Inveneo NetHope Archives

Inveneo Delivers 100 New Internet Connections for Ebola Fight in West Africa

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 18, 2015 in the categories: Events
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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.

End Users

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

Facebook
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
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
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.
http://www.everylayer.com

Inveneo
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.
http://www.inveneo.org

NetHope
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.
http://www.nethope.org

What Is Inveneo Doing in the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) Project?

  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 21, 2015 in the categories: News
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Inveneo recently co-launched the exciting announcement about its partnership in expanding ICT support in West Africa in order to fight and stop the spread of Ebola. Our team is proud to recently partner up with Cisco, Facebook, EveryLayer, NetHope, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in order to provide sustainable Internet connectivity in medical centers in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. These new Internet connections will enhance Internet connectivity for relief agencies, reorder supplies, and more. The Inveneo team will be working hard with our Inveneo Certified ICT Partners (ICIPs) in Sierra Leone and other parts of West Africa to ensure connectivity for those who need it most in Ebola-stricken communities.

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Members of a training session that Inveneo held in San Francisco.

As a partner of the ERCI project, Inveneo recently hosted a training session for all current and incoming Inveneo contractors and engineers. Led by EveryLayer’s Andris Bjornson, the training session provided our engineers specific details on how EveryLayer designed the project’s broadband solution. According to our recent Press Release, our project “is based on a combination of extending satellite technology and strengthening existing service provider networks with carrier-grade Wi-Fi technology. The network can be deployed at a lower cost and on a faster time horizon than traditional mobile networks.” It is Inveneo’s job going forward to deploy this architectured solution and bring it to a full reality. We will be doing so while working alongside local partners as well to ensure that sustainable, low-cost Internet connectivity is available in relief agency offices and medical centers long after Inveneo staff leave West Africa.

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Preliminary planning meeting in Accra. From left to right: Inveneo’s Eric Kunke, Emerson Tan, Inveneo’s Senior Field Engineer Samuel Perales, Kafui Prebbie, and Inveneo ICIP Eugene Tani-Luke. Photo Credit: Eugene Tani-Luke/Inveneo

Going forward, Inveneo will have staff members or local partners continuously in Ghana and Sierra Leone. We recently deployed Senior Field Engineer Samuel Perales and Engineer Eric Kuhnke to Accra, Ghana to coordinate with staff of NetHope and other NGOs to plan next steps. They have been taking extensive preventative measures to ensure health and safety at all times. In addition, much of our equipment has been arriving in a warehouse in Accra, Ghana, and in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and our staff has been very busy organizing all the equipment.

Our team is thrilled to work together with our partners and ICIPs throughout the ERCI project. We will keep you updating on how the project is progressing with posts, photos, interviews and more. Best of luck to our staff members and local partners – be safe and we look forward to watching the ERCI project unfold!

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A VSat installation at Port Loko Ebola Treatment Center in Sierra Leone – Photo Credit: Eugene Tani-Luke/Inveneo

Partnership Expands ICT Support for Ebola Fight in West Africa

  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 21, 2015 in the categories: Events, External, News, Press
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DAVOS, SwitzerlandJan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — NetHope, a consortium of 42 leading international humanitarian organizations, announced today a partnership with Facebook, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Cisco, EveryLayer and Inveneo to expand their support for effective communications capabilities to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and promote sustainable recovery in the region.

The joint Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) will deliver high-speed broadband Internet access to Ebola responders based in hundreds of Ebola treatment facilities, NGO offices, and additional logistical hubs in Sierra LeoneLiberia and Guinea. Reliable communications capacity is an essential tool for response organizations combating the outbreak, which has killed more than 8,600 people according the World Health Organization. Slow, unreliable access to the Internet remains a major challenge for coordinating the Ebola relief effort, particularly in some of the hardest hit areas that lack any form of high-speed broadband. Existing networks have also been strained by the influx of relief workers and agencies in the region, increasing demand on the already fragile infrastructure. Effective ICT capacity enables rapid access and exchange of information, real-time case management and contact tracking, outbreak mapping, community mobilization, and supply and logistics management.

“Effective communications and information sharing is simply fundamental to the work of our teams and local partners fighting this complex emergency in West Africa,” said Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International, a global humanitarian organization providing community-based health centers, public health information campaigns, medical and food supplies, and training for health workers in West Africa. “The ability of our teams to access and share information in real time is not simply a matter of greater efficiency — it simply saves lives.”

The ERCI expands on the participating organizations’ support for rapid-deployment communications solutions delivered to West Africa in late 2014 to meet immediate needs on the ground. That initial support for Ebola response organizations included:

  • Facebook’s donation of 100 satellite terminals to provide emergency connectivity to high-priority locations within Ebola affected countries
  • Connectivity accelerator funds provided by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to increase existing connectivity at 45 locations, many of which will serve as connectivity distribution sites for ERCI
  • These initial deployments have provided emergency communications capability to more than 25 NetHope member NGOs and other response organizations with more than 3,000 staff and volunteers working on the frontlines of the crisis

“As we’ve worked together in recent months to support the connectivity needs of response organizations and impacted communities, there has been a clear recognition by all involved of two central facts: the scope of the challenge is enormous and communications capacity is essential for virtually every Ebola response related intervention,” said NetHope CEO Lauren Woodman. “This unique collaboration among global leaders in technology, philanthropy and the NGO sector harnesses their combined commitment, innovation and expertise to meet the immense challenges in both the short and long term.”

