- Posted by Inveneo on August 18, 2015 in the categories: Publications
Inveneo is proud to announce that, due to its projects and Project Manager in Haiti Michelet Guerrier, there are now 71 more teachers who are digitally literate in Haiti. This newly published report is about an ICT Pilot Program [Extension of the Transforming Teaching Through Tablets (TTT) project] to improve Haitian teacher capacity and access to digital educational resources. Inveneo implemented this pilot program in three primary schools in three different regions in Haiti from March to June 2014 (Petit-Goave, Hyacinthe, and Cascade Pichon) before we expanded the program to reach more than 30 secondary teachers in Petit-Goave. The program’s main goal was to demonstrate the benefits of using tablets in a school environment to build teacher capacity and make educational resources available for teachers.
We re-designed the project to fit not only primary school teachers, but also those working in secondary schools. Read the report and check out all the updates!
- Posted by Inveneo on August 4, 2015 in the categories: News
The Inveneo team has been privileged this summer to welcome onto its staff Mariela Machado Fantacchiotti, a graduate student currently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration in Development Practice department at Columbia University. Mariela came to Inveneo highly recommended from the program’s manager, Ms. Debi Spindelman.
Mariela is a telecommunications engineer with 5 years of work experience in the ICT sector and describes herself as “passionate about applying ICT for development issues of education, health, agriculture improvements and poverty reduction”. This passion started back in 2006 when she worked for an ICT for development project for the Peruvian NGO EHAS, where she designed and implemented an Internet and IP phone for a local health center. In addition, she speaks five languages and previously earned a Master’s Degree in Information and Communications Technologies in Spain.
Throughout her Inveneo internship, Mariela will be spending most of her time working alongside the engineering department, developing a new M&E approach for new existing Inveneo projects and studying drones for Inveneo’s upcoming Drones 4 Good project. Inveneo has also asked her to research current Internet connectivity in Cuba, including national policies and laws related to ICT and freedom of speech. Additionally, she will be testing the new promise of ICT4D for rural areas called Lantern from Outernet. This device claims to provide Internet connectivity from the satellite for educational purposes, providing offline libraries to rural settings that lack ICT infrastructure. The results will be published on ICTworks.
In her spare time this summer, Mariela is also conducting research for the Earth Institute together with Jeffrey Sachs that will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly this fall. She is looking into how ICT could be an enabler to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) related to health, education, energy and financial inclusion. She is focusing on the health sector and how ICT innovations could help improve health outcomes in the world. Be sure to look for a snapshot of her research and findings on ICTworks, coming early this fall.
Welcome to the team, Mariela! We’re so glad to have you on board!
- Posted by Inveneo on June 18, 2015 in the categories: External, News, Press
Inveneo, in partnership with Facebook, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Cisco, EveryLayer, and NetHope, as part of the joint Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI), succeeded in delivering 100 new high-speed Internet connections to government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Humanitarian workers working in West Africa’s healthcare sector are now able to go online thanks to Inveneo and partners from the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) project.
As a result of this project, individuals working in NGO, UN, or government offices, Ebola treatment facilities, hospitals, and logistical hubs can now use high-speed broadband Internet to connect with healthcare applications, NGO headquarters, healthcare workers, and friends and family.
Inveneo delivered the milestone of 100 connections in less than five months. According to Inveneo’s Executive Director, Bruce Baikie, “The commitment and close collaboration of all partners was essential. The true stars of this project were the field teams, which included staff from Inveneo and Damsel, Inveneo’s certified partner in Sierra Leone. The field teams were just incredible, scaling rooftops and towers up to 175 feet high to install equipment underneath the blazing hot West African sun, six or more days a week in the realization that every connection counts to help save a life and create a more resilient healthcare system.”
This project establishes a sustainable infrastructure for high-speed Internet access in remote areas of Sierra Leone and Liberia, which plays a key role in preventing and/or mitigating future disease outbreaks while helping organizations respond more efficiently and effectively to community needs.
The ERCI Project Partners
Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.
Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Founded by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and his sister Jody Allen in 1988, the Allen family’s philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since inception, the Foundation has awarded over $529 million to more than 1,500 nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The Foundation’s funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, visit http://www.pgafamilyfoundation.org.
Cisco is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.
EveryLayer has developed a cloud-based software platform and new approach that allows ISPs to deliver faster, better, cheaper broadband in the emerging markets of Africa and Asia. EveryLayer’s platform simplifies how providers design, deploy and manage low cost last mile networks and provides technical and commercial blueprints so service providers can speed to market in weeks, not months, with new services that are 80% lower cost than leading broadband providers.
