Inveneo ICIP Archives

How Will Inveneo Monitor 100 Internet Sites in the Future?

  1. Posted by Inveneo on February 10, 2015 in the categories: News
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Inveneo has been incredibly busy this past month gearing up to create 25 distribution points that will connect 100 sites with solid, reliable Internet connectivity. As part of the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) project, these new Internet connections will be used by Ebola medical centers or NGOs in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

Once these connections are made, how will they be managed? Inveneo is already well underway to answer this question: by creating a NOC (Network Operations Center) that will be located in Accra, Ghana.

Our Inveneo Certified ICT Partner in Accra is TechAide, and this past month our team member Bob Marsh travelled to Accra to begin preliminary training for TechAide technicians who will eventually run the NOC. Kafui Prebbie, the current CEO of TechAide, brought several team members to be part of the training: Selassie Anku, TechAide’s main backup engineer, Courage Anku, its primary NOC engineer, and Godfred Prebbie, TechAide’s CTO.

BobNocTraining1TechAide’s engineers and Bob Marsh spent the first day of training focusing on the theoretical and organizational aspects of the Ebola Response program and the hardware configurations that are deployed in the field. The participants worked on exercises with Ubiquiti equipment, concentrating on how to resolve issues. Eventually Inveneo and TechAide will be using a set of sophisticated cloud-based software tools to manage the NOC.

The engineer’s next steps are to read all the elements of the curriculum materials from the training to further their learning. Bob Marsh was excited to see the enthusiasm of the participants, and our current joint effort is to the make sure the NOC is fully operational by March 4th, 2015. In addition, Inveneo’s Project Engineer Eric Zan will be traveling to Accra in mid-February in order to offer more NOC training before he joins other Inveneo workers in Sierra Leone. Inveneo’s Samuel Perales will also provide follow-on operational training and coaching when he returns to Accra from Sierra Leone in early March.

The NOC has been created to offer our 100 newly connected sites:

  1. Monitoring performance to see if there is a problem.
  2. Responding quickly to a reported problem. This may be fast enough that users in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea will not be aware of any issue.
  3. Diagnosis and dispatching after a problem is reported. Those working at the NOC will figure out if they can fix the issues remotely or not. If they are unable to fix it from Accra, they will contact the Inveneo ICIP that is geographically closest to the problem.

The NOC in Accra, Ghana will constantly monitor all connected sites. For three months after the NOC launches, TechAide workers will work 8 hour shifts and 6 days a week to ensure any problems are quickly dealt with and Internet access is maintained. We certainly applaud all the hard work and time that they will be putting in! Many thanks to TechAide for their partnership and the great work they are doing to keep an eye on the ERCI program’s 100 Internet-connection locations!

BobNocTraining2

Inveneo Awarded the Internet Now! Project in Uganda

  1. Posted by Inveneo on April 5, 2012 in the categories: Economic Development, News, Projects
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Inveneo has been selected for the Internet infrastructure segment of the newly launched Internet Now! Project in Uganda. Working with Oxfam Novib, Arid Lands Information Network, and Samasource, Inveneo will provide computer hardware and Internet connection to 100 planned ICT work centers, all of which are targeted for rural Northern Ugandan regions.

The Internet Now! project aims to implement 100 ICT work centers, that will offer outsourced ICT data services, wireless Internet access via a wireless café hotspot model, and services such as agricultural education and crop pricing information. All of this with the goal to generate increased income and employment in rural communities of northern Uganda.

The network of 100 ICT centers will cover a total population of 872,000 people in the districts of Adjumani, Amuru/Gulu and Moyo. Each center will have two fully equipped and renovated rooms with 10 PC workstations for visitors to use. All centers will be stand-alone solar powered, independent from a grid, and are staffed with a Field Officer and two Knowledge Facilitators, who will provide training and support to center visitors.

Inveneo in conjunction with CLS Ltd., an Inveneo Certified ICT Partner in Uganda, will deploy energy-efficient, high performance computers and reliable Internet connections at each center. In addition, Inveneo will lead the network backbone planning and negotiations with Ugandan ISP’s and wireless carriers.

Inveneo is excited to be part of the Internet Now! project as it will bring Internet connectivity and employment opportunities to an area of Africa where such needs and potential benefits are great.

Over 2 Million People Impacted Globally

  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 11, 2012 in the categories: News
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We’ve been tracking Inveneo’s social impact – our progress in our mission – since 2006. We count the number of communities in which we have ICT interventions, the people we impact in those communities, and entrepreneurial partners we empower to expand our mission sustainably.

