Inveneo ICT4D Archives

Thank You Solar Library Champions!

  1. Posted by Inveneo on February 16, 2016 in the categories: Projects
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We’re extremely grateful for all of our Generosity campaign supporters!  As of February 16, 2016, nearly 60 people had donated approximately $14,200 to our campaign.  We’re excited to begin assembling the Solar Libraries this month to send to Haiti.

In particular, we’d like to give a big shout out to our three Solar Library Champion supporters!

  • Ann Cude
  • Alexandra Grill-Childers
  • Sharon Penley

Thank you to our Solar Library Champions and to all of our donors for your help and support!

Picture for Siemens Project Campaign

Inveneo’s Solar Powered Digital Library Generosity (by Indiegogo) Campaign!

  1. Posted by Inveneo on November 23, 2015 in the categories: News
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Inveneo is proud to announce the launch of its Generosity (by Indiegogo) campaign, which aims to raise $50,000 to deliver Solar Powered Digital Libraries to 15 remote, rural schools in Haiti.  We are grateful to craigslist’s Craig Newmark for his generous contribution of $10,000!  

The Problem

Throughout the developing world, millions of schoolchildren lack (or only have limited access to) books and basic learning resources, much less computers or the Internet.  Transporting volumes of books or computers to schools can be expensive and logistically daunting.  Digital libraries – tablets or computers (PCs) loaded with thousands of e-books and other educational resources – have begun to enhance learning opportunities in the developing world.  However, many existing digital library solutions require Internet or power.

The Solution

Inveneo’s Solar Powered Digital Library (Solar Library) is ruggedly designed for schools lacking educational resources, Internet, and power.  It includes thousands of e-books, lectures, and other educational resources (e.g. Wikipedia) that can be accessed completely off-the grid.

Call to Action

Donate Today!  Please join our campaign by donating today!  We are extremely grateful for any level of support you can provide.  Thank you!

What's in a Solar Library

Inveneo in Haiti: Digital Literacy for 71 Teachers

  1. Posted by Inveneo on August 18, 2015 in the categories: Publications
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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!

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Inveneo Partners with Protocase on the Solar Powered Micro-Data Center Design Contest

  1. Posted by Inveneo on March 30, 2015 in the categories: News
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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.

protocase logo_big-2Inveneo 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.

Update: Haiti’s Transforming Teaching Through Tablets Project

  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 12, 2015 in the categories: News
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Written by Michelet Guerrier, Inveneo’s Project Manager in Haiti

In our continuing efforts to support the participating schools in the Transforming Teaching Through Tablets (TTT) Pilot Project, we have had constant communication with the teachers who received Google Nexus Tablets loaded with content for professional development and attended Inveneo’s ICT training program, since our last August report.

Besides regular phone calls and emails to school administrators and teachers, we prepared a two month evaluation which we administer to every teacher participant and school administrator to learn more about what has worked well so far and what needs some improvement. This is so we can provide appropriate support either remotely or on-site. This is a good way to keep the teachers engaged in their own professional development process.

TransformingTeachingWe thought it was a wonderful idea to stay in good communication with the teachers to support them when needed and evaluate the ongoing impact of the project. And the perfect time is during school time between September and June (in the case of Haiti) when teachers and students are really active in the teaching-learning process.

Below is the summary report from the first two-month evaluation (September-October 2014) from the teachers in Petit-Goave, Hyacinthe, and Cascade Pichon.

What has the team learned so far? 

Since the submission of their learning portfolio that was a requirement for owning the tablet and participating in our certification ceremony that followed, all the teachers have used their tablets at least five days per week. They have used their individual tablet at home as a reference for lesson planning, reading, and browsing the Internet. At school, it is used as a tool for class instruction whenever possible. Bruny Casseus, a 5th grade teacher at Harry Brakeman says, “With my tablet, I take pictures that I use as teaching materials. I use the French dictionary to look up [a] word’s meaning and spelling when I plan lessons. I also use other applications on the tablet to teach math and facts about animals.” Renault Emilien, who is teaching 6th graders at Ecole Methodiste de Hyacinthe, explains that “being able to use a projector with the tablet in our classrooms is making a big difference in how we teach and how our children learn. We are doing more in less time and the students seem to become more motivated to participate in activities in the classroom”.

