News from the media

Money alone not solution to world’s poor
Jeff Hodson – Metro Vancouver – May 21, 2010

The best way to help Haiti is to build capacity and lessen the island nation’s dependence on foreign aid, former U.S. president Bill Clinton told a business group in Vancouver Thursday.

“In Haiti, if we spend this $9 billion that the world has promised them, and we do not increase their capacity not to need that anymore, we will have failed,” said Clinton during a half-hour, wide-ranging speech titled Embracing Our Common Humanity at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts.

Clinton, the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, has been co-ordinating aid fundraising for the island nation in the aftermath of January’s earthquake.

“No matter how many people we put in school, how many sick kids we see in health clinics … within a matter of years it will be gone again unless we can build the capacity for them to live their own lives and not need us anymore. Except as partners.”

In his speech, Clinton, the 43rd president of the United States, touched on the economic crisis in Greece, climate change, even the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler.

“By the way, you did a fabulous job and I hate to say it, but you deserved to win the gold.”

His main message, however, was about the world economic crisis and problems facing poor and rich countries.

In Haiti before the earthquake, three quarters of the population lived on less than $2 a day, 85 per cent of people did not have electricity in their homes and half of young people did not go to school.

More help for Haiti
Malcolm Parry – Vancouver Sun – March 17, 2011

Vancouver Regional Construction Association president Keith Sashaw and Builders Without Borders president Neil Griggs have a school-building project, too. It’s to replace one razed by that other earthquake, the one that killed perhaps 360,000 Haitians last year.

At the Vancouver Club recently, the two detailed their $500,000 plan to use Canadian codes when rebuild Port of Prince’s Lakay trade school that hitherto enrolled 1,000 potential carpenters, electricians and others whose skills are vital for Haiti’s rehabilitation schemes. The technology will involve reinforced concrete-block with far greater seismic resistance than the standard kind common in Haiti. Both stressed that contributions to the project will go directly to construction materials and tools and not be diluted by third-part distribution.

Some $250,000 for the school had been raised by February, said former community planner Griggs, who founded the Griggs Project Management firm after years of involvement in False Creek, Whistler Village, the Oakalla prison-site rezoning and numerous transpacific developments. He said BWB ( “looks for experienced people to go overseas, give design advice and manage those projects.”

Sashaw, who headed the Canadian Homebuilders Association of B.C. for 14 years, called Griggs “brilliant for connecting worldwide projects that need help to people with the construction experience to provide it.”