Inveneo Haiti Connected Schools Archives

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

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.

How Schools in Haiti Surprise Us

  1. Posted by Inveneo on August 22, 2012 in the categories: Education, News, Projects

In June, the Inveneo team in Haiti, Sybille Fleischmann, Michelet Guerrier, and Ronald Benjamin took a trip to Ouanaminthe to visit two schools where we deployed computer labs and trained teachers. This initiative was sponsored by Digicel Foundation and Kellogg Foundation.

One of these two schools, Ecole Nationale Ti Laurier, was a concern for us. I am Michelet Guerrier, project manager for the Haiti Connected Schools Program, and I worried about the management of the computer lab, but I was happily relieved. When Ronald and I went to Ecole Nationale Ti Laurier, our visit intended to surprise them, but they surprised us. When I looked at the door and the walls of the lab, there were lots of decorations made by the teachers posted almost everywhere. It was clear to any visitor that it is a well-operated computer lab.

We found Arold Phanord, one of the teachers we had trained in February, deep in a teaching context. Students were being guided and each student in the lab was working on a different program on the computers. A 20-year old 6th grader was on Google searching for information about Jean-Jacques Dessalines and when I interviewed him, he said:

“I did not even know the word ‘òdinatè‘ (‘computer’ in French Creole) before the school received these computers. But now, I have learned so many things in two months, I think I will be smarter from day to day.”

A lot more positive things can be expected from this school. And I hope we can use it as a model to inspire other schools, like those in the Haiti Connected Schools Program.

Haiti Connected Schools: BATI-Led Deployment at Scale

  1. Posted by Inveneo on August 9, 2012 in the categories: Education, News, Projects

In Haiti, schools need more than just relief, they need better access to information and communication technologies to improve student and teacher skills and learning opportunities.

Inveneo collaborated with World Vision, Microsoft, HP, SELF and Voila Foundation to create “The Haiti Connected Schools Program” – a solution that brings sustainable computing solutions and Internet connections to 40 schools in rural Haiti.

Inveneo’s Sybille Fleischmann, Inveneo Country Manager Haiti, and Michelet Guerrier, Haiti Project Manager, have been working with Haitian engineers and technicians, to install solar panels, set up computer labs, and connect the schools to the Internet. As part of the program, teachers receive basic computer classes. The classes are delivered by Inveneo trained local technicians.

Inveneo’s approach integrates school administrations, Haitian solar installers and local technicians in the preparation, deployment and long-term support of the computer labs. After a school is selected the school prepares for the future computer lab, adds security measures where necessary and purchases or builds the furniture for the lab.

When the school is ready to receive the lab the solar panels are installed either on the roof or on poles next to the computer lab and the indoor cabling with inverter and batteries are completed. Shortly thereafter Inveneo certified local technicians install the computer lab and set up the Internet access. Once the lab is ready, teachers are the first to receive a multi-day basic computer course. During this training many of the teachers are touching a computer for the very first time.

Local Deployment via BATI

A key aspect of the program is the BATI – young Haitians with information technology (IT) skills who are trained by Inveneo to deploy high speed, broadband wireless networks and new, relevant technology for educational institutions, like schools, in an entrepreneurial business model. During the school deployments, experienced BATI are training newer BATI, on how to connect clients, deploy and support the computer labs. They also receive coaching and experience providing basic computer classes to teachers and the community.

In fact, the program is now entirely run by Haitians and the results have been remarkable. Two computer labs are being installed each week by two BATI teams working simultaneously. The targeted 40 school deployments are on schedule to be completed by September 2012; so far 28 schools have been completed with 12 more to go – each complete with local ownership and local long-term maintenance.

Students throughout the country are now able to access online educational resources thanks to the help of The Haiti Connected Schools Program. Inveneo’s quick response to delivering long-term solutions offers students and school administrators the best combination of sustainable computing for years to come.

Building Haiti Back Better with Unifi

  1. Posted by Inveneo on July 31, 2012 in the categories: News, Projects, Relief

Late in 2011, Inveneo partnered with Green WiFi and the Illinois Institute of Technology to bring WiFi to a semi-rural school in Lascahobas, Haiti. The team wanted to use the most effective technology but was concerned with the hassles in setting up a shared, wireless WiFi network, which include:

  • The need to change passwords frequently (which take extra steps and time)
  • The inability to automatically add MAC addresses onto systems
  • Users unable to seamlessly roam from one access point (AP) to the next
  • Administrators unable to manage all the APs from one location
  • The need for multitude of cables and AC power outlets for all those Aps

Installing a Unifi access point

Inveneo learned of Ubiquiti Unifi, a WiFi system combining carrier class performance, unlimited scalability, and a virtual management controller all at disruptively low pricing. Inveneo wanted to test it and soon installed Unifi devices at mission*social, a shared workspace in California.

The results came in and Inveneo realized that it was stable and usable. Also, users were able to roam through the space and seamlessly connect from one access point to another without disruption. After Inveneo knew that it worked and was excited about the results, the next step was to install Unifi in Haiti.

At the Haitian school École Fondamentale d’Application Centre d’Appui Pédagogique (EFACAP), Unifi was installed by a partner team of Green WiFi, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Inveneo to ensure that students would have Internet. The Internet backhaul was created by establishing a long-distance link that connected the EFACAP school to a communications tower located in the nearby town, Lascahobas.

Bruce Baikie, Senior Director of Inveneo and President of Green WiFi, provided technical advice to the team throughout the process. Additionally, classes were provided for local technicians to ensure the WiFi connection would have local support and long-term maintenance. With the successful Unifi installation, the school’s 400 laptops can give students access to online educational resources.