Inveneo Education Archives

Haiti in Action: An Inveneo Report on Basic Computer Training

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 2, 2015 in the categories: Education, Publications
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Michelet Guerrier, Inveneo’s Project Manager in Haiti, recently led a computer training session for the community members in La Vallee de Jacmel, Haiti.

After a 10-station computer lab installation in La Vallee de Jacmel, Inveneo was re-contacted for training recommendations. Once the needs assessment was initiated, Inveneo agreed to provide and empower the community members with basic computer training. La Vallee Alliance selected the candidates to participate in the training. They included teachers, school directors, and secondary school students.

Inveneo and Michelet Guerrier published a report on the computer training course and outcomes. Please take a look and discover the exciting results and impact that a computer training course can make for a community in Haiti!

ComputerTrainingReport

Improved Internet Connectivity in Haiti Thanks to Inveneo and Partners

  1. Posted by Inveneo on May 15, 2015 in the categories: Economic Development, Education, News, Projects
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From 2011 to 2013, Inveneo has been widely involved in the Haiti Rural Broadband Network (HRBN), a program created to bring broadband to Haiti in many rural areas. Inveneo worked extensively throughout the project, but when funding ran out, the system Inveneo put in place has experienced setbacks, and achieving sustainability has been a challenge.

These school kids could benefit from Inveneo's Haiti Connected Schools program.

These school kids could benefit from Inveneo’s Haiti Connected Schools program.

Inveneo’s San Francisco-based Project Manager Kelly Doley recently traveled to Haiti to join Inveneo’s Haiti-based Project Manager, Michelet Guerrier, to assess the HRBN project.

Haiti Benefited from the HRBN Project

Although the HRBN project has experienced challenges, about 50 schools that participated in Inveneo’s Haiti Connected Schools program initially received improved Internet connectivity through the HRBN. Inveneo is happy that it fulfilled its mission of expanding broadband in areas, and the HRBN infrastructure remains in place. However, the HRBN needs a sustainable business model and strong management from one of Haiti’s many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for networks to grow or continue, especially in the absence of continued donor funding. However, Inveneo has noticed that multiple ISPs have learned from the HRBN and used the same technologies as Inveneo in building out their own networks to reach remote areas.

8281245795_fd245290c8_o-2Struggles of BATI

Some of Inveneo’s approximately 50 BATI still work for ISPs to conduct outreach and repairs for the HRBN project. BATI are young Haitians with information technology (IT) skills who have been trained by Inveneo to deploy high speed, broadband wireless networks and new, relevant technology. All BATI benefitted from Inveneo’s training and working as part of the HRBN network. BATIs have a lot of respect for Inveneo and would like Inveneo to expand its presence in Haiti. Inveneo greatly respects the BATI, and recognizes they are a great local and skilled resource that could be tapped into Haiti.

Inveneo Moves Forward

Internet connectivity remains a challenge in Haiti, and the HRBN was a successful initiative to expand broadband in remote areas.  As with all development projects, achieving sustainability – in this case maintaining the HRBN after the project officially ended – has been a challenge. However, the HRBN infrastructure remains and could be leveraged to help connect the unconnected in Haiti.

Ongoing Inveneo Projects in Haiti

The Inveneo team is currently working on the successful Transforming Teaching Through Tablets project to improve the skills of and resources available to teachers in Haiti. To read more about that project click here.

Top Takeaways from UNESCO and UN Women’s Mobile Learning Week

  1. Posted by Inveneo on March 9, 2015 in the categories: Education, News
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UNESCO and UN Women’s recent Mobile Learning Week conference in Paris was an ICT-focused event that brought together over 1,000 participants from more than 70 countries. As a participant representing Inveneo, Media Manager Jana Melpolder traveled to Paris to determine best practices on using technology to educate and empower girls and women around the world. She was pleased to run into several key ICTworks’ authors at the event, including Linda Raftree and Jim Teicher.

