rounding error for what we send to Afghanistan. Private orgs require lots of administration, so nothing clost to that would get to Haiti. Only government can effectively help in such disasters. Want to help? Then pay your taxes.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
  14. Mozza wrote:

    You should provide your good advice to the Haitians since they seem to think that they do need the goods. But I guess Westerners know better.

    http://www.haiti.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=140

    By the way, what’s the problem with summer clothes? It’s 86 F during the day in Haiti these days. Haitians do wear summer clothes in the pictures that I see.

    Anyway, I agree that money is better and that giving expired medicine is silly.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  15. Coyote wrote:

    A haitian kid could do worse that to be adopted by a loving family in the U.S. Like, for example, to stay in Haiti.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  16. Mary O'Garvey wrote:

    Of course they want your old shoes, as they did marching through the mountains of Kosovo. Likewise old sheets, towels, tarps. But more than anything, water. And these people who keep repeating only send money..as they did in Katrina…condemned people to misery, as trucks carrying water and t-shirts etc. were obstructed. The aid agencies do not have to unload or distribute the goods. There is no shortage of young strong men there to do that (and women). But when we prevent clever, inventive, resourceful people from getting emergency goods to desparate people, because, goodness, someone might have to wash the clothes first (they don’t), or there could be some germs in old coke bottles we rinsed out and filled with water (and if you had had no water for three days would you take the risk?? I would..) have no concept of what a disaster is. Let goods start to flow immediately. Draw a perimeter away from the epicenter and let them go outside the perimeter. What if crowbars, bandages, antiseptics and most importantly, water, had gotten there more quickly by former Swiftboaters or Green Berets or retired nuns? The victims have been begging with their dying breaths for stuff…send it. There is nothing they can not use. We need agencies who exist for the purpose of moving goods, and they can co-exist with those who can only operate with cash. mg

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  17. Kochevnik wrote:

    @Thomas:

    “Haiti will need experienced folks, not freshfaced kids who are just getting their Peace Corps experience stamped on their CV.”

    1.) Peace Corps has not operated in Haiti since Aristide left (it didn’t meet security standards, as PC is for long-term development, not disaster relief/emergency services).
    2.) PC is not all a “bunch of freshfaced kids”: its often retired professionals and professionally-certified specialists. They do screen for needs in each country.
    3.) PC Volunteers work in country at the government’s invitation, so if they don’t want or need them they are perfectly capable of sending the whole organization home.
    4.) The US has “resumes”, not “CVs”.

    “There are facilities there that have been built, but that the Haitians just do not have the capacity to operate.”

    Ummm, OK. The hospitals that Medecins sans Frontieres operated in PAP are flattened. I think pretty much everyones facilities are down there.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  18. Charlie Mac wrote:

    Ted wrote:

    “In disaster there is the awakening of compassion in the otherwise self absorbed…not to be dismissed but nurtured by those who work the fields. Disasters such as this anywhere in the world stirs compassion. The slightest hint of wanting to help should be an open door to instruct on how best to help…it is not ‘where have they been up to now” that is in question..it is “where do they wish to be in the future” once the enlightenment of compassion in them awakes.”

    Dude, I sure wish I was at your level of enlightenment. I’m working at it. I appreciated reading your comment more than you will know.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink
  19. Clare wrote:

    If you feel the urge to help – I do – but have no useful training – I don’t – then why not help at home, say, volunteer with your local chapter of Habitat for Humanity for example? Give an outlet to that sudden urge to “just do something”… in the big picture, that has to be useful somehow!

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
  20. Leslie wrote:

    Actually, the organization soles4souls.org does want your old shoes, and they have a history of helping Haitians (and others), according to a man I spoke to at one of the participating businesses today. They sort here in the U.S. and provide tangible aid through appropriate channels. Just go about it in the right way and your shoes can be distributed in the right priority through established channels.

    Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:40 am | Permalink
  21. Alanna wrote:

    For more information about soles4souls: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20091220/NEWS01/912200372/Soles4Souls-helps-millions-while-enriching-its-leader

    It’s not a group I’d give to, but I don’t know much about it.

    Posted January 19, 2010 at 6:58 am | Permalink
  22. Mike wrote:

    My impression is that most things (clothes etc.) that get donated to the Salvation Army and so forth get sold anyway, and then the money goes to support relief efforts (or if they ever did want to ship the clothes, then they could). If I was going to guess, that would be the happiest solution for those who really want to give away old clothes and not let them go to waste.

