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Professionalizing Persons and Foretelling Futures

Capacity Building in Post-Earthquake Haiti

Kristin LaHatte


This article explores the concept of capacity building from the perspective of Haitian nationals working in international development aid in Port-au-Prince. Capacity building is often portrayed as imparting knowledge and skills through education and training in order to bring about development for a better future; however, the ways in which capacity building efforts also promote particular kinds of sociality and relationality often go overlooked. By examining the relationships of moun pa’m [my people] as part of a broader moral framework of being and belonging in Haiti, this article reconsiders the meanings and practices of capacity building for Haitian aid practitioners. As intermediaries, expected to both build their own capacities and impart those capacities to development project beneficiaries, local aid practitioners must determine which capacities they will build as they decide what and who can be relied upon in the future.