Dr. Mark Schuller (CUNY) in collaboration with Haitian scholars will undertake research on NGOs and the "civic infrastructure" that has arisen to assist displaced peoples in the aftermath of the recent earthquake that rendered one in six Haitians homeless. The international community responded with a generous outpouring of aid. Over $1.3 billion was contributed by private U.S. citizens to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within six months. Despite this initial funding, only a fraction of an additional $5.3 billion pledged for assistance has been received. Furthermore, the situation remains tenuous for the remaining internally displaced people (IDP) a year and a half following the earthquake. The international collaborative team will conduct research on the impact of official development aid on civic organization and functioning within Haiti's remaining IDP camps. The research will focus primarily on issues associated with IDP inclusion and civil society participation in their relationships with NGOs within these processes. The research will be based on a "civic infrastructure" frame, specifically asking: *How do camp committees function, make decisions, involve resident populations, and communicate with constituent groups? *How are vulnerable populations and their concerns represented by official committees? *How is "participation" understood by various stakeholders, and how does it shape action? *How do the committees intersect with pre-existing civic organization, such as kinship ties,neighborhood groups, and faith-based networks? *How do NGO policies and approaches to giving aid impact camp committees and relationships with IDPs? A mixed methods approach involving observation and individual and focus group interviews will be employed on a purposive sample of eight IDP camps, comparing camps with an NGO management agency with those without as well as looking at gender parity. Proposed research involves an inter-university collaboration blending ethnography's core strength with a comparative frame. The significance of the research lies in its attention to the conditions of the establishment of institutions of civic governance and civil society after catastrophic destruction. The research is co-funded by NSF Office of International Science and Engineering/Americas who provided funding for faculty and student travel to Haiti.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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Jeffrey Mantz
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CUNY York College
United States
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