    As Mary posted above, there is probably a demand for clothes, as there is a demand for a lot of other goods and services. Water, food, shelter, medicine/doctors, warm clothes, regular clothes – probably something in that order. The nice thing about money like Homer Simpson says is that, “money can be exchanged for goods and services.” At the moment in Haiti, as in Katrina, as in the outset of just about any relief operation anywhere, there is a zero sum game between the many things that are needed, so for every shirt pound of t-shirts that arrives in the first week, one less pound of grain comes in. And so forth. Getting it in, paying for the fuel, distributing it (which is a lot more complicated than just unloading a truck, as one commenter seems to think) all require resources that are limited at first.

    Not everyone can or would give 50$ instead of 50$ t-shirt, but I think better to give the money you have where you can, and give clothes to the Salvation Army or someone else. It probably won’t go to Haiti, but it will go to someone needy, and the proceeds will go to Haiti or wherever else they’re needed.

    Posted January 19, 2010 at 7:11 am | Permalink
  23. Steve wrote:

    Really spot-on advice. I was part of a team that went down to Mississippi to do radio and network comms for the Katrina relief effort and saw first-hand what you’re talking about. There were piles everywhere of clothing and just *stuff* that had been sitting out there in the rain and sun, rotting away. People think they’re helping and “doing what they can”, but they’re really just clogging things up and getting in the way.

    Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  24. Skye Reno wrote:

    About the shoes… I lived through Hurricane Mitch on a little Island called Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras. So much devastation. The Islanders were quite confused about the container that arrived on a ship to Utila full of high heel shoes. Yes, high heel shoes, the entire container!

    Also, the mayor stole most of the aid money. It makes it hard to help on any level when bad people interfere with their own selfish and criminal behavior.

    Posted January 19, 2010 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  25. Perla wrote:

    Great article! I couldn’t agree more. However, giving money is a bigger ask. I think most people are willing to give their old stuff without having to think too much about it. But parting with money requires them to have a lot more confidence in the aid group they are giving to. We’ve seen that in terms of giving money, many donors are having a hard time trying to decide between aid groups. So, at Greatnonprofits (www.greatnonprofits.org/haiti), we are encouraging people who know or have experience with any of these following aid groups to write a review about them. You can also check out the reviews people have already written of Red Cross vs. Partners in Health vs. Salvation Army. Hopefully, this will be useful to all of you trying to decide who to trust your money.

    Write a review at http://www.greatnonprofits.org/haiti about:
    ActionAid USA
    American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
    American Jewish World Service
    American National Red Cross
    Americares
    Beyond Borders
    Brother’s Brother
    Button Up America
    CARE
    Catholic Relief Services
    Compassion International
    Concern Worldwide
    Convoy of Hope
    CURE
    Direct Relief International
    Doctors Without Borders
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Feed My Starving Children
    Forward Edge International
    Hands and Feet Project
    Hands On Disaster Response
    International Medical Corps
    International Rescue Committee
    Lions Club International Foundation
    Lutheran World Relief
    Madre
    Medical Teams International
    Mercy Corps
    Mercy Ships
    Music Changing Lives
    Operation Blessing International
    Operation USA
    Oxfam America
    Partners in Health
    Plan USA
    Project HOPE
    Project MediShare
    Real Hope for Haiti
    Rescue Global
    Rotary International
    Salvation Army
    Samaritan’s Purse
    Save the Children
    SOS Children’s Villages
    Stop Hunger Now
    The William J. Clinton Foundation
    Touch Ministries Haiti
    Union of Reform Judaism
    US Fund for UNICEF
    Water Missions International
    World Concern
    World Vision
    Yele Haiti

    Posted January 19, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  26. Shawn wrote:

    I volunteered with the drive for items listed above that was organized by the Haitian Embassy over the past couple days and I can say that you are wrong on this point: “Separating the useful from the useless takes manpower that can be doing more important work”

    Hundreds of people were donating their manpower to pack, move, sort, store and box all the donated goods. These are people, like myself, that live in the Washington, DC area and want to donate their time in the only way they can.

    Many tons of medical supplies, food, water, clothes and other useful items were collected and prepared for shipment with about 99% volunteer labor. The only people I understand who were paid as part of this were probably the administrative staff of the Haitian Embassy and the staff of the DC government — again, people who can’t help in Haiti, so are using their time to help here in DC.

    I personally made my donation in cash, then donated my goods, then lastly donated my time.

    Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink
  27. Matt wrote:

    Don’t donate old shoes? Listen, I’m not saying don’t open your wallet first and last. But there are some good organizations out there that specialize in taking goods and processing them. The Lions Club, for instance, does wonders with old glasses, and Soles4Souls does the same with old shoes. They are doing a Haiti drive right now.