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Ms. Raftree made a presentation titled “10 Myths About Mobile Learning and Girls’ Empowerment”, and it made a big impact in the way she thought about how mobiles affect girls. Several of her key myths of mobile ownership included:

  • Cost being the largest barrier to owning a phone (which is not always true due to family pressures or societal norms that prohibit a girl from easily owning a phone)
  • Mobile phones can’t address the real needs of girls (when in reality mobile phones can address important issues such as domestic violence, information for rape victims, and more)
  • Vulnerable girls don’t have access to mobile phones (when in reality a girl may be borrowing a phone from friends, etc.)

Ms. Melpolder appreciate the insights that Linda Raftree and other speakers offered, and there were many terrific tech-related resources that were promoted for teachers throughout this event. However, the greater focus at the Mobile Learning Week conference should have been how parents could use technology to empower and educate young girls. Parents are a solid backbone to a girl’s education, and she believes that more technological resources need to become more easily available to them.

Technology that parents already own can be better utilized to push a girl’s education further and better prepare them for modern jobs. For example, since mobile phones are widely used in emerging regions, parents should more often utilize text messages about assignments that are due, or they should receive daily or weekly messages on what children are learning while at school. Additionally, teachers should use mobiles more often to communicate to parents what lessons a young girl is currently working on in school.

Engaged parents are vital to the education and empowerment of young girls everywhere, and resources should be made available to them just as often as they are made available to teachers. She hopes there is a better balance in the future – one where educational tech tools are brought equally to the hands of teachers and parents to make an even greater impact for young girls around the world.

The Ulwazi Programme: Sharing Histories and Culture in Communities in South Africa

  1. Posted by Inveneo on December 15, 2014 in the categories: Economic Development, Education, News
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Digital information and ICTs have transformed how knowledge is dispersed in Africa. A digital library project called the Ulwazi Programme is helping to ensure that, through social technologies, everyone has equal access to aspects of their history and culture through technology.

libraries-as-community-memory-the-ulwazi-programme-11-638Inveneo recently spoke with Grant McNulty, a Partner at McNulty Consulting, a digital media consultancy led by two brothers. They use digital media to foster cultural projects with technology, and McNulty Consulting has helped to create the Ulwazi Programme online library.

Sharing Histories Online

Many communities in South Africa do not have equal access to computer labs or other ICTs. The Ulwazi Programme is working to reverse that trend and ensure that those living in urban, peri-urban and rural settings can access online materials like never before. Ulwazi creates content like shared histories and local knowledge in local languages such as Zulu. McNulty Consulting, together with the eThekwini Municipal Libraries in Durban, is making this possible by “using open-source software, in collaboration with the public library and local communities”.

The Ulwazi Programme is not only being managed by the brothers at McNulty Consulting but instead is very much a community effort. Volunteer fieldworkers are recording personal histories which are saved digitally to be used in the online library. Local schools and formal researchers are also getting involved, and the project is quickly becoming quite successful!

Tips for Other ICT4D Practitioners

libraries-as-community-memory-the-ulwazi-programme-13-638Those working in ICT projects around the world can learn from the Ulwazi model. Grant McNulty  explained that the online library’s software will be kept open source and free to the entire community, meaning members won’t need to pay fees to license or access the resources.

The Ulwazi Programme is not only available online within the local library’s computer network, but it is also accessible on tablets and mobile phones. Almost 90% of Internet usage  in South Africa is through a mobile device. McNulty Consulting concentrated on making the Ulwazi Programme mobile-friendly in order to engage communities and provide access to the resource on devices that they already use.

The Ulwazi Programme has seen incredible growth online through its website analytics, and the two brothers are very excited. To learn how you can get involved in this special ICT project in South Africa visit the website, Facebook page, or Twitter page. Best of luck to the continued growth for this well-deserving South African community!