Inveneo is a non-profit social enterprise that delivers the tools of technology – sustainable computing and broadband – to those who need it most in the developing world, to transform lives through better education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and faster relief. Inveneo is leveraging more than 10 years of experience of successfully introducing technology and expanding connectivity to underserved areas of Sub-Saharan Africa to implement this project.
Founded in 2001, NetHope is a consortium of 42 leading international humanitarian organizations providing emergency relief, human development and conservation programs in more than 180 countries. Through member collaboration and by facilitating public-private partnerships with major technology companies, NetHope enables members to leverage their technology investments to better serve their end beneficiaries.
- Posted by Inveneo on June 12, 2015 in the categories: News
Longtime Inveneo friend and colleague Dr. Laura Hosman has led her students this past semester on an exciting digital library project at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California. One of the project’s leaders, Cecillia Tran, is a 5th year Liberal Arts Engineering Studies Major, and she recently spoke with Inveneo to give an explanation of the ICT project. She has been inspired by how people can make a powerful impact just by using older technology in inventive ways. Read the interview below.
- Inveneo: What is the SPELL Project?
SPELL stands for Solar Powered Educational Learning Library. Students in the Federated States of Micronesia as well as Vanuatu have no access to Internet or electricity in their schools. Our solution was to create and donate 50 solar-powered mini servers, pre-loaded with educational content, that could be connected to any WiFi enabled device through a WiFi dongle. The educational content our team curated onto an SD card was based through extensive research of what levels of education were needed on the islands. Some of the materials used were various Khan Academy videos on subject matters such as math, writing, and science. Due to a recent typhoon, we also decided to upload weather related content so students are better prepared if another accident were to happen.
Dr. Laura Hosman (left) with several of her students working on the SPELL project.
- Since the Banana Pis are going to Chuuk, will the educational content be in English, Chuukese, or another language?
The educational content will be in English, since students are required to learn English in the classroom. However, there will be some content that is in Chuukese.
- What is the role that students play within the SPELL Project?
We divided into four teams. There is a contents and deployment team who are responsible for researching and curating the educational materials that is put on the SD card. There is a design team responsible for creating the outer shell for the mini-server itself so that there is a protective casing and an attached solar panel to power the server. We also have a SPOT team (systems performance optimization team) that is responsible for testing and configuring the Banana Pi (mini server) and WiFi dongle. And also, we have a promotions team that is responsible for the marketing and branding of the project. We even created a website and logo for the team.
- How will this project made a difference in Micronesia?
This project will give students who don’t have access to Internet or electricity a new way to receive their education. They will have the chance to be able to interact with electronic devices that many of us are fortunate enough to have easy access to. Our contents team is working very hard to provide a good, substantial amount of information and educational materials that would be helpful. The platform could possibly open their minds and eyes like never before.
- What lessons have you learned from this project?
I think we learned a lot of real world skills, especially teamwork; our class was composed of students from many different backgrounds of education. For example, we have many liberal arts and engineering studies majors, as well as electrical engineering, computer science, journalism, graphic communication, and political science. We’ve gained a lot of knowledge and have seen many different perspectives as we’ve moved along through different parts of the project. We also learned that projects will not always go as planned. We have hit many bumps in the road and have had to change directions, but it was a good experience for all of us. We managed to work our way through them. Finally, we learned a lot about Chuuk and the islands, what educational access they have, and how we can make a difference. That’s what excited me about this class: this project really could make a difference and we could reach out to people who are in need. It’s exciting to be a part of a project that would go beyond the classroom and make a tangible difference that matters in the world.
- What can the ICT community learn from SPELL’s experience?
I think it’s amazing what a difference a small group of 15 people can make. We were donated 50 Banana Pi brand units, given as part of LeMaker’s non-profit educational program. We turned them into a powerful educational tool that we believe could make a real difference in Chuuk students’ lives, as well as other countries, that may not have Internet access or electricity in their schools.
The ICT community should be aware that anything can make a difference. Products that one may think is outdated can be turned into something incredible that would help people. Sometimes it’s the small but innovative changes that can make a big impact.
- Posted by Inveneo on June 4, 2015 in the categories: Events
Inveneo is proud to announce that its Executive Director, Bruce Baikie, has recently accepted position as a member of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) for Development Subcommittee to the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee for International Communications and Information Policy. He has been chosen as one of 20 nationally recognized experts to be the first members of the ACICIP ICT4D Subcommittee, set to launch on July 8th, 2015.
Executive Director Bruce Baikie in Washington D.C.
