Haiti Earthquake Response Begins
When we first heard about Haiti’s massive earthquake we worried about the local organizations and entrepreneurs we’ve been talking to. Over the last six months Inveneo had been exploring expansion into Haiti, building relationships with nonprofits and the technical community to expand our innovative technology model into the country. But our worry soon became action.
Inveneo’s Haiti Response
Inveneo is not usually set up for emergency response, but we do have deep experience in deploying ICT in difficult resource-constrained environments and we know that reliable communications are a huge need in post-disaster relief efforts. We also had developed strong relationships with organizations working in Haiti, like NetHope and the EKTA Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative.
So we were able to develop a targeted, actionable objective with NetHope – to restore communications to many of their members who operate in Haiti. Together, we have devised a plan to deploy long-distance wireless network connectivity from VSAT links being put in place by NetHope to their in country member NGOs.
This network will support Internet access in and out of the country, carry voice communications until the cellular networks are repaired and allow for collaboration and sharing of resources among NGOs. Establishment of networks like this is a cornerstone of our core competency and provides an avenue for us to deploy additional ICT infrastructure and participate in longer-term capacity building and reconstruction opportunities in country.
Our Current Status
Over the past 72 hours we’ve accomplished what usually would take us 2 to 3 weeks of work. We’ve been able to:
- Identify and source 1,500 pounds (3/4 ton!) of computer and networking equipment and construction tools – enough supplies for a wireless network of 15 to 20 nodes – from our trusted suppliers
- Organize flights for all that equipment and two staff (Mark Summer & Andris Bjornson) to Haiti
- Confirmed in-country logistics with Haitian partners
- Secured support from NetHope, the EKTA Foundation and generous individual donors
- Developed volunteer registration, project request database and equipment donation systems
Mark and Andris are currently en route to Haiti and we’d like to give a big thanks to both United Airlines and Airline Ambassadors for making this happen – at one point, both staff and their 3/4 ton of gear were booked on four different flights just to make sure they get to Haiti.
The Real Work Starts Now
Planning for Inveneo’s Haiti earthquake response is very exciting, but it’s just that, planning. In many ways we are just at the beginning of the journey: Tomorrow we face the real challenge and start the real work – implementing a communications network under emergency conditions in a disaster zone. And the need is great.
We’ve already received requests for assistance from other organizations in Haiti. As we gain a better understanding of local conditions and local partner resources, we hope to expand our impact and establish lasting ICT capacity in Haiti. We still have the long-term goal to expand our innovative technology model into the country.
How you can help
NetHope has agreed to provide funds to cover the cost of equipment and the EKTA Foundation has generously supported the initial deployment. We are making an appeal for donations to cover the quickly escalating costs associated with our Haiti relief efforts.
Please donate to Inveneo using PayPal or Google Checkout below. Inveneo is a US-based 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization. If you are a US resident, your donation may be tax deductible.
All donations through January 31, 2010 will be used only for Haiti relief efforts, including the project to get connectivity to the major NGOs in Haiti.
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