Opening a New World of Educational Content for ICT Students

  1. Posted by Inveneo on August 21, 2014 in the categories: Education, News
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An IT classroom with students in the DR Congo. The IT students currently don’t have access to many computers making their IT studies difficult. Photo Credit: Jill Costello – Inveneo

University life is an exciting time for students around the world. As undergraduates work hard in their studies and set their hopes for the future, the ICT field continues to expand in countless ways. Unfortunately, ICT students around the world don’t have equal access to the same resources. For example, while students in the United States enjoy computer labs and state-of-the-art equipment, students in the DR Congo lack computers and current computer science coding material, making them ill-equipped to market themselves on a global scale.

What’s the result? University students in the DR Congo who graduate with a college degree in ICT who rarely worked on computers. But UMCom and Inveneo are working together to change that.

Led by UMCom’s Director of ICT4D Church Initiatives, Rev. Neelley Hicks has asked Inveneo to setup a server installed and loaded with educational content that students in developing countries can access when they don’t have reliable Internet connectivity.

As a first step this past summer, Inveneo’s tech-savvy intern Corbin Halliwill scoured the Internet to find French university-level content that students in the DR Congo could eventually use offline. Just like World Possible’s RACHEL server and the eGranary Digital Library, Inveneo plans to create a server that is filled with diagrams, slides, documents, and videos that students can reach when offline. (Additionally, from time to time, they may still need a WiFi connection to connect to the server for updates, etc.)

Corbin has found a vast amount of educational material that he feels is reliable and relatable to his own courses he took at UC Berkeley in California. He has worked hard to organize the content by classes, categories, and tags, all to help students in the DR Congo grab what they need efficiently and easily. Going forward, Inveneo’s talented intern Eric Zan will take over the project, continue to download the content, and place it all on a Synology diskstation. UMCom will eventually take the Synology diskstation and will use it in computer labs they are building in the DR Congo.

Inveneo’s long term goals with this project are to give users the ability to select which content they want. In addition, the team is hoping to eventually allow people to contribute or update content as it becomes available. The project will be open sourced so other professors, students, and universities may utilize it in the future. Inveneo and UMCom have enjoyed the combined efforts made in this project, and they are both very excited about how this could positively impact students around the world for years to come!

New Report: Transforming Teaching Through Tablets

  1. Posted by Inveneo on August 13, 2014 in the categories: Education, Publications, User Machine
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Education in Haiti is vastly changing. Where teachers once had a few books to offer their students, now they have an incredible wealth of resources available to them through Google Nexus 7 Tablets. TabletsHaitiAnd thanks to Inveneo and our partners like Google and the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, we have made these educational tools to over 1,000 students in Haiti.

Check out our recent report, “Transforming Teaching Through Tablets“, which showcases our project’s benchmarks achieved and success rate as of August 2014. Written by our Project Manager in Haiti, Michelet Guerrier, the report gives a detailed narrative on the current tablet training and professional development resources we offer Haitian educators.

Click here to read the report.

Meet Inveneo's 2014 Summer ICT Interns

  1. Posted by sguser on June 24, 2014 in the categories: Education, News
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The Inveneo team has been lucky to bring on four new interns this summer. Hailing from Harvard, Northwestern, and UC Berkeley, these four individuals are bringing innovative ideas and fresh insight to our current ICT projects. They are helping our engineers by conducting online research, surveys, and technical documentation. A few are also providing assistance to the editorial team for both the Inveneo and ICTworks websites and newsletters.

We are very happy to have these four individuals join the Inveneo staff for the summer. Check out who recently joined our team!

 

AtulSquareAtul Adhikari was born in Cambodia, where he spent the first five years of his life. He then went to Nepal and lived in the capital city Kathmandu for 13 years. He is currently in the U.S. studying Computer Engineering and Economics at Northwestern University. He loves to travel, read, and meet new people. Having recently interned at two different education development organizations in Nepal, he is very excited by the idea of introducing technology to rural parts of the world in order to address problems and improve the quality of life for communities everywhere.