Eight teachers at “Ecole Methodiste Hyacinthe” participated in the program and successfully met the requirements of the program. They attended all training sessions, participated actively in workshops, and created and submitted a learning portfolio.

Electricity is still an issue for Harry Brakeman and Cascade Pichon schools. At Harry Brakeman, the teachers have still not found an opportunity to use the projector. The school directed noted that there has been no electricity in the city during the day. In addition, there has been a serious political problem leading to street demonstration in the city since late August 2014 that has terribly affected the functioning of schools in the area.

In Cascade Pichon, one school under construction (with the help of an organization called Heart to Heart) is about to finish. Once fully completed, the school might have a solar power system if funding is found. That will be another huge step in improving education in that community.

We asked the teachers, “in your opinion, what has changed in your teaching thanks to your participation in the techno-pedagogical training program of Inveneo’s TTT project?”

For this question, let me share the teachers’ opinions with you.

According to Marie Therese Philibert, who is responsible for the primary section at Harry Brakeman School: “The tablets are really bringing a change in our school when we consider the applications and resources we have access to now. This is a revolution.”

Catherine Sincere: “I think what has changed in my teaching through my participation in the techno educational training, is how to get and use new and reliable resources to teach in ways that encourage my pupils to better participate in the process. Indeed the Inveneo program allows me to shape young minds and affects the education in an integral way, it shows us how we should exercise our thinking on the subject of education and teaching.”

Emilien Renault (Methodiste Hyacinthe 6th Grade teacher): “With my participation in techno- pedagogical training program of Inveneo, my way of teaching has changed a lot since I implement what I have learned from the training. My students learn better and I find better results. Before I attended the training, I was always the one speaking to the students. But now it is the students who speak and I help them discover the knowledge. I was very surprised to see…what I needed to be a good teacher.

Guirlene Rene (Harry Brakeman 3rd Grade teacher): “After my participation in the techno- pedagogical training program by Inveneo, teaching becomes easier and [it] helps my students learn better.”

Glose Louis (2nd Grade-Harry Brakeman): “After my participation in the training program, I have learned to make my class more active.

Question 2: How have your students benefited from your training and use of technology?

Below are some of the answers from the teachers:

Blaise Enseau (Cascade Pichon School): “My students and I have benefited lots of big things from the program. I have used the videos to teach story tales to the students. The training materials have influenced me to use new working methods. Learning about the technology will help me be a good teacher. I like it when I need to check the meaning of a word in the dictionary. I look and find it very fast. When I am a good teacher, my students will be good students.”

Jean Guithaud Barthelemy (Cascade Pichon School): “This training that I attended with the tablet helps me a lot. I have benefited many things. It has brought me a new method for teaching and [will] help my pupils learn better. It is that I see and understand the real value of the training. I have even introduced my pupils to the use of the tablet.”

Jean Marnochy (Harry Brakeman School): “I can say that the tablet is very useful for course presentation. It helps me plan lessons better and faster.”

Compere Desil (Harry Brakeman School): “With this Inveneo Tablet program, I am happy to have been a participant. Besides my learning of technology, I have also learned new things relating to pedagogy that can help teach my students in a modern way. I am now able to train myself with the training materials available on the tablet, and my students can benefit…This training has encouraged in me the interest for research of new tools [for] teaching and learning.”

Mirlande Benjamin (Harry Brakeman 1st Grade Teacher): “I have shared part of what I learned with Inveneo. My pupils have used my tablet to take pictures and make short videos we use as learning tools for all.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, we can say that these teachers have been learning a lot from the program. New habits have been formed. They have become more aware of what planning teaching for learning involves. And we are happy to have facilitated that to happen. The two biggest challenges encountered since the beginning remain the same: electricity and connectivity. But work is being done to overcome these challenges. The school administrators believe that they will achieve much more with more access to electricity and Internet, which I believe, too.

Because we believe that successful technology deployment results from relevant capacity building and ongoing support, we want to keep this healthy relationship with the school administrators and teachers to keep them on the track of improving their professional practice and students’ learning.

Again, we would like to thank our partners. Please, feel proud of your valuable contributions in making a positive change in the lives of the most vulnerable.

On behalf of these teachers, Emilien Renault, a 6th grade teacher at Methodiste Hyacinthe, would like to congratulate Inveneo and its partners for this beautiful program developed for the improvement of education in rural Haïti.