Mr. Baikie is thrilled to be a part of this exciting and innovative group of ICT leaders. “ICT has become an embedded part of any international aid or relief project, yet is still a challenge for governmental funding to fully support ICT in emerging regions. I hope to directly support policy to solve this critical piece of the aid and relief puzzle to provide positive outcomes to closing the digital divide,” says Baikie.
The Subcommittee was created to push the ICT field even further as technology continues to improve and transform lives around the world. Ambassador Sepulveda explains the agenda further: “This Subcommittee will develop a set of recommendations that the USG could take to leverage ICT to advance development objectives. ACICIP ICT4D Subcommittee recommendations will be reported to the full Advisory Committee, which will review the Subcommittee’s recommendations and, if approved, make appropriate recommendations to the Department of State to inform our policy positions.”
Congratulations, Bruce! The Inveneo team is proud to have its Executive Director be part of this powerful committee. This Subcommittee will surely make an incredible impact in the field of ICT for communities worldwide.
- Posted by Inveneo on June 2, 2015 in the categories: Education, Publications
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!
- Posted by Inveneo on May 15, 2015 in the categories: Economic Development, Education, News, Projects
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.
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.
Struggles 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.
- Posted by Inveneo on April 20, 2015 in the categories: Healthcare, News, Relief
Inveneo team member Eric Zan serves as a Senior Field Engineer in the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI). He recently explained his thoughts on the ERCI Project and the difference it has been making in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone. Read his story below on what country is like now almost one year after the virus hit.
- What is Sierra Leone like one year after the Ebola virus hit?
Inveneo visited a case management and burial management team in Sierra Leone. Photo Credit: Eric Kuhnke/Inveneo
“Although I haven’t been in Sierra Leone throughout the entire crisis, I can see that Sierra Leone used to be a place where ‘doors were closing’ in almost all areas for the residents. What I mean is that there were serious limits on migration, how much people moved, and where people congregated. In addition, several businesses left Sierra Leone which drastically affected opportunities for individuals. The overall economic landscape was hurt from this, and often people had to change their jobs. And even if you did not contract the Ebola virus your life was still drastically altered.
Today, humanitarian organizations of Sierra Leone are transitioning to more of a “recovery” mode. Ebola is still active there, but it is concentrated in different provinces. Priorities are changing theses days since many regions are not experiencing new patients and are devoting their resources to the economic and social recovery. Not surprisingly communities have experienced different levels of fallout from all this. However, through it all, communication is the biggest factor we are concerned with and it was good to see local communities having trust in the global community.”
- What were your daily activities in the ERCI project?
Eric Zan organizing materials for the ERCI project.
“It was constantly different because every day presented new challenges. In general I was the logistics coordinator and helped direct the Field Team on where they could go.
- I made sure there was a way to gather details and share them with the team about where to go and when to take precautions.
- I would liaise with our project partners in order to come up with a plan for integrating our equipment into their core network.
- Also, I’d discuss how to build out each tower in a coordinated way, how to ensure bandwidth strength, and how to monitor the network.
Those items were the “big picture” parts to my day-to-day activities. But they add up when working in a crowded and limited-resource environment.”
- How is the ERCI project making a difference?
“First, the Internet will help main hubs coordinate with their field offices because a lot of decision making and resource allocation happens in the capital. Before getting an Internet connection, main offices sometimes had to wait days or weeks to get information about what was going on in the rural areas. By then it’s often too late to respond to the key needs in an efficient way. Second, the organizations can get data back almost instantly. This communication helps them coordinate with other organizations which overall helps paints the big picture for everybody.
Photo Credit: Eric Kuhnke/Inveneo
As a last note, the Internet generally helps people and organizations be more efficient in their missions, whatever their mission is. This may include having more time for projects, less need for travel, and better cost-effective strategies.”
- What precautionary health measures did you and your team take while in Sierra Leone?
“The health measures were mainly based on behavioral changes; they were all behavioral-based policies that we established for the team to follow. The ABCs meant Avoid Body Contact at all times. We were taking our temperatures at least twice a day, and we worked alongside a health a safety member from NetHope from their Icelandic Search and Rescue Team. Also, communication was important and people checked in with me. We also had a group chat on Skype going, and I was constantly coordinating with others in case someone needed to go to the hospital or wasn’t feeling well.”
- In your opinion, what ICTs would be the most effective in stopping Ebola from spreading?
“Although many people have mobile phones in Sierra Leone, they may not always be the entire solution. For example, mobile phones are not reliable to transfer large amounts of data. Instead, what is needed is a reliable Internet link and a better system for gathering and aggregating data in an automated way.