At Northwestern, he is part of Engineering World Health and the NUSTARS satellite team where he has been involved with several interesting projects, one of them being the development of a multi-parameter tester for hospital equipments in Rwanda. He loves startups and hopes to create one of his own after graduation. Currently he is working with a startup group of Northwestern MBA students named Reachey. You can reach him by email.

 

CorbinSquareCorbin Halliwill studies Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley, with an additional focus in Global Poverty and Practice. In addition to working at Inveneo this summer, Corbin is building a mobile app that empowers students to connect with each other to walk home at night. This app will aggregate data about crime and street lighting to find safer walking paths and integrate existing campus safety tools with an intuitive user-experience at its core.

Corbin was recently a finalist at the Big Ideas at Berkeley Contest. He is also a webmaster and an executive board member for Engineers without Borders at the UC Berkeley Chapter. He spends his free time outdoors as much as possible sailing, backpacking, and skiing.

 

DanielleSquareHappily trekking from the east coast to the west coast, Danielle Schulkin is a recent graduate of Harvard University (’14) where she studied the History of Science and Government. At school, she worked for the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where she fostered an interest in the ways new technologies can be harnessed for the public good. She is looking forward to delving into the many ways Inveneo leverages ICT4D and expanding her understanding of the intersection between innovation, law, and society.

In the past she has interned at The Washington Post and has worked as a student coordinator for Harvard’s 2013 Hack IP Challenge. Upon completion of her Inveneo internship she will be travelling to Tel Aviv, Israel as a fellow for the prestigious Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship Award. You can follow her on Twitter.

 

EricSquareEric Zan is interested in how information can play an empowering role in human lives by enhancing a person’s agency and freedoms. Eric was first introduced to the ICT4D world after he quit his software engineering job to help start an ICT4E program in Cameroon with Helps International. He then attended graduate school at UC Berkeley where he spent much of his time researching best practices for ICT4D projects, telling stories with data, and designing products for social impact. His affinity for nature and conservation led him to use his newfound skills as a product designer and user researcher to improve the visitor experience in California’s public places and the United States’ National Parks.

He is a co-founder of Sahay, a social enterprise leveraging information technologies to empower domestic help workers through greater access to job opportunities in India. Eric has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas and a Master’s Degree in Information Management from UC Berkeley’s School of Information. He is currently working on his startup, Sahay, and enjoys helping the great people at Inveneo for the summer. You may find Eric hiking, biking, or kayaking Northern California or virtually at LinkedIn, Twitter, on the web, or by email.

Meet Inveneo’s 2014 Summer ICT Interns

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 24, 2014 in the categories: Education, News
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The Inveneo team has been lucky to bring on four new interns this summer. Hailing from Harvard, Northwestern, and UC Berkeley, these four individuals are bringing innovative ideas and fresh insight to our current ICT projects. They are helping our engineers by conducting online research, surveys, and technical documentation. A few are also providing assistance to the editorial team for both the Inveneo and ICTworks websites and newsletters.

We are very happy to have these four individuals join the Inveneo staff for the summer. Check out who recently joined our team!

 

AtulSquareAtul Adhikari was born in Cambodia, where he spent the first five years of his life. He then went to Nepal and lived in the capital city Kathmandu for 13 years. He is currently in the U.S. studying Computer Engineering and Economics at Northwestern University. He loves to travel, read, and meet new people. Having recently interned at two different education development organizations in Nepal, he is very excited by the idea of introducing technology to rural parts of the world in order to address problems and improve the quality of life for communities everywhere.

At Northwestern, he is part of Engineering World Health and the NUSTARS satellite team where he has been involved with several interesting projects, one of them being the development of a multi-parameter tester for hospital equipments in Rwanda. He loves startups and hopes to create one of his own after graduation. Currently he is working with a startup group of Northwestern MBA students named Reachey. You can reach him by email.

 

CorbinSquareCorbin Halliwill studies Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley, with an additional focus in Global Poverty and Practice. In addition to working at Inveneo this summer, Corbin is building a mobile app that empowers students to connect with each other to walk home at night. This app will aggregate data about crime and street lighting to find safer walking paths and integrate existing campus safety tools with an intuitive user-experience at its core.