Inveneo Launches Its Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative

  1. Posted by Inveneo on December 12, 2014 in the categories: Healthcare, News, Projects, Relief
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The ERCI team who met in San Francisco for pre-deployment training.

As the Ebola crisis continues to hit hard in West Africa, Inveneo recently launched its Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) this past week to bring Internet connectivity to doctors, nurses, and others working at medical centers located in Sierra Leone. On Wednesday December 10th, several of our team’s engineers, contractors, and few Volo employees gathered together in San Francisco for pre-deployment training.

The ERCI project is already underway and the Inveneo team has been busy ordering and moving ICT equipment to a warehouse in Accra, Ghana. Several pieces of equipment that we are using for this project include Ubiquiti’s Rocket M5 Radio, AirMax Sectors, RocketDish 30 cBi Dishes, AirFiber5, NanaoBridge M5 25, and the Mikrotik RouterBoard CCR 1009.

Several members of the Inveneo team join Volo in the Ebola Responder Communications Initiative class.

Several members of the Inveneo team join Volo in the Ebola Responder Communications Initiative class.

In addition, our Senior Field Engineer Samuel Perales and contractor Eric Kuhnke will be traveling to Accra, Ghana on Saturday, December 13th. In Ghana, Samuel and Eric will start sorting all the equipment that arrived, and soon they will be joined by several other team members throughout December. Our Sierra Leone partners, called ICIPs (Inveneo Certified ICT Partners), will also travel to Ghana in mid-January to be trained on creating broadband connections. We certainly have a great amount of work ahead of us, and we are certainly glad to be partnering with such a talented team!

After their training is complete our ICIPs and contractors will travel back to Sierra Leone to create Internet connectivity for medical centers that will be used by Ebola victims in the near future. Inveneo will provide long-term support after the technicians have set up Internet connectivity in medical centers so that strong and permanent WiFi connectivity is available to the doctors and medical staff working at those centers.ERCI Logo

Inveneo is no stranger to providing aid after an international disaster hit an area hard, leaving no to little WiFi connectivity. In fact, throughout the past several years Inveneo has responded to devastating crises around the world. In the Philippines we creating emergency Internet connectivity for humanitarian organizations after Super Typhoon Haiyan struck, and starting in 2010, our team assisted Haiti in rebuilding its Internet infrastructure after the devastating earthquake. If you would like to donate to this our impactful ERCI project, please visit our donate page.

Inveneo Welcomes a New Project Manager to the Team

  1. Posted by Inveneo on December 12, 2014 in the categories: News
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Inveneo is happy to welcome our newest staff member, Kelly Doley, who recently joined the team as the Project Manager. Kelly brings a wealth of knowledge to the Inveneo environment. Kelly DoleyHe previously worked as a Program Officer for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) in South Sudan, where he served on the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) for 8 months following the eruption of conflict in December 2013. In South Sudan, Kelly co-managed USAID/OFDA’s humanitarian assistance portfolio, supporting the relief efforts of over 20 U.N. and NGO partners.

Kelly will be working as Project Manager for the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) that we recently launched this past week. Our team will be sending several engineers and contractors to Accra, Ghana for several weeks to work in partnership with technicians from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. Throughout the next few months we will be creating new Internet connections for medical centers located in Ebola-ridden communities. Kelly will be working with our team to manage the project and take numerous safety measures to ensure that our team and partners are safe and use best health practices to avoid Ebola contamination.

Mr. Doley will also be managing the Internet Now! and Ethiopia READ projects. We are very excited to have him on board and look forward to watching our projects grow in impact with his help and support. Welcome to our newest member, Kelly! We’re so glad you joined the team!

Support Inveneo’s Response to Fighting Ebola

  1. Posted by Inveneo on October 23, 2014 in the categories: Healthcare, News, Relief
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Ebola has become an increasingly serious health crisis around the world, and humanitarian aid organizations in West Africa are in critical need of ICTs (Information and Communications Technologies) to effectively support health care workers. In response, Inveneo is assembling a team that is preparing to travel to Accra, Ghana. Once there they will distribute 500 Google Nexus 7 Tablets (which will be pre-loaded with crisis-response apps) to major aid agencies working on the ground in affected areas.

ManandTabletThe Inveneo team, led by Senior Field Engineer Samuel Perales and Executive Director Bruce Baikie, will provide a Tablets for Ebola Responders training, delivering relevant skill sets to aid workers stationed throughout West Africa. This project will support up to 50 aid organizations.

