Innovative Aid to Haiti

by Chris Borgen

The current issue of Foreign Affairs has an article called A Few Dollars at a Time: How to Tap Consumers for Development, which describes the “innovative financing” movement in which private companies find ways for their customers to contribute to international development. This morning, I came across an example that I guess you could call “innovative aid” as it isn’t so much development financing but rather disaster relief to Haiti.

Zynga is a software company that makes (wildly successful, as I understand) games playable via Facebook and MySpace. They have started a Haiti Relief Fund in which the Zynga gaming community can contribute to disaster relief by purchasing “virtual goods” within their games. They explain on their foundation’s website:

Three of our top games are participating in a special relief campaign to help earthquake survivors in Haiti. Zynga is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from non-withering white corn within FarmVille [one of their games], a Haitian drum on Mafia Wars, and a special chip package in Zynga Poker to support emergency aid in Haiti through the Zynga Haiti Relief Fund. Users can also support the fund by donating directly through Zynga.org…

All contributions will benefit the World Food Programme (WFP), which has set up an emergency response team to distribute food and other relief to thousands in Haiti affected by the devastating earthquake.

Elsewhere, they write:

“The devastation in Haiti is unimaginable, and anything we or our users can do is tiny compared to the utter loss for this nation,” said Mark Pincus, Zynga’s founder and CEO. “In our small way, I hope we can enable our users to help and touch Haiti in a meaningful way where every dollar raised can make a difference.”

Zynga and socially-conscious companies like it should be applauded for dreaming up new ways to respond to perennial problems. I should note that Zynga’s aid to Haiti began before the earthquake; they had already linked the sale of virtual seeds in their FarmVille game to development aid for school construction in Haiti. Sales of that one virtual item, in one game, before Haiti was making headlines, raised over a million dollars. A few dollars at a time can add up to a lot of money.

But, given the magnitude of the disaster that has befallen Haiti, the unfortunate truth is that even a million dollars is a drop in the bucket. So, I hope other companies follow Zynga’s lead and nudge more people (who might not have done so otherwise) into contributing to the relief effort.

http://opiniojuris.org/2010/01/15/innovative-aid-to-haiti/

7 Responses

  1. Response…

  2. A million dollars is indeed a drop in the bucket.  I saw an interview with a Red Cross administrator on CBS today who said this particular disaster will be more expensive because of the sheer extent of the destruction.  Haitians don’t have homeowners insurance like Katrina victims did.  Its going to be a massive rebuilding project – and until rebuilding can begin we are literally going to see some of the largest tent cities in modern history being erected on the outskirts of Port au Prince.

  3. If anyone has a way to get this information to people who can do something about it, please pass it on, this is a message my sister sent to Haitian Earthquake at State.  Thanks, Ben

    To whom it may concern,

    I have just spoken with my cousins, Luce Qualo (92), and her sister Madeleine Bruce (82) in Haiti. Luce is an American citizen.  Madeleine is a Haitian citizen.  They both travelled from New York City to Haiti on December 5, 2009 and had planned to leave on February 4, 2010. They both have return tickets.  Luce has lived in New York City for decades.  Her sister, Madeleine, has a son, Ronald Bruce, who lives on Long Island.

    I don’t have either one’s date of birth at the moment nor do I have their passport information.  Will get this.

    They are sleeping in the yard outside in Delmas 47 section of Port au Prince.  The address is 16 Rue Stella. It’s at the corner of 47 and Rue Stella.  The phone number that they have access to is:  011-509-3453-5467.  They are only near that phone between 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Otherwise, they return to the yard in which they sleep next door at 6:30 p.m.

    Both of them have high blood pressure and are taking pills.  Their supply of pills is dwindling. They have minimal food as they are eating the food stock from Madeleine’s house.  They have water. Madeleine has 3 servants with her as well.

    We are hoping that all of them will be able to be evacuated quickly.

  4. If anyone has a way to get this information to people who can do something about it, please pass it on, this is a message my sister sent to Haitian Earthquake at State.  Thanks, Ben

    To whom it may concern,
    I have just spoken with my cousins, Luce Qualo (92), and her sister Madeleine Bruce (82) in Haiti. Luce is an American citizen.  Madeleine is a Haitian citizen.  They both travelled from New York City to Haiti on December 5, 2009 and had planned to leave on February 4, 2010. They both have return tickets.  Luce has lived in New York City for decades.  Her sister, Madeleine, has a son, Ronald Bruce, who lives on Long Island.
    I don’t have either one’s date of birth at the moment nor do I have their passport information.  Will get this.
    They are sleeping in the yard outside in Delmas 47 section of Port au Prince.  The address is 16 Rue Stella. It’s at the corner of 47 and Rue Stella.  The phone number that they have access to is:  011-509-3453-5467.  They are only near that phone between 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Otherwise, they return to the yard in which they sleep next door at 6:30 p.m.
    Both of them have high blood pressure and are taking pills.  Their supply of pills is dwindling. They have minimal food as they are eating the food stock from Madeleine’s house.  They have water. Madeleine has 3 servants with her as well.
    We are hoping that all of them will be able to be evacuated quickly.