We are proud to announce that through 2011, Inveneo and our 85 Inveneo Certified ICT Partners (ICIPs) and 51 Bati Anfòmatik Teknisyen yo ak Inveneo (BATI) have delivered innovative solutions and brought access to life-changing ICTs to more than 2,021,000 people in over 917 communities in 27 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and in Haiti and Palestine.

Our primary focus is education, at 36% of our projects. Health is next with 18%, followed closely by economic development at 17%. Relief projects are 6% of our activity with other types of projects making up the remaining 23%.

Our 2.02 million beneficiaries in 917 communities are a significant increase from 2010, when our reach was to 1.7 million people in 700 communities, and we expect to impact even more lives next year.

Please join us in our goal to reach 3 million people by the end of 2012.

Our Significant Progress in Building Haiti Back Better

  1. Posted by Inveneo on September 14, 2011 in the categories: Economic Development, News
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Inveneo is committed to bringing real economic and education opportunities to Haiti in 2011 through the Haiti Rural Broadband Initiative and related efforts. HRBI is a collaborative program involving Haitian Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Haitian IT entrepreneurs and the many organizations – NGOs and otherwise – that will benefit from access to reliable and affordable broadband Internet. Since its formal launch in January 2011, HRBI continues to make progress in all key program areas.

Our network buildout and infrastructure has rolled out to three rural service areas, Artibonite, Léogâne and Central Plateau, including an 82 km link, our longest yet, and 89 new radios, covering 12 of 22 target communes across the country. This backbone is now fed by three Haitian Internet service providers; Access Haiti, Multilink, and Voila, and is connecting organizations across Haiti already.

The BATI Program has trained 27 BATI entrepreneurs in three provinces, with 39 more in the pipeline, and brought on two new Inveneo Certified ICT Partners (ICIPs), Haiti Telecom Group (HTG) and Transversal. The Haiti Connected Schools (HCS) program completed site surveys at 30 schools with 10 schools identified as the first recipients of ICT interventions, and French content was identified for teachers and students.

We are proud to announce that the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund has invested an additional $259,000 into HCS for solar power (panels, batteries, peripheral equipment) and installation from local power experts for the schools. This is a great vote of confidence in our program and our approach.

Congratulations to the Arid Lands Information Network on winning the $1 million Access to Learning Award

  1. Posted by Inveneo on August 30, 2011 in the categories: Economic Development, News
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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation presented its 2011 Access to Learning Award of $1 million to the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), which provides knowledge and information through a variety of innovative channels in remote communities throughout Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Microsoft, a partner of the foundation in its efforts to help public libraries connect people with relevant technology and skills, will provide ALIN with a donation of over US$270,000 worth of software and technology training curriculum to help the organization serve the local community.

ALIN’s 12 Knowledge Centers – known as Maarifa Centers – focus on providing practical information, particularly in the area of agricultural development. The vast majority of people in these regions are small-scale farmers who need information about issues such as drought, pests, and finding markets for their crops. The centers offer information geared toward the communities’ specific needs.

Maarifa Centers also address health issues such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, ways to improve people’s daily lives such as how to create an energy efficient biogas stove, and administrative requirements such as applying for an official identity card or getting tax exempt status. Some people have used the centers to create groups for the disabled, earn advanced degrees online, or create thriving small businesses.

In Uganda’s northern regions, Maarifa Centers employ Inveneo High-Performance Computing Stations installed by CLS Limited, an Inveneo Certified ICT Partner, to to help community members gain information to improve their health, increase their incomes, and better their lives.

Congratulations to Winafrique: A Bloomberg New Energy Finance Pioneer

  1. Posted by Inveneo on April 20, 2011 in the categories: Economic Development, News
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The Bloomberg New Energy Finance Pioneers program identifies companies from across the world that are making significant gains in the field of clean technology and innovation. A panel of industry experts chose ten honorees by assessing them against three criteria: potential scale, innovation and momentum.

Included in this year’s winners – innovators in bioenergy, energy smart technologies, water and solar – is Winafrique Technologies Limited, an Inveneo Certified ICT Partner (ICIP).

Winafrique Technologies Limited is the first company in East Africa to successfully integrate renewable energy into the telecommunication sector, government projects and private firms. They have installed and are contracted to maintain over 150 wind/solar/diesel hybrid power systems in off-grid base station sites all over Kenya. Winafrique is also deploying solar projects for schools, knowledge centers and health centers, many with Inveneo.