Inveneo is eager to launch this project because of its ability to impact thousands living in communities potentially affected by Ebola. “International relief organizations have been expressing the need for tablets on the ground. Having seen firsthand just how effective these tablets were in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan last year in the Philippines, we are particularly eager to get tablets into the hands of aid organizations working to eradicate Ebola,” explains Samuel Perales.

The Google Nexus 7 tablets will be pre-loaded with software and apps that enable post-crisis communication and coordination. With programs like street-level maps and access to medical information, tablets become powerful ICT tools in the fight against Ebola. Aid workers will be able to deliver medical supplies more quickly and will receive updates and news stories that rural communities desperately need.

Inveneo’s team has been at the forefront in responding to global crises with effective ICTs. In addition to supporting recovery efforts after Super Typhoon Haiyan hit The Philippines in 2013, our team also responded to Haiti’s 2010 earthquake with the rapid build-out of a wireless broadband network that enabled communication necessary for relief and rebuilding efforts. In 2005, we sent team members to Mississippi immediately after hurricane Katrina to assist with rebuilding communications.

Inveneo needs your help to fight Ebola and to raise $185,000 for our Tablets for Ebola Responders project.  Your donation will enable us to provide these needed tablets and training in Ghana to support aid organizations working throughout West Africa. For more information and to support our efforts visit http://inveneo.org/donate

 

The Future of ICTs in Myanmar

  1. Posted by Aaron Mason on March 18, 2013 in the categories: Internal, News
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Attendees look on at the opening ceremony for BarCamp Yangon 2013. Photo: Mark Sum
Attendees look on at the opening ceremony for BarCamp Yangon 2013. Photo: Mark Summer

Recently Mark Summer, Inveneo’s co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer, attended Myanmar’s BarCamp Yangon 2013. BarCamps are locally organized, free-form technology “unconferences” where participants are allowed to present with few limitations, and attendees can participate free of charge. There are no restrictions on who is able to speak or present; organizers are only required to take care of promotion, logistics, and infrastructure for the event while attendees proactively present and choose their own content.

This year’s Myanmar event was the fourth in the country’s history, and by far the largest, growing by 60% to 6,400 attendees. This also made it the largest BarCamp in the history of the event itself. Topics are scheduled daily, and amidst the flurry of action patterns of interest appear. Many are exactly what you’d find at a technology conference anywhere in the world – mobile apps, Facebook marketing, etc. – but the substantial presence of ICT policy, international development and a healthy “by Myanmar, for Myanmar” showing made this an especially interesting event from a ICT4D perspective.

BarCamp Yangon 2013’s fluid daily schedule of events. Photo: Mark Summer
BarCamp Yangon 2013’s fluid daily schedule of events. Photo: Mark Summer

Myanmar has a checkered past with technology. The country has been under military control since 1962 and has been cited with numerous human rights violations. Trade and other sanctions have made inclusion in the digital revolution challenging, if not impossible, as many of the technologies and markets supporting digital entrepreneurship are simply not available to the general public. Military and government-controlled mobile networks produce SIM cards recently costing upwards of US$2,000 (this number has recently been falling to $250) and digital marketplaces like the Apple and Android app stores are still unavailable due to trade sanctions. The 24th most populated country in the world lags with just 3% mobile and 2% facebook penetration. Even daily newspapers are off limits to the private sector, run instead by the state.

In the past few years, however, this has been easing. The military has been relinquishing control over the government, international relations are improving and doors are starting to open across every sector of the economy. This could prove extremely important for ICT as sanctions are expected to ease, licenses for cellular network operators are about to be issued, new ICT laws are being drafted and the international community is engaging more and more with the Myanmar government and local businesses.

At Inveneo we specialize in delivering technology solutions in emerging and underserved areas. Haiti, Kenya, Micronesia… These all fit descriptions you’re familiar with: a developing rural market with little access to social or economic resources. We’re very familiar with the deployment of technology and the patterns that follow surrounding adoption, market growth and sustainability. Connectivity starts as a trickle and quickly grows into a stable stream with demand increasing year over year.

Myanmar, on the other hand, is a dam about to burst.

The government has been freed to define ICT policy and an educated IT sector already exists. Local entrepreneurs are eager to catch up with their neighbors so it’s no surprise that this year’s Myanmar’s BarCamp is the largest in the world with everything from Unicode to Ubuntu – from fundamental Burmese language support to the latest in open source – on the table. This rare combination of eager talent, economic potential and budding support at almost every level is unheard of in most underserved areas, boasting huge immediate potential and a long runway for growth.