    1.16.2010
    at 9:53 pm EST Benjamin Davis

     
    Exchanges between my sister and the State department since yesterday about our two elderly family members trapped in Haiti.  If you know anyone who can help greatly appreciated.
     
    Reading the exchanges from the beginning I think is a useful exercise as a case study in a citizen getting their sovereign to assert diplomatic protection for a US citizen abroad and a legal permanent resident. And some of the frustrations (note phone number problems).
     
    Best,
    Ben
    From: Dorothy Davis[javascript:DeCryptX(‘ebwjtkptfAbpm/dpn’)]
    Sent: Sun 1/17/2010 11:27 AM
    To: Haiti-Earthquake [at] state [dot] gov; OshaughnessyKA [at] state [dot] gov
    Cc: ; Davis, Ben; ; ; ; 
    Subject: Re: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti…need transportation to airport from Delmas..phone numbers
    Have just tried all of these numbers.  As for the last two numbers (509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672), the operator says they “cannot be reached as dialed.  Please check the number.)  I have repeatedly dialed these numbers and gotten the same operator response.  Am letting you know in case these are incorrect numbers.
     
    All the best,
    Dorothy Davis
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Haiti Earthquake <Haiti-Earthquake [at] state [dot] gov>
    To: Dorothy Davis; Oshaughnessy, Kathleen A <OshaughnessyKA [at] state [dot] gov>
    Cc: ;; ; 
    Sent: Sun, Jan 17, 2010 10:46 am
    Subject: RE: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti…need transportation to airport from Delmas..phone numbers
    Thank you for your message.  The Haiti Earthquake Crisis Task Force has added this information to our database.  We will share your information with the American Embassy in Haiti.  American citizens in Haiti who want to evacuate but who cannot reach the Airport should call the Embassy to advise them of their location and situation:
    509-2229-8942, 509-2229-8089, 509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672
     
    Sincerely,
    Haiti Earthquake Task Force
     
     
     
    SBU-Privacy Act
    This email is UNCLASSIFIED.
     
    From: Dorothy Davis
    Sent: Sunday, January 17, 2010 9:39 AM
    To: Oshaughnessy, Kathleen A; Haiti Earthquake
    Cc: 
    Subject: Re: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti…need transportation to airport from Delmas..phone numbers
     
    Dear Ms. O’Shaughnessy and the Haiti Earthquake Task Force,
     
    I meant to give you their cell numbers in Haiti.  I was told today by our English speaking cousin, Luce Qualo, that the first number to try is:  [redacted]. The second number to try is [redacted].  Both of these numbers belong to neighbors.  However, our cousins are only in the vicinity of these two numbers between 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.. After 6:30 p.m., they go back to the yard in which they sleep at night.
     
    Thank you for your assistance.
     
    All the best,
    Dorothy Davis
     
    —–Original Message—–
    From: davisjose [at] aol [dot] com
    To: OshaughnessyKA [at] state [dot] gov; haiti-earthquake [at] state [dot] gov
    Cc: 
    Sent: Sun, Jan 17, 2010 10:34 am
    Subject: Re: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti…need transportation to airport from Delmas
    Dear Ms. O’Shaughnessy and the Haiti Earthquake Task Force,
     
    Thank you for your response of yesterday.  I have spoken with my two elderly cousins today.  Luce Quallo is a U.S. citizen.  Her sister, Madeleine, is a legal permanent resident of the United States. So, as you have said, they can travel together back to New York city on their return tickets.  The problem is that they do not have any ground transportation to take them from the Delmas section to the airport.  I have called the two numbers for the U.S. Embassy that you have given me but only the phone only rings on both.  I realize that they are under tremendous pressure.  However, I am wondering if you can reach them to get someone to get my two cousins from 16 Rue Stella at the corner of 47th in Delmas.  If so, please e-mail me back with the information so that I can inform them of the details.
     
