On Friday, September 14, 2012, Hope for Haiti Foundation received a certificate/license as an NGO (nongovernmental organization) in Haiti. This is one of the biggest milestones in our 12 year history, because of the potential benefits for years to come.
It is estimated that only 10% of NGOs working in Haiti are licensed.
“Estimates of the number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Haiti prior to the earthquake range from 3,000 to as many as 10,000. According to United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti former President Bill Clinton, Haiti had the second highest number of NGOs per capita in the world. The devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, highlighted the critical role many of these NGOs play in providing essential services in health care, education and job creation.” – from a 2010 United States Institute of Peace report.
It is important for NGOs to work alongside the Haitian government to ensure a sustainable buildup of local expertise and to strengthen civil society. “NGO projects and donor funding must be aligned with government priorities. The Haitian government has made a considerable effort to establish itself in rebuilding the country, but if projects implemented by NGOs do not conform to government priorities progress will be not be sustained.” – USIP
We are extremely excited about the implications of Friday’s ceremony. Here are some of the major benefits:
- Tax break: When we purchased the Landcruiser 4 years ago, it cost us $48,000. With the NGO license, we will be able to apply to have a customs franchise license, meaning that the taxes we will pay when we purchase something will be minimal. With the tax break, the car would cost us $34,000, and we would save $14,000.
- With this license, we will begin the process of applying for the customs license. This means whenever we ship items being used for the work of the NGO, we can use the NGO license and pay minimal taxes.
- Team Haiti can actually apply for grants in Haiti that may give funds to NGOs doing the type of work we’re doing. These foundations have one simple criterion—is our NGO licensed? Now we are eligible.
HFHF is officially registered as NGO #538 (of 562) in Haiti. We are one of many NGOs working in Haiti, but one of few licensed NGOs recognized by the Haitian government.
Now our work begins in Haiti, in terms of providing reports and being assessed by the government. We look forward to what the future holds!