“The government is drafting ICT policy that will define how cellular networks and ISPs will function,” said Summer. “Everyone is waiting on this because it will decide where the market will go and what opportunities will be available.”

Attendees learn about ICT business models. Photo: Mark Summer
Attendees learn about ICT business models. Photo: Mark Summer

Even without a solid foundation for ICT development, entrepreneurship is rampant. One app developer Summer met built a business around iPhone app deployment without using the Apple App Store or the Internet. The service is USB-based and tracks the number of uploads to the account-holder’s phone, distributes apps at outlets across the country, collects and pays licensing fees – all offline. Examples like this highlight the country’s potential and beg the question: if an App Store business that works without the internet can thrive, what will we see when the floodgates of real connectivity are opened?

“This is probably where you’ll see a lot of other organizations going in,” said Summer. “There’s a large untapped market, really quite like thailand, that’s just now opening up.”

Summer’s goal in attending the BarCamp was primarily to understand the status of the ICT sector and the current environment for ICT4D and development in general. Inveneo’s focus is on bringing technology to underserved populations, and the solutions being developed in Myanmar may provide useful in other areas. It’s also just incredibly interesting to watch a country figure out ICT policy from the ground up.

“It’s important to understand what government and investments will be focused on, so you can look at what the next set of factors in the sector will be. There are even rumors of fibre being brought in,” said Summer. “But the big questions are all around accessibility and the general public.”

How Can We Strengthen Local Capacity for ICTs in M&E?

  1. Posted by Inveneo on August 27, 2012 in the categories: Events, News
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New technologies are changing the nature of monitoring and evaluation, as seen in our previous Salon on the use of ICTs in M&E. However, the use of new technologies in M&E efforts can seem daunting or irrelevant to those working in low resource settings, especially if there is little experience or low existing capacity with these new tools and approaches.

What is the role of donors and other intermediaries in building local capacity for communities and development partners to use new technologies to enhance monitoring and evaluation efforts.?

M & E

This August 30, join the Rockefeller Foundation, the Community Systems Foundation, and your friends at the Technology Salon for the second of three Salon discussions around the use of new technologies for monitoring and evaluating development outcomes. Some aspects we will be discussing, include:

  1. How are smaller organizations, development agencies and communities incorporating these tools in sustainable ways? Are there any well-documented case studies?
  2. What examples exist of blending new ICT tools and traditional M&E approaches to adapt to local contexts?
  3. What local or regional intermediaries exist who can support this process?
  4. How can donors and other intermediaries help encourage and strengthen M&E capacity in local organizations, institutions and individuals?

We will have 3 thought leaders joining us for the session:

  1. The World Bank's Innovation and Governance team (discussant name TBC) will share how the Bank has worked with intermediaries on open data and open government and the potential role of Technology Hubs
  2. Tom O'Connell, UNICEF Health Specialist, will discuss capacity strengthening on local health systems
  3. Revati Prasad, Senior Program Officer at Internews, will talk about how the organization goes about strengthening local capacity with their partners and in local communities.

As always, we hope you will bring your experiences to the Salon as well for a lively and engaging round-table discussion on the ways that new technologies are changing how we work.

   Strengthening Local Capacity for ICTs in M&E
   August Technology Salon New York City
   9-10:30am, Thursday, August 30, 2012
   The Rockefeller Foundation
   420 Fifth Avenue
   New York City, NY (map)

We’ll have coffee, tea and light breakfast for a morning rush, but seating is limited so RSVP ASAP to be confirmed for attendance or you will end up on the waitlist.

For those attending, please arrive 15 minutes early to clear security and be sure to bring photo ID.



About the Technology Salon™

Our subscribersThe Technology Salon™ is an intimate, informal, and in person, discussion between information and communication technology experts and international development professionals, with a focus on both:

  1. technology’s impact on donor-sponsored technical assistance delivery, and
  2. private enterprise driven economic development, facilitated by technology.

Our meetings are lively conversations, not boring presentations. Attendance is capped at 20 people – and frank participation with ideas, opinions, and predictions is actively encouraged.  It's also a great opportunity to meet others motivated to employ technology to solve vexing development problems. Join us today!