Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the second most unequal country in the world. Despite large aid flows pouring into Haiti, results on the ground in terms of poverty alleviation, capacity building and social stabilization remain weak. A key challenge of sustainable development rests on transitioning aid from temporary relief provided by outside actors to meaningful government service delivery that can eliminate extreme poverty and put Haiti on the path toward equitable development.
Best positioned to provide services and foment development tailored to the diverse needs felt by the poor across the country are Haiti’s communes (local-level governments). The Haitian American Alliance (HAA) tasked the SIPA team with designing a conditional grants program in Haiti that would improve local level governance and strengthen the link between central and local governments for commune development finance. The team's final report offers a diagnosis of the range development needs and the lack of finance and support for communes in Haiti. It justifies the creation of a conditional grants program as an appropriate tool, not only to meet the aforementioned needs, but also to enable international donors to support greater government accountability for development. The bulk of the report is then dedicated to practical advice on how to design the conditional grants program. It outlines a development framework, management structure, funding schemes, training and capacity building programming, monitoring and evaluation and provides an initial budget for the pilot phase to launch the program. With a successful pilot, the program could be scaled nationwide and the report provides a long-term vision to that end.