Corbin was recently a finalist at the Big Ideas at Berkeley Contest. He is also a webmaster and an executive board member for Engineers without Borders at the UC Berkeley Chapter. He spends his free time outdoors as much as possible sailing, backpacking, and skiing.

 

DanielleSquareHappily trekking from the east coast to the west coast, Danielle Schulkin is a recent graduate of Harvard University (’14) where she studied the History of Science and Government. At school, she worked for the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where she fostered an interest in the ways new technologies can be harnessed for the public good. She is looking forward to delving into the many ways Inveneo leverages ICT4D and expanding her understanding of the intersection between innovation, law, and society.

In the past she has interned at The Washington Post and has worked as a student coordinator for Harvard’s 2013 Hack IP Challenge. Upon completion of her Inveneo internship she will be travelling to Tel Aviv, Israel as a fellow for the prestigious Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship Award. You can follow her on Twitter.

 

EricSquareEric Zan is interested in how information can play an empowering role in human lives by enhancing a person’s agency and freedoms. Eric was first introduced to the ICT4D world after he quit his software engineering job to help start an ICT4E program in Cameroon with Helps International. He then attended graduate school at UC Berkeley where he spent much of his time researching best practices for ICT4D projects, telling stories with data, and designing products for social impact. His affinity for nature and conservation led him to use his newfound skills as a product designer and user researcher to improve the visitor experience in California’s public places and the United States’ National Parks.

He is a co-founder of Sahay, a social enterprise leveraging information technologies to empower domestic help workers through greater access to job opportunities in India. Eric has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas and a Master’s Degree in Information Management from UC Berkeley’s School of Information. He is currently working on his startup, Sahay, and enjoys helping the great people at Inveneo for the summer. You may find Eric hiking, biking, or kayaking Northern California or virtually at LinkedIn, Twitter, on the web, or by email.

ICT Brings Students and Communities Together in the DR Congo

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 19, 2014 in the categories: Education, News
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A happy computer user in the DR Congo.

A happy computer user in the DR Congo.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) is one of Africa’s most conflict-ridden and war-torn countries. Covering a vast expanse of over 900,000 square miles (the same as two-thirds of the European Union), the country holds a rich store of minerals. But, tragically, this abundance of resources fuels fire for hostile war. Civil war, genocide, and mass rape have all contributed to the brutality many have seen during the DR Congo’s history. In addition, corruption is extremely common and, according to the United States Institute of Peace, the DR Congo ranks at the bottom for every corruption index. Although its people are incredibly resilient, the country continues to suffer from poor infrastructure and weak governmental organizations.

Inveneo’s Manager of Special Projects, Jill Costello, traveled last month to DR Congo knowing it would be a challenge. But she arrived with her sleeves rolled up and ready to get to work.

A class at KMU. The IT students currently don't have access to many computers making their IT studies difficult.

A class at KMU. The IT students currently don’t have access to many computers making their IT studies difficult.

Inveneo teamed up with United Methodist Communications (UMCom) and Steve Bryant from the General Board of Discipleship to begin building a power and financially sustainable Computer Center serving three institutions of higher learning in Kamina. Currently, Kamina Methodist University (KMU) is unable to offer students in its ICT program a functioning computer lab, a loss which results in the inability to do hands-on work to support their theoretical learnings. Once completed, however, the Computer Center will be used by KMU students, the Health Sciences College, the Teachers College, and local community members as a place to gather knowledge and build skills. It will serve 1,000 people!

On behalf of Inveneo, Jill travelled to Kamina to discuss the technical nature of the ICT project with academic and local community members. Along with UMCom and Steve Bryant, she hosted presentations and meetings for IT and general faculty at KMU and interested community members in order to listen to and truly understand their needs. The team also worked to identify an ideal location for the Center and to begin to determine suitable computing equipment for challenging environments such as these.

