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Accounting for Haiti aid funds 2011

The Netherlands Cooperative Aid Agencies (SHO) have made significant progress in the reconstruction of Haiti and have used Dutch donations to provide long-term aid to vulnerable groups of people. They have been impeded, however, by the poor functioning of the Haitian government, a cholera epidemic and organisational problems. There have been improvements in the accounts kept for the use of aid. These findings are presented in a follow-up audit report, Accounting for Haiti aid donations 2011, issued by the Netherlands Court of Audit.

Accounting for Haiti aid funds 2011 PDF, 5066 kB


Conclusions

Money well spent

By the end of 2011, the aid agencies had spent €68 million of the €112 million donated for emergency relief and reconstruction. The money had been spent on houses, latrines, schools, health care and microcredits to those in need. The SHO selects the recipients carefully so that those in the greatest need are helped first. The recipients also have a large say in the aid programmes and the agencies recognise the importance of designing sustainable houses and schools.

Impediments to reconstruction

There are also impediments to the aid agencies' work. External impediments include a cholera outbreak and the poor functioning of the Haitian government. Internal impediments include the overambitious scope of the agencies' activities and organisational problems implementing the aid programmes. Furthermore, coordination among the aid agencies on the ground is weak.

Further improvement in accounts

Our audit found that there had been improvements in the accounts kept by both the SHO and its member organisations in 2011. The accounts reveal that a complex chain of organisations is involved in the aid programmes. This makes it difficult to allocate costs and results to the correct donor. The aid agencies could cut their costs, reduce the accounting burden and increase transparency by:

  • Using integrated databases to plan, monitor and evaluate the aid programmes.
  • Standardising donor conditions among the aid organisations and introducing a uniform management system.
  • Attaching greater importance to qualitative accounts of aid programmes that incur additional costs for sustainability.
  • Using 'proportional allocation' to recognise results.

Our audit found that the SHO's accounts were kept in accordance with the agreements made with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 


Recommendations

To increase the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of future aid campaigns, we recommend that the SHO:

  • Develop integrated databases to facilitate its internal organisation and procedures and simplify its accounts.
  • Standardise donor conditions for contracts awarded to implementing organisations.
  • Attach greater importance to qualitative accounts that explain the relatively high cost of programme management where programmes incur additional costs for sustainability or to reach specific target groups.
  • Provide funds wherever possible to umbrella organisations and other aid agencies by means of 'proportional allocation' or at least by output earmarking.
  • Allocate results correctly to the SHO funds.
  • Formulate planned and achieved goals in SMART terms wherever possible and match them logically to each other.
  • Tailor the available accounting information more to the needs of individual target groups.

We further repeat our recommendation that the SHO widen the scope of the audit carried out by its external auditor.

 


Responses

The State Secretary for Foreign Affairs thought our report was balanced. He accepted our recommendations and would take them into account in future aid campaigns. The SHO thought it and its members would benefit from the recommendations regarding its procedures and management. It also noted that the compulsory use of proportional allocation would increase the accounting burden.


Stand van zaken

 

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