    As an additional note, we have one family member named Sophia Quallo who works for the U.S. Embassy in Canada and has (I believe) just arrived in Port-au-Prince as of yesterday or today to assist in evacuating U.S. citizens.  I do not have contact information for her in Haiti but am sure she can be reached through the U.S. Embassy there. 
     
    As for the employees of the household that I mentioned before, there are four people:  one is the 14 year old nephew of the housekeeper and the other is the 19 year old daughter of the cook.  They are Haitian citizens.  Do you know who at the UN task force in Haiti should I refer them to?  Just asking.
     
    Again, my cell number is [redacted].
     
    Please advise urgently.
     
    All the best,
    Dorothy
     
     
     
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Oshaughnessy, Kathleen A <OshaughnessyKA [at] state [dot] gov>
    To: Dorothy Davis
    Sent: Sat, Jan 16, 2010 5:59 pm
    Subject: RE: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti
    Dear Ms. Davis:
     
    As a follow up, if Madeleine Bruce is a legal permanent resident of the United States, she may accompany her U.S. citizen sister Luce Qualo to the International Airport at Port-au-Prince.  Again, evacuation flights have begun to depart the airport.
     
    If Madeleine cannot accompany her sister and she is a legal permanent resident, she may contact the U.S. Embassy in Haiti for further instructions.  The embassy numbers are 509-2229-8942 or 509-2229-8089.
     
    Thank you for your assistance.
     
    The Haitian Earthquake Task Force
     
    From: Haiti Earthquake
    Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 4:23 PM
    To: Dorothy Davis
    Subject: RE: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti
     
    Dear Ms. Davis:
     
    Thank you for the information about your cousins. We will provide information about U.S. citizens to the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince as quickly as possible.
     
    Evacuation flights have begun to depart the International Airport at Port-au-Prince.  US citizens wishing to depart Haiti should make their way to the airport during early daylight hours in as safe as manner as possible.  They are encouraged to carry their passports and identification if available.  They should carry as much food, water and supplies, including medication, as they can carry, as facilities at the airport are limited to nonexistent.
     
    The U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince has set up a task force and is working to identify U.S. citizens in Haiti who need urgent assistance and to identify sources of emergency help.
     
    Since Madeleine Bruce is a Haitian citizen, she will need to speak with the Government of Haiti officials at the airport regarding this matter.  You may also contact the Haitian Embassy in Washington, D.C. at (202) 332-4090 or the Haitian Consulate in Miami at (305) 859-2003.
     
    If you obtain any additional information, please forward it to this email address.
     
    Thank you again for your assistance.
     
    The Haiti Earthquake Task Force
     
     
    From: Dorothy Davis
    Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 2:27 PM
    To: Haiti Earthquake
    Cc: 
    Subject: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti
     
    To whom it may concern,
     
    I have just spoken with my cousins, Luce Qualo (92), and her sister Madeleine Bruce (82) in Haiti. Luce is an American citizen.  Madeleine is a Haitian citizen.  They both travelled from New York City to Haiti on December 5, 2009 and had planned to leave on February 4, 2010. They both have return tickets.  Luce has lived in New York City for decades.  Her sister, Madeleine, has a son, Ronald Bruce, who lives on Long Island.
     
    I don’t have either one’s date of birth at the moment nor do I have their passport information.  Will get this.
     
    They are sleeping in the yard outside in Delmas 47 section of Port au Prince.  The address is 16 Rue Stella. It’s at the corner of 47 and Rue Stella.  The phone number that they have access to is:  [redacted].  They are only near that phone between 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Otherwise, they return to the yard in which they sleep next door at 6:30 p.m.
     
    Both of them have high blood pressure and are taking pills.  Their supply of pills is dwindling. They have minimal food as they are eating the food stock from Madeleine’s house.  They have water. Madeleine has 3 servants with her as well.
     
    We are hoping that all of them will be able to be evacuated quickly.
     
    I work with the United Nations in New York City and can assist in any way through that route as well; especially in the instance of Madeleine and the three servants.  My cell number is [redacted].  I am in touch with their respective families.
     
    We have been informed that another cousin of ours, Sophia Qualo, works at the U.S. Embassy in Montreal, Canada and is enroute to Haiti at this time to work with the U.S. Embassy in Haiti to help evacuate U.S. citizens.
     
    Anxiously,
     
    Dorothy Davis

  5. Exchanges between my sister and the State department since yesterday about our two elderly family members trapped in Haiti.  If you know anyone who can help greatly appreciated.
     
    Reading the exchanges from the beginning I think is a useful exercise as a case study in a citizen getting their sovereign to assert diplomatic protection for a US citizen abroad and a legal permanent resident. And some of the frustrations (note phone number problems).
     
