October 27, 2016 | Matt Kucinski


In 2010, an earthquake hit Haiti. An estimated three million people were affected by the natural disaster with death toll estimates upwards of 100,000.

In early October, Hurricane Matthew wreaked devastation on Haiti. Six years earlier an earthquake rocked the same country. In both instances, millions of dollars of aid poured in—so much so that Haitian businesses couldn't compete.

Daniel Jean-Louis, entrepreneur and president of Bridge Capital S.A. international investment firm and Jacqueline Klamer, a Calvin alum and regional director of Partners Worldwide for Southeast Asia, were on the ground in Haiti in 2010 and observed how aid given with good intentions was hurting the country, its economy, and local employment more than it was helping.

The two took their first-hand observations and years of research and authored a book that confronts the inadequacies of current foreign aid strategies. Highlighting in-depth case studies, they offer clear examples of how non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses can work together more effectively to reach their shared goal—a positive future for Haiti and other developing countries.

On Wednesday, November 9, Jean-Louis, one of the co-authors of “From Aid to Trade. How Aid Organizations, Businesses, and Governments Can Work Together: Lessons Learned From Haiti,” will address the issues associated with current foreign aid models and offer practical, achievable solutions to help Haiti—and other developing countries—grow more viable economies in the aftermath of natural disasters. 

“In the context of Haiti, Jean-Louis and Klamer capture the tragic historical events and the rickety development efforts thereafter. Yet, they also prescribe a constructive path forward, where aid organizations and businesses can work together to transform developing nations and their economies,” wrote Mats Tunehag, chair of Business as Mission Global Think Tank, in his review of the book. “This well-written and most helpful book should be a mandatory reading for NGO leaders, donors and businesspeople who are serious about serving people and building nations.”

The talk, which is at 3:30 p.m. in the Commons Lecture Hall at Calvin College and is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Calvin’s business and economics departments and the college’s international development studies program.

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