Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Community Development and Applied Economics

First Advisor

Joshua Farley


The presence of NGOs and development agencies is often considered an apolitical phenomenon, and that the very presence of NGOs within a country is a symbol of a global humanity in action; in short, NGOs equal charity which equals good work. Unfortunately, the reality is often much more complicated as NGOs can also be found to be self-serving, anti-democratic and strictly in pursuit of their next funding source. In this thesis I advance the central hypothesis that the international community’s continued pursuit of an NGO-led neoliberal economic development model has systematically failed to contribute to the sustainable development of Haiti because they pursue the wrongs means of achieving poverty alleviation goals.

Throughout its history, Haiti has continuously been caught between the aspirations of its people and the legacy of foreign interventions. The recent trend of implementing neoliberal development goals and strategies, supported and executed by NGOs, has focused on the promotion of economic growth as a means to eradicate poverty. However, this strategy is an ineffective method at producing positive changes in well-being, the economy, or the environment (Edmonds, 2010; Shamsie, 2012). I argue that the relationship between NGOs and their donors continuously undermines the Haitian’s right to self-sufficiency that would lead to self-determination and enable the Haitian people to control their own destiny.

A new approach for addressing extreme poverty in Haiti must be rooted in a different set of values and beliefs; a different outlook that puts morality, humanity, equality and the environment at the forefront. A new development path that is not based on a growth economy but focused on human well-being and environmental conservation. NGOs will need to enact increasingly participatory and transparent practices that allows for a development path that can regulated and determined by the Haitians themselves.



Number of Pages

72 p.