    How about, make sure you are providing a donation to an organization that is equipped to handle the donation appropriately?

    This is an irresponsibly general statement, IMHO.

    Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
  28. Matt wrote:

    Oh, and the Haitian Embassy is asking for donations of goods.

    But obviously you know better…because…because…because…

    Posted January 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink
  29. Paul C wrote:

    “But obviously you know better…because…because…because…”

    Because all the available evidence has shown that donations in kind are less useful and more wasteful than donations of money.

    Posted January 20, 2010 at 12:50 am | Permalink
  30. Amani wrote:

    I’m amazed at the number of comments insisting that clothes and shoes are good donations. Have any of you ever lived in a developing country where these shipments of clothes wind up? If you had, you’d know that these donations often end up being sold in giant bales at markets. That nice sweater you donated for some impoverished child, actually sat under a mountain of other donated goods, waiting for someone with enough money to buy it. How do I know this? I’ve bought used clothing off those bales when I lived in different parts of Africa.

    Haiti currently has more than 100 planes coming and going from its single runway every day. There are emergency medical supplies being diverted into the Dominican Republic because there is so much air traffic. Do you honestly think that your t-shirts and shoes are a priority? Trust me, they aren’t. The last thing that needs to happen right now, is for the air space and ports to be clogged up with clothing. If you watch the news, then you would notice that the relief agencies are having a terrible time just distributing food and water. Again, your used t-shit is not a priority.

    So what if the Haitian Embassy is asking for donations of goods. Is the Embassy running the relief effort? No. Is it likely that the Embassy staff that put out that call for goods know much about the logistics of relief? Doubtful.

    Do something that takes some thought and actual sacrifice. Reach into your wallet, and donate some money to your charity of choice.

    Posted January 20, 2010 at 3:18 am | Permalink
  31. Wayne Elsey wrote:

    I hear you on all points and agree on alot. But our organization is handing out new shoes as we speak on teh ground as well as gently worn. We have committed to a sustainable solution with “shoes” and have committed 1M pairs to Haiti. So do donate shoes and we will get them on their feet to help rebuild, safely. Thanks for the forum and hope you will spread the word about how Soles4Souls is making a hyge difference in peoples lives with the gift of shoes.

    Posted January 20, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink
  32. ZaZa wrote:

    Alanna, please send your link to Haitian newspapers in NY and Miami. The Haitian community is busy filling hugs containers of all kinds of second hand stuff. What can they specifically do? They will be there and engaged long after everybody else leaves. . .

    Posted January 21, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink
  33. Luce wrote:

    What do you suppose school organizations that want to help Haiti should do? Most high school students do not have a lot of money to give, but they do have the drive to serve. Does anyone have any suggestions on ways for students to donate?

    Posted January 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink
  34. june wrote:

    Amani – I agree, I see them in Indonesia and in Malaysia there are even specialized shops for used clothing from Western countries. They have to be donated because who would buy soiled uniforms from Red Robin’s, etc.??

    Posted January 28, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
  35. Vida Jaugelis wrote:

    “Donating stuff instead of money is a serious problem in emergency relief. Only the people on the ground know what’s actually necessary.”

    Thank-you. Could not agree with you more.

    “Don’t ignore rebuilding”

    This exhortation is so necessary, but the “do-gooders” who have a need to “vent their compassion” now ( @sanjayguptaCNN) are probably not here. However, contra Saundra–see, How to Evaluate Volunteer Opportunities – http://tinyurl.com/y8l5e88 – cannot the rebuilding phase be an appropriate time for organizations like Habitat for Humanity and their cadre of ad hoc volunteers to make a small yet meaningful contribution. These kind of projects utilizing both local and foreign volunteers have a reputation for buidling solidarity and bridges of understanding across socio-cultural-economic divides.

    Posted January 29, 2010 at 1:59 am | Permalink

24 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by @mikegechter's RSS, AidWatch. AidWatch said: New on the blog: Nobody wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti by guest blogger @alanna_shaikh http://bit.ly/8YIes7 [...]

  2. [...] Nobody wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti – Via AidWatch – Donating stuff instead of money is a serious problem in emergency relief. Only the people on the ground know what’s actually necessary; those of us in the rest of the world can only guess. Some things, like summer clothes and expired medicines are going to be worthless in Haiti. Other stuff, like warm clothes and bottled water may be helpful to some people in some specific ways. Separating the useful from the useless takes manpower that can be doing more important work. It’s far better to give money so that organizations can buy the things they know they need. [...]

  3. [...] also linked to Bill Easterly of Aidwatchers.com, which has posted the provocative article “Nobody wants your old shoes“: Donating stuff instead of money is a serious problem in emergency relief. Only the people [...]