Another important part is the building of local capacity. Training is very important and it must be coordinated with local support and knowledge. Information should be made available to communities and more members of an organization’s team, too, and not necessarily to just the Project Coordinator.
Over the last few months I’ve realized that those living in Sierra Leone are incredibly resilient people, and they have so much that they are already offering. Combining these skills with ICT has the potential to play a significant role in bringing an end to this tragic Ebola crisis.”
- Posted by Inveneo on April 20, 2015 in the categories: Education, Events
Inveneo is accepting applications for four (4) summer internship positions to assist in research, program management, engineering, and ICT4D development.
Deadline May, 25th, 2015
This internship program is an international development initiative, with the objective of using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to foster education, social integration, and economic growth. The principal development impacts are anticipated to be:
1) Empowerment of the rural poor, women, and youth through increased and affordable access to information and communication tools,
2) More effective and citizen/student centered education programs,
3) Developed leadership and skills in ICT,
4) Employment creation within the ICT industry, ICT-enabled services development, and enhanced competitiveness of user industries and services.
It is the second year of Inveneo’s Internship program focused on ICT and the emerging regions of the world. Inveneo is unique in its scope and approach to connecting those who need it most, with ICT4D work carried out in over 30 countries including in Oceania, Haiti, and across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The 2015 Summer Inveneo Internship will cover four initiatives:
1) To research region-specific educational content for education and climate change-focused projects (Research)
2) To provide organizational and administrative support to existing Inveneo programs and projects (IT)
3) To support and review qualified micro-data center challenge submissions for technical feasibility (Engineering)
4) To develop new M&E approach for existing Inveneo projects (ICT4D)
These positions will require the interns to be self-driven, with the ability to work independently. Interns will be required to gather, analyze, and transform data into informational reports with specific findings and recommendations.
The position will be based in Inveneo’s San Francisco, CA offices. Inveneo is open to accepting part-time and full-time interns for the summer. Please note that this internship is unpaid.
- A strong academic record
- Prior experience working with qualitative and quantitative data
- Proven ability in research and analytical skills
- Strong oral and written communication skills in English and/or French
- Exceptional organizational and administrative capabilities
- Ability to work effectively independently and within a team environment
- Excellent interpersonal skills and a demonstrated ability to work in a multicultural environment
To apply for this Internship, please send a 2 page writing sample of original research work, cover letter, and resume/CV to Inveneo’s Media Manager Jana Melpolder, and include “Summer Internship” in the subject line.
Selected candidates will be contacted by email to schedule a phone interview.
Deadline for applications is May 25, 2015. Best of luck!
- Posted by Inveneo on March 30, 2015 in the categories: News
Inveneo has partnered with Protocase on the ARM Ltd. solar powered Micro-Data Center Design Challenge. The top prize for the competition is $10,000 and the winning design will be built and deployed in the developing world.
To support the challenge, Protocase will be providing resources such as its free 3D design software and guidance on designing electronic enclosures, and will precision-fabricate the top designs.
Inveneo is seeking students, engineers, researchers, and innovators to submit their design of a solar powered micro-data center. Given the harsh environments present in much of the developing world, designers will need to create a functional micro-data center that can be powered with a solar photovoltaic system, withstand intense heat and humidity, and run completely without access to standard air conditioning.
Candidates will use ARM based solutions to create the “micro-board chassis” design that will use off-the-shelf ARM based processor micro boards (i.e. Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi/Pro, ODROID, etc.). Inveneo has partnered with LeMaker, which is offering a discounted 15 Banana Pro kit that can be used to build a prototype micro-board chassis.
“We are excited to have Protocase as a partner as its CAD software will help innovators design their submission,” says Bruce Baikie, Executive Director of Inveneo. “Even more exciting is that they will be building the winning designs.”
The contest is open to applicants who are at least 18 years of age, in teams that range from three to seven members. The contest’s panel of judges includes industry experts from Inveneo, ARM, and LeMaker, among others. The top two winning designs will be announced on July 15, 2015.
If you are interested in entering this design challenge or to find more information, please visit this page.
Protocase: Engineers and designers throughout North America and the world recognize Protocase as a world-class facility that manufactures custom electronic enclosures, sheet metal parts, machined parts and components in two to three days, with no minimum orders. In addition to offering its own free downloadable 3D design software, Protocase works with customers in science, engineering and innovation to fine-tune their designs to their exact needs before all aspects of the product’s manufacturing is completed within the company’s cutting-edge production facility.