Developing Economies

The Haiti School Project

The Haiti School Project is now online. Here's the backstory.

Last year, we did a story about l'Artibonite, a town in Haiti where students go to school in a small, one-room church.

After our story aired, listeners donated $3,000 to the school — about 10 years of wages for the average Haitian.

The school's principal thought that would be enough to build a schoolhouse. But by the time he'd spent all the money, all he had to show for it was a foundation and some concrete blocks.

Then Tim Myers, a Planet Money listener who works in the construction business, visited l'Artibonite and decided to take on the project himself. In a podcast this spring, Myers told us it he wanted to build the school, and it would cost about $80,000.

The Haiti School Project is a Web site devoted to the project.

For More:

Listen to our our conversation with Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, economists who study aid projects in the developing world. We asked them about building the school.

"If you were calculating the increase in student learning per dollar spent, it's almost sure that you could do better by doing cheaper things on a larger scale," Duflo said. Hiring assistant teachers and providing children with de-worming medicine were a few examples she pointed to.

We talk about building the school in the last few minutes of that podcast.

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