    Best,
    Ben
    From: Dorothy Davis[javascript:DeCryptX(‘ebwjtkptfAbpm/dpn’)]
    Sent: Sun 1/17/2010 11:27 AM
    To: Haiti-Earthquake [at] state [dot] gov
    Cc: ; Davis, Ben; ; ; ; 
    Subject: Re: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti…need transportation to airport from Delmas..phone numbers
    Have just tried all of these numbers.  As for the last two numbers (509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672), the operator says they “cannot be reached as dialed.  Please check the number.)  I have repeatedly dialed these numbers and gotten the same operator response.  Am letting you know in case these are incorrect numbers.
     
    All the best,
    Dorothy Davis
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Haiti Earthquake <Haiti-Earthquake [at] state [dot] gov>
    To: Dorothy Davis; Oshaughnessy, Kathleen A <OshaughnessyKA [at] state [dot] gov>
    Cc: ;; ; 
    Sent: Sun, Jan 17, 2010 10:46 am
    Subject: RE: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti…need transportation to airport from Delmas..phone numbers
    Thank you for your message.  The Haiti Earthquake Crisis Task Force has added this information to our database.  We will share your information with the American Embassy in Haiti.  American citizens in Haiti who want to evacuate but who cannot reach the Airport should call the Embassy to advise them of their location and situation:
    509-2229-8942, 509-2229-8089, 509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672
     
    Sincerely,
    Haiti Earthquake Task Force
     
     
     
    SBU-Privacy Act
    This email is UNCLASSIFIED.
     
    From: Dorothy Davis
    Sent: Sunday, January 17, 2010 9:39 AM
    To: Oshaughnessy, Kathleen A; Haiti Earthquake
    Cc: 
    Subject: Re: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti…need transportation to airport from Delmas..phone numbers
     
    Dear Ms. O’Shaughnessy and the Haiti Earthquake Task Force,
     
    I meant to give you their cell numbers in Haiti.  I was told today by our English speaking cousin, Luce Qualo, that the first number to try is:  [redacted]. The second number to try is [redacted].  Both of these numbers belong to neighbors.  However, our cousins are only in the vicinity of these two numbers between 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.. After 6:30 p.m., they go back to the yard in which they sleep at night.
     
    Thank you for your assistance.
     
    All the best,
    Dorothy Davis
     
    —–Original Message—–
    From:Dorothy Davis
    To: ; haiti-earthquake [at] state [dot] gov
    Cc: 
    Sent: Sun, Jan 17, 2010 10:34 am
    Subject: Re: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti…need transportation to airport from Delmas
    Dear Ms. O’Shaughnessy and the Haiti Earthquake Task Force,
     
    Thank you for your response of yesterday.  I have spoken with my two elderly cousins today.  Luce Quallo is a U.S. citizen.  Her sister, Madeleine, is a legal permanent resident of the United States. So, as you have said, they can travel together back to New York city on their return tickets.  The problem is that they do not have any ground transportation to take them from the Delmas section to the airport.  I have called the two numbers for the U.S. Embassy that you have given me but only the phone only rings on both.  I realize that they are under tremendous pressure.  However, I am wondering if you can reach them to get someone to get my two cousins from 16 Rue Stella at the corner of 47th in Delmas.  If so, please e-mail me back with the information so that I can inform them of the details.
     
    As an additional note, we have one family member named Sophia Quallo who works for the U.S. Embassy in Canada and has (I believe) just arrived in Port-au-Prince as of yesterday or today to assist in evacuating U.S. citizens.  I do not have contact information for her in Haiti but am sure she can be reached through the U.S. Embassy there. 
     
    As for the employees of the household that I mentioned before, there are four people:  one is the 14 year old nephew of the housekeeper and the other is the 19 year old daughter of the cook.  They are Haitian citizens.  Do you know who at the UN task force in Haiti should I refer them to?  Just asking.
     
    Again, my cell number is [redacted].
     
    Please advise urgently.
     
    All the best,
    Dorothy
     
     
     
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Oshaughnessy, Kathleen A
    To: Dorothy Davis
    Sent: Sat, Jan 16, 2010 5:59 pm
    Subject: RE: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti
    Dear Ms. Davis:
     
    As a follow up, if Madeleine Bruce is a legal permanent resident of the United States, she may accompany her U.S. citizen sister Luce Qualo to the International Airport at Port-au-Prince.  Again, evacuation flights have begun to depart the airport.
     