The joint initiative will significantly expand the scope and sustainability of the communications capacity, supporting thousands of response workers and ultimately millions of individuals through:

  • Deployment and operation of additional infrastructure and equipment in the impacted countries through support from Facebook and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. This will be based on the priority needs of NetHope NGO members and other response organizations with a focus on shared services with local partners and long-term benefit for local communities.
  • Data analysis on connectivity in the impacted countries, conducted by Facebook’s Data Science Team. This includes working closely with NetHope and mobile network operators to map locations that have the geographic need for Internet connectivity and the technological capability to provide it.
  • On-site hotspot equipment and financial support from Cisco Meraki, that enables responders to connect laptops, phones and tablets to improve all communications related to the relief effort.
  • The broadband solution, architected by EveryLayer and deployed by Inveneo and its certified partners, is based on a combination of extending satellite technology and strengthening existing service provider networks with carrier-grade Wi-Fi technology. The network can be deployed at a lower cost and on a faster time horizon than traditional mobile networks.
  • Partnerships with local mobile network operators and improvements to local infrastructure will ensure that communities have access to long-term, low-cost connectivity beyond the short-term Ebola relief effort.

“The Internet can be an enabler for basic needs like healthcare, and we are seeing that firsthand with Ebola response efforts,” said Chris Weasler, Facebook’s Director of Global Connectivity. “The communications capacity that we are implementing with this extraordinary partnership is one step in supporting the work that the doctors, nurses and health professionals have bravely led in West Africa. We believe that ERCI can deliver critical tools, talent and resources to help those on the front lines access and send lifesaving information and stay in touch with their families and friends at home. By providing courageous medical professionals with the right support, we hope to encourage others to follow their path and fight the spread of this disease.”

“From the early stages of this crisis we recognized the need for connectivity and data collection in containing and ultimately stopping Ebola,” said Gabrielle Fitzgerald, Ebola Program Lead for the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “Working together we can build an infrastructure that will have an immediate impact as well as long-term effect to help the countries recover once this crisis is over.”

“Every day, we see people face seemingly overwhelming issues. Working with partners, using our expertise and technology, we can help respond to critical human needs. We do this through Cisco’s employees and our technology; bringing people together to tackle global challenges faster,” said Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs. “By providing the resources, the technology and the experience to address the connectivity demands of the first responders, aid organizations and governments, we hope to multiply the positive impact of connecting the experts who are working tirelessly toward a breakthrough in the fight against the spread of this disease.”

“High-speed, reliable Internet access is a key lever to stopping the spread of Ebola,” said Mark Summer, CEO and Co-founder of EveryLayer. “An additional benefit to ERCI’s approach is that once we’ve won the fight against Ebola, the broadband infrastructure and partnerships will stay in place and continue to deliver high-speed Internet to local businesses and customers, which will help communities thrive for years to come.”

“ICT is an important tool in combating Ebola. Inveneo is excited to build out key communication infrastructure to support needed ICT tools. We are leveraging our local partners in country to assure locally trained personnel support the effort and to provide long-term sustainability,” said Bruce Baikie, Executive Director of Inveneo.

About the ERCI Partners 

About Facebook
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.

About The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Launched by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Jo Lynn 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 $446 million to more than 1,400 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, go to www.pgafamilyfoundation.org.

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) 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.

About EveryLayer
EveryLayer (formerly Volo Broadband) enables broadband service providers (ISPs and Mobile Network Operators) in emerging markets to provide radically lower cost high-speed services in weeks, not months. EveryLayer’s cloud-based ISP network and service automation platform simplifies how providers design and manage fixed wireless networks, set up and provision services, and serve and bill customers. EveryLayer’s expert team provides technical and commercial design blueprints and training, enabling service providers to gain skills to rapidly deploy lower cost fixed wireless networks and broadband services using carrier grade last-mile WiFi networking technologies. EveryLayer is the partner for service providers who are ready to deliver better, faster, cheaper broadband everywhere.

About Inveneo
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.

About NetHope
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.

 

SOURCE NetHope

RELATED LINKS
http://www.nethope.org

Twitter Chat on Dec. 4 with ICTworks and USAID: #ICTchat

  1. Posted by Inveneo on December 1, 2014 in the categories: Events
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Safety and transparency are very important issues when it comes to sending and receiving digital payments within developing countries. Establishing trust in digital payments system and sufficient levels of consumer protection and transparency of service terms are key to broader adoption of digital payments. What’s being done to help reduce this concern?

To bring this issue to the forefront, the ICTworks community is joining with the Global Broadband and Innovations Alliance (GBI), a partnership between USAID and NetHope, and the Better Than Cash Alliance to host a Twitter Chat as we near International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9th, 2014.

Join us on December 4th at 12 noon Eastern time using the #ICTchat hashtag to debate the merits and issues of digital payments with four thought leaders:

We’ll start off with a quick round of introductions and then dive into three key questions on the safety and transparency of digital payments:

  1. How are digital payments safer for those making and receiving payments in developing countries?
  2. What digital payments consumer protection standards and best practices are emerging for transparency in fees and terms of service?
  3. GSMA recently released a code of conduct for mobile money operators. What does this do and what does it mean for transparency?

As with all our Twitter Chats, it will be a fast-paced, global conversation that you’ll not want to miss. So mark your calendar now:

Twitter Chat