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Covenant's Chalmers Center Hosts "Haiti: Helping Without Hurting" Webinars

The authors of a paradigm-shifting book on the causes of and solutions to the problem of poverty will host a special three-part webinar designed to help churches, relief agencies, and individuals respond to the crisis in Haiti by helping the Haitian people to take ownership of the rebuilding process.


Scheduled for February 17, February 24, and March 3, from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST, these hour-long webinars will be facilitated by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, professors at Covenant College and members of Covenant's Chalmers Center for Economic Development. Corbett and Fikkert's book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, is in its fifth printing since it was published in July 2009.


It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people died in the January 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti. A massive wave of aid has been directed at survivors, but Corbett and Fikkert say it must be the right kind of aid to make a difference.


"It is wonderful to see individuals awakening to the needs of the poor and wanting to help Haiti. Unfortunately, good intentions are not always enough," they explain. 


The authors add that good-hearted people sometimes have faulty assumptions about the causes of poverty and, because of this, they often do not realize that their efforts to help the poor can actually do more harm to the poor than good.


"When it comes to helping the poor, the natural reaction is to do for them rather than empowering them to do it for themselves," Corbett and Fikkert say. "In the past, relief beneficiaries were often seen as passive patients and victims who are totally dependent on external experts for help. The best relief programs engage and build upon the local knowledge, labor, networks, and all types of productive resources from the first day. Furthermore, the Haiti work will quickly shift to rehabilitation and development work, which demands even less 'doing for' the Haitian people."


Click here to register for the webinars. There is no charge to participate.