“This award recognizes our work and effort in clean energy space, not only in Kenya but across the globe as innovative and sustainable,” said Mr. Anthony Ng’eno, Winafrique Managing Director,. “I am proud of the world class, game changing work done by Winafrique!!”.

Congratulations to Winafrique! We look forward to working with them as they expand into Angola, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

 

The Technology and Human Capacity Constraints for Sustainable ICT

  1. Posted by Inveneo on February 2, 2011 in the categories: News
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Over the past 6 years, Inveneo and its 68 Inveneo Certified ICT Partners (ICIPs) have delivered innovative solutions and brought access to impactful ICTs to more than 1,700,000 people in over 700 communities in Haiti and 25 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Along the way, we’ve found that appropriate technology and human constraints are the greatest limitations in integrating ICTs to improve social and economic development. ICT solutions need to be specifically designed for challenging environments and must be managed by local organizations with rural ICT expertise for ongoing support and expansion of these systems.

  1. Technology Constraints
    • Expensive Electricity: Rural and other underserved locations rarely have a reliable electrical power infrastructure that can support a standard ICT implementation. Traditional computing systems are therefore cost-prohibitive because they require so much electricity – upwards of 200 watts per computer – when solar installations average $12 per watt.
    • High Heat and Dust: Traditional computers, designed for use in air-conditioned office spaces, can fail when ambient air temperatures reach 38°C or 100°F in dusty settings. Under these conditions a computer can become useless if replacement parts are not available.
    • Computer Viruses: Computer viruses are particularly problematic for underserved communities – the lack of connectivity and access to regular virus software updates often renders anti-virus protection useless over time.
    • Lack of Connectivity: Local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) generally do not offer connectivity in the remote areas where we work and mobile phone data networks often have limited reach and can be prohibitively expensive.
  2. Human Capacity Constraints
    • Inexperienced Users: Because they’ve not had access to ICT, inexperienced users often make simple mistakes that can render computers unusable.
    • Distant Tech Support: All the previous challenges with ICT implementations in underserved communities are compounded by the lack of local capacity to provide technology support and maintenance. Without knowledgeable tech support, any mistake or user error can destroy a system, depriving the community of ICT’s benefits. Yet communities often do not have the means to keep qualified technicians in their midst.

Our Solution


WiFi installation in DRC

At Inveneo, we directly address the two major challenges to implementation of ICTs in rural and other underserved communities – appropriate technology and human capacity – with two interlocking, sustainable solutions:

  1. Appropriate ICT systems: computers, servers, software, wireless connectivity designed specifically for the local challenges these communities face, and
  2. Local capacity building through partner networks of in-country ICT experts who can deliver the installation and ongoing support that is critical for the long-term sustainability of technology projects.

Inveneo’s solutions have real impact with organizations that deliver vital education, healthcare, economic development and relief services to some of the poorest communities in the world. We enable these organizations – NGOs, governments and others – to more effectively serve people in need through technology. We’ve created sustainable community knowledge centers in Kenya accelerated microfinance institutions in Sierra Leone, and brought access to life-changing ICTs in Haiti.

WiFi comes to the Himalayas

  1. Posted by Inveneo on October 23, 2009 in the categories: Government, News
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In August 2009, Inveneo expanded our social impact to Nepal, a primarily rural country of more than more than 28 million people. Only 17% of the population lives in urban areas, and while there is a power grid throughout the country, it is unreliable. Consequently, getting the tools of information and communications technology (ICTs) out to more of the people is quite a challenge.

Inveneo in collaboration with eVeda worked with the Ministry of Information and Communications, Postal Services Division to deploy Inveneo ICTs in post offices in the Eastern Region of Nepal (other Postal Information Centers — or PICs — have been deployed across the country by the Ministry). The Postal Service is the only government division with offices in every village, making it the perfect agency to offer computer and Internet access to the public.

Mark Summer and Andris Bjornson of Inveneo, with Sudip Aryal, ICT Consultant to the Ministry of Information and Communications, spent one week installing an Inveneo server and two VoIP (Voice over IP) phones at the district post office in Dharan. Since this is where the DSL connection provided by Nepal Telecom ended, the team also installed a long-range WiFi connection on a communications relay tower. Additionally, they also performed the installation at one of the post office locations.