  4. By Bloodstar » How NOT to Help in Haiti on January 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    [...] matter the temptation, don’t do these things: Don’t Donate Goods: [...]

  5. [...] a shout out about this ADWATCH article.. my most favorite suggestion (though they are all brilliant) is in the [...]

  6. By 1-18-10 The Day in Review | F i a t Lux on January 19, 2010 at 3:23 am

    [...] Andrew Sullivan: A slightly depressing but perhaps useful article on methods of aid that do not in fact help [...]

  7. By How to Contribute to Disaster Relief on January 20, 2010 at 9:19 am

    [...] 2. Send money, not stuff. [...]

  8. [...] i was researching this, i saw a funny entry on an aid website called ‘nobody wants your old shoes; how NOT to help in haiti’ . kinda funny, how we think if we sent over old tee shirts and tons of baby formula that is the best [...]

  9. [...] years after Biafra, things remain largely unchanged. The message from Alanna Shaikh over on Aid Watch is simple: ‘Nobody wants your old shoes … Don’t donate goods … give money … Don’t [...]

  10. [...] Bratt, for the victims of the Haiti disaster. While this may be a noble sentiment, please (please) read this post before going through with it. For once, a bake sale/coin drive/straight donation would be far [...]

  11. [...] One Needs Your Old Shoes: How Not to Help in Haiti,” was written shortly after the earthquake by Alanna Shaikh, an international relief and development expert working in Tajikistan. It suggested giving money, [...]

  12. By HR Carnival for Haiti: Part 1 « spacedcowgirl on January 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    [...] case for other groups and then commenters argue back and forth about whether they are legit (e.g. here, here, and here). The recommendations are fragmented, and it is hard to see a consensus except for [...]

  13. [...] to donate to after the Haiti earthquake (Saundra Schimmelpfennig, Good Intentions Are Not Enough); Nobody wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti (Alaina Shaikh, AidWatch) and our post yesterday, Haiti: “Cutting Through the Noise” – [...]

  14. [...] Nobody wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti Some straightforward things NOT to do if you want to help: don’t donate goods (give cash), don’t go down to Haiti to ‘help’ (unless you’re a medical professional) and don’t forget about the need for aid once Haiti drops from the front pages. [...]

  15. By Haiti Earthquake Relief « Will Townes on January 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    [...] for immediate relief (according to the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof). Furthermore, cash makes a bigger impact than donations of physical goods or volunteering in a crisis of this kind. [...]

  16. [...] One Needs Your Old Shoes: How Not to Help in Haiti,” was written shortly after the earthquake by Alanna Shaikh, an international relief and development expert working in Tajikistan. It suggested giving money, [...]

  17. By The Start of Something New « on January 22, 2010 at 12:49 am

    [...]  The start is intimidating… what could I say that could be even close to legitimacy of Ms. Shaikh.… especially because when referencing her post I thought, reflected and even spoke out loud [...]

  18. [...] Lancet is Off-Base About Aid Agencies – at UN Dispatch Nobody Wants Your Old Shoes – How Not to Help Haiti – at Aid Watch Teaching Americans What Haiti Needs – The New York Times (I didn’t write that [...]

  19. [...] wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti http://aidwatchers.com/2010/01/nobody-wants-your-old-shoes-how-not-to-help-in-haiti/ [...]

  20. By Haiti Earthquake Issues- A Reader « WanderLust on January 24, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    [...] On what to do to help the people of Haiti, what not to do, and why, check out these punchy points from J., and also some thoughtful analysis from Saundra Schimmelpfennig in her string of posts about choosing a charity to give to, why admin costs should not be the deciding factor in which agency you donate to, and why Haiti doesn’t need well-meaning volunteers. Aid worker and blogger Alannah Shaikh has also been getting some great coverage on her article explaining what Haiti does not need right now. [...]

  21. By Miscellaneous links « Amol Kapila on January 24, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    [...] Miscellaneous links 1.  Bill Easterly:   Nobody wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti [...]

  22. By infomancer» Donate to Haiti on January 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    [...] Here’s a great post on what not to do. [...]

  23. By What IS it with the SHOES? « Tales From the Hood on January 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    [...] the shoes-for-Haiti thing? I mean, seriously. Besides these idiots, is there anyone not reading Alanna and Saundra? Apparently the word’s not getting [...]

  24. [...] days after the temblor in Hispaniola, an experienced aid worker named Alanna Shaikh guest-blogged at Aid Watch under the title, “Nobody wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti”: [...]

  • About Aid Watch

    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

    "Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking." - H.L. Mencken

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