This research aims to investigate the role of non-government organizations (NGO) in regards to child vulnerability in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Haitian children are often the most vulnerable because they are still dependent on adult caretakers to provide for their basic needs. Using Paul Farmer’s theory of structural violence and Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I strive to investigate whether the needs of Haitian children in the care of NGOs are being adequately met. What vulnerabilities do children face before they are taken into the care of NGOs? Do children gain agency after they are taken into NGO care? I explore these questions through participant observation and 12 interviews with Haitian NGO employees and Americans involved with the five NGOs observed. I found that although some NGOs may hinder Haitian children’s abilities to exhibit agency, NGOs observed strive to provide for their children because they believe children are the future of Haiti.


Matsuzawa, Setsuko


Sociology and Anthropology


Social and Cultural Anthropology


anthropology, child vulnerability, international aid, non-government organizations, Haiti

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Taylor S. Thorp