The following week four ICT companies — eVedaSoftSpaceSmart Solutions, and Online Computers — plus two people from the Postal Service and two more from NRIDS (Nepal Rural Information Technology Development Society) joined Mark and Andris in Dharan for a week of classroom-based Inveneo Certified ICT Partner training.

Following a week of classroom training the group split into two teams, eight people traveling with Mark to more accessible villages, while a smaller group of four moved into the more remote villages with Andris. At each of six post offices, they installed a WiFi connection, two desktop systems, one VoIP phone, a multifunction printer/scanner/copier, headsets and webcams, as well as a battery backup.

In addition to setting up six offices to sell Internet and VoIP telephone services, the team of Inveneo and ICIPs also trained a Postal Service employee as a computer lab manager. The Postal Service employees now use the VoIP telephones to communicate with each other, as well as to generate income by selling access time.

Using the post offices, which are already in place throughout the country, gives these government buildings a new use. In this way, Nepal is bringing those living in rural parts of the country in closer communication and contact with life and commerce in the major cities.

Mozambique Training Yields New Partners and Healthcare Pilot

  1. Posted by Inveneo on May 20, 2009 in the categories: Healthcare, News
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In May, 2009, Senior Technical Projects Manager, Jaime Bruner, and Network Engineer, Brian Shih, traveled to Mozambique for two weeks of ICIP (Inveneo Certified ICT Partner) training. After a week of classroom training, Jaime and Brian led seven trainees in the installation of Inveneo systems at four UCM-Care clinics in Mangunde, Chibabava, Muligue, and Hode, Mozambique. The training is already a success, with all four companies being certified as ICIPs. This brings the total number of ICIPs to 42 in 15 countries.

The UCM-Care project is a cooperative program with UCM (Universidade Católica de Moçambique — the Catholic University of Mozambique), the University of Pittsburg, the Center for Disease Control, USAID, and HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration, a department of the US Department of Health and Human Services). The goal is to establish infrastructure that can support more effective patient management and increased compliance with ARV treatment regimes for HIV/AIDS patients.

Together, the Inveneo team and ICIP trainees installed 19 Inveneo Computing Stations, three Inveneo Hub Servers, a long-range WiFi network, and four local-area networks. This is the first step in a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of using SMS (text messaging) technology and mobile phones to notify local community health workers about upcoming appointments for patients, check on drug compliance, and check on medication supplies.

The first phase was installing the core computers and connectivity for clinics providing treatment. These systems serve as a foundation upon which applications, such as FrontlineSMS, can run to enhance and streamline communication with community health workers in the field.

Inveneo computers turn a loss into a profit in Nigeria

  1. Posted by Inveneo on July 30, 2008 in the categories: Economic Development, Education, News, Projects
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In BayanLoco, a peri-urban slum of Kafanchan, Nigeria, one organization — Fantsuam Foundation — is working to empower women and other members of this underserved community find jobs and income to meet their needs. As part of its mission, Fantsuam offers ICT skills training to local youth, who often have little — if any — opportunity to learn basic employment skills that can mean the difference between success and a life in poverty.

Before deploying Inveneo computers in March of 2008, Fantsuam had traditional computer labs where donated computers ran unprotected software. The combination of unreliable and expensive power, rampant viruses, and inexperienced users often made the lab inoperable. Not only did the downtime reduce Fantsuam’s ability to offer much-needed training services, but the computer lab also became an overall drain on its resources and finances.

Learning to use computersAfter switching to Inveneo Computing Stations running Ubuntu Linux, powered by deep-cycle marine batteries that are recharged through solar panels, Fantsuam is achieving a whole new level of impact. Now the computer lab has significantly more up-time thanks to easier-to-maintain computer systems and a more reliable and cost-effective energy solution. And the solar-power solution has reduced Fantsuam’s fuel bill for their diesel generator by 35 percent.

Today Fantsuam is able to offer more ICT skills classes on their schedule, not when power is available. Enrollment has jumped 57 percent to an all-time high. In addition to lowering the costs for each class by requiring less energy (plus using solar power) and requiring dramatically less support, the students now have a better and more stable learning environment, which gives them greater confidence with computers.

dusty solar panelsBy lowering the cost of ICT training classes, Fantsuam has taken a financial drain and turned it into a revenue generator. And the new revenue stream allows Fantsuam to expand its training and order ten more Inveneo systems.

Fantsuam was so impressed with the difference that the organization became decided to go though the certification process to become a local Inveneo Certified ICT Partners in order to is roll out more Inveneo-based ICT training centers in its service area.