    If Madeleine cannot accompany her sister and she is a legal permanent resident, she may contact the U.S. Embassy in Haiti for further instructions.  The embassy numbers are 509-2229-8942 or 509-2229-8089.
     
    Thank you for your assistance.
     
    The Haitian Earthquake Task Force
     
    From: Haiti Earthquake
    Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 4:23 PM
    To: Dorothy Davis
    Subject: RE: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti
     
    Dear Ms. Davis:
     
    Thank you for the information about your cousins. We will provide information about U.S. citizens to the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince as quickly as possible.
     
    Evacuation flights have begun to depart the International Airport at Port-au-Prince.  US citizens wishing to depart Haiti should make their way to the airport during early daylight hours in as safe as manner as possible.  They are encouraged to carry their passports and identification if available.  They should carry as much food, water and supplies, including medication, as they can carry, as facilities at the airport are limited to nonexistent.
     
    The U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince has set up a task force and is working to identify U.S. citizens in Haiti who need urgent assistance and to identify sources of emergency help.
     
    Since Madeleine Bruce is a Haitian citizen, she will need to speak with the Government of Haiti officials at the airport regarding this matter.  You may also contact the Haitian Embassy in Washington, D.C. at (202) 332-4090 or the Haitian Consulate in Miami at (305) 859-2003.
     
    If you obtain any additional information, please forward it to this email address.
     
    Thank you again for your assistance.
     
    The Haiti Earthquake Task Force
     
     
    From: Dorothy Davis
    Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 2:27 PM
    To: Haiti Earthquake
    Cc: 
    Subject: Luce Qualo (92) and Madeleine Bruce (82): two sisters in Haiti
     
    To whom it may concern,
     
    I have just spoken with my cousins, Luce Qualo (92), and her sister Madeleine Bruce (82) in Haiti. Luce is an American citizen.  Madeleine is a Haitian citizen.  They both travelled from New York City to Haiti on December 5, 2009 and had planned to leave on February 4, 2010. They both have return tickets.  Luce has lived in New York City for decades.  Her sister, Madeleine, has a son, Ronald Bruce, who lives on Long Island.
     
    I don’t have either one’s date of birth at the moment nor do I have their passport information.  Will get this.
     
    They are sleeping in the yard outside in Delmas 47 section of Port au Prince.  The address is 16 Rue Stella. It’s at the corner of 47 and Rue Stella.  The phone number that they have access to is:  [redacted].  They are only near that phone between 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Otherwise, they return to the yard in which they sleep next door at 6:30 p.m.
     
    Both of them have high blood pressure and are taking pills.  Their supply of pills is dwindling. They have minimal food as they are eating the food stock from Madeleine’s house.  They have water. Madeleine has 3 servants with her as well.
     
    We are hoping that all of them will be able to be evacuated quickly.
     
    I work with the United Nations in New York City and can assist in any way through that route as well; especially in the instance of Madeleine and the three servants.  My cell number is [redacted].  I am in touch with their respective families.
     
    We have been informed that another cousin of ours, Sophia Qualo, works at the U.S. Embassy in Montreal, Canada and is enroute to Haiti at this time to work with the U.S. Embassy in Haiti to help evacuate U.S. citizens.
     
    Anxiously,
     
    Dorothy Davis

  6. An update on family in Haiti.
    Best,
    Ben
     

    From: Dorothy Davis
    Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:41 AM
    To: Haiti-Earthquake [at] state [dot] gov
    Cc:
    Subject: Re: Luce Qualo (92) evacuated; Madeleine Bruce (82) not able to leave due to age of Luce Qualo: two sisters in Haiti

     

    Dear Haiti Earthquake Task Force,

     

    I have just heard from the neighbor across the street from where they were staying that Luce Qualo (92) was able to be evacuated from Haiti today because she is a U.S. citizen.  However, she was not able to take her sister Madeleine Bruce (82) with her because Luce is too elderly.  This was not mentioned to me in a previous e-mail from you.  You had said that Luce could take Madeleine with her.  Apparently, Madeleine (a legal permanent resident of the U.S.) can only go if she is accompanied by a U.S. citizen “minor”.  Therefore, the neighbor has informed me that the suggestion is for Madeleine’s son (a U.S. citizen) to fly to Santo Domingo, drive from there to Port-au-Prince to pick up his Mother and drive back to Santo Domingo with her in order for her to return to the States.  I asked if her son as a U.S. citizen “minor” could just be evacuated with his Mother from Port-au-Prince once he got her.  I was told this is not possible.

     

    PLEASE ADVISE!!

     

    All the best,

    Dorothy Davis

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