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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.

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Fragile Transfers

Index Insurance and the Global Circuits of Climate Risks in Senegal

Sara Angeli Aguiton

In recent years, Senegal’s developed a program of index insurance to cover farmers from economic losses due to drought. I investigate this emerging market in light of Jane Guyer’s question: “What is a ‘risk’ as a transacted ‘thing’?” To grasp the social practices required to make “rainfall deficit” a transferable risk, I explore the climate and market infrastructure that brings it into existence and follows actors who function as brokers allowing the risk to circulate from Senegalese fields to the global reinsurance industry. I show that the strategies set up to convince farmers to integrate a green and rational capitalist management of climate risks are very fragile, and the index insurance program only endures because it is embedded in the broader political economy of rural development based on debt and international aid.