How Rajiv Shah can buck the system: 5 tips from the frontlines of conflict and development February 21, 2011
With fragile states increasingly constituting first-tier US foreign policy priorities and global development funding being targeted by budget hawks in Congress, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah is making the case for his agency's relevance in the 21st century. Quoting Defense Secretary Gates' observation that "development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers", Administrator Shah argued that USAID's work serves to stabilize countries in crisis while also helping to prevent conflict from arising in the first place.
Haiti: How tech is helping the Haiti recovery February 1, 2011
Jokebed Auguste, a 31-year-old single mother from Mirebalais, in Haiti's Central Plateau, has come to see her cell phone in a whole new light. A team leader in one of the cash-for-work programs run by the international relief agency Mercy Corps -- she oversaw 15 colleagues in an initiative to clean up roads and canals -- Auguste was among the first Haitians to begin receiving payments for the project directly through her phone. The convenience of the T-Cash system means she doesn't have to stand in line for hours at the bank, but even more important is the security.
Haiti: In Haiti, cell phones serve as debit cards January 30, 2011
The past year in Haiti has been marked by the slow pace of the earthquake recovery. But the poorest nation in the hemisphere is moving quickly on something else — setting up "mobile money" networks to allow cell phones to serve as debit cards. The systems have the potential to allow Haitians to receive remittances from abroad, send cash to relatives across town or across the country, buy groceries and even pay for a bus ride all with a few taps on their cell phones.
Preparing for disasters January 27, 2011
Over the last year it's been hard to miss the images of disaster-struck families on TV and in the papers, whether from the earthquake in Haiti or the floods in Pakistan. We all want to help where we can, but in the wake of the recession, rather than just reacting to disasters shouldn't we take a tip from the Scouts and help these communities "be prepared" in the first place?
Haiti: Haiti survivors 1 year later January 16, 2011
In the year since a devastating earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, reconstruction has been a slow and frustrating process. Bill Whitaker speaks to Lisa Hoashi of Mercy Corps and reports on the strength of Haiti's survivors.
Haiti: Can cell phones rescue Haiti? January 12, 2011
When I visited Haiti in November, I saw one of the most effective weapons in the fight against poverty -- an intervention that may well be the key to Haiti's long-term recovery. It wasn't a doctor combating cholera, a new shelter for the homeless, or food being distributed to hungry families. It was a cell phone.
Haiti: Cell phones key to commerce in post-quake Haiti January 11, 2011
Two of Haiti’s biggest cell phone companies are working with aid groups to help cash-strapped Haitians purchase goods using ‘mobile money’. Donated funds are transferred to residents’ cell phones and then traded in at local shops for food. Associated Press TV speaks to Raymond Chevalier of Mercy Corps, on the aid agency's 'mobile wallet' initiative.
Haiti: Mobile banking: a new way of doing business in Haiti December 27, 2010
SAINT-MARC, Haiti — Adeline Alexandre does a steady business selling Haitian staples at Fifi Boutique, a little hillside shop off a dirt street with potholes the size of bathtubs. Sardine cans, buckets of rice, jars of cooking oil and stacks of empty Coca-Cola bottles fill her shelves — along with a glaring reminder that she, like Haiti, remains in the financial dark ages.
Workplace hurdles remain for women December 27, 2010
CNN talks to Cassandra Nelson of Mercy Corps about the challenges of women working outside the home in developing countries.
Haiti: Mercy Corps mobile wallet innovation brings purchasing power to Haitians' cell phones December 26, 2010
BLOCKHAUSS, Haiti -- As a rule, there is nothing sexy about humanitarian food aid. String the letters USAID in front of a program that distributes beans and rice to the needy after a natural disaster, and you have a formula for lifesaving do-goodery that rings, well, a little dull. Enter Mercy Corps; 16-year-old Etienne Emanie, palming a green cell phone; and Dorcent Larousse, the 37-year-old owner of Dieu Tout Puissant market, the biggest store around, where business is suddenly brisk in this destitute outpost high in the hills above the Bay of Saint-Marc.