But there is still work to be done. In order for the Computer Center to come to fruition, the Kamina community must meet and expand upon the business plan in development. The Center will bring in funds to cover staff salaries, provide for additional computing purchases, and replace equipment when needed.

Inveneo's Jill Costello (left) meets with community members to discuss details on an United Methodist Communications project for DRCongo.

Inveneo’s Jill Costello (left) meets with community members to discuss details on an United Methodist Communications project for DRCongo.

The Inveneo team will continue to help guide and contribute to this building process. Inveneo is currently recommending what equipment is needed and appropriate for the new Center (both solar and computing equipment). In addition, it is researching French-based University-level IT content that will eventually be used offline by KMU. Relevant content should be available for use by late 2014. Communication and development on both sides of the Atlantic will continue to push the project forward.

Our team welcomed the opportunity to partner with UMCom, Steve Bryant, university-level and local community leaders in Kamina on this meaningful project in the DR Congo. We look forward to continue bringing online connections and educational resources to the many students and community members in Kamina!

Learn how you can partner with Inveneo in this project by visiting our Donate page.

Why Education Improves with Tablets in Rural Haiti

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 16, 2014 in the categories: Education, News, Projects
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One of the sessions from Inveneo's TTT Project. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier - Inveneo

One of the sessions from Inveneo’s TTT Project. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo

Inveneo has worked very hard to help teachers in rural Haiti gain adequate access to new educational tools and resources. Led by the our team’s project manager in Haiti, Michelet Guerrier, Inveneo recently held a third Tablet training event, part of the Transforming Teaching through Tablets (TTT) project. The training, which was held in a remote part of southeast Haiti called Cascade Pichon, lasted three days. It hosted a total of 15 teachers who came from three separate schools.

How are these Tablets and training session helping teachers achieve greater educational success with their students? What are teachers using them for, and what are the challenges that come with the Tablets?

Greater Access to Digital Content

A session on different learning styles. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier - Inveneo

A session on different learning styles. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo

Michelet reports that Haitian teachers have been using their Tablets as a resource library. They were most interested in the offline dictionaries and the digital library that offers hundreds of books right at their fingertips. In addition, the Tablets also offer French grammar content which the teachers found useful to create better lessons for their students.

Professional Development

During Inveneo’s training sessions, not only were teachers provided the apps and tools to work on their Tablets, but they were also given a session on professional development. Michelet held a few sessions where he presented apps on the Tablet to model how some of the apps can be adapted for teaching, learning, and evaluation. To gain practice the teachers did a simulation class for each other, and feedback was then offered from their peers.

The school under construction. This is what the school looked like on May 30, 2014. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier - Inveneo

The school under construction. This is what the school looked like on May 30, 2014. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo

Awareness of ICT Issues

The teachers in Haiti were very happy with the Tablets and tablet training process. It’s been reported that they are using Tablets at least five days per week! With all these positive points there are also a few problems that go along with using Tablets.

Internet connectivity is not very strong but very much a challenge in Cascade Pichon. During the training Michelet and a few others traveled to nearby hills to see if there was a better connection. A weak signal was available (at times) but it wasn’t good enough to send emails or to use Google’s search engine.

The second issue at hand is the lack of electricity. The school nearby is currently under construction and does not yet offer the community electricity. This gives the teachers limited time that they can use the Tablets. To charge up, teachers end up going outside of Cascade Pichon to charging stations (where they also charge their phones). To charge a Tablet it costs 25 Haitian gourdes which equals about $0.55 USD.

Michelet left the latest TTT training session in Haiti on a positive note. He describes “after these sessions, we are convinced that the decision to bring the Teacher Tablet project to this remote community was a complete gain considering the long-term impact that [it] should have on the teachers, students, and the community as [a] whole.”

Inveneo is proud to partner with other organizations to make this project possible. We would like to thank UMCom, Library for All, Gumdrop Cases, Heart to Heart, the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Google, and the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection for being a part of this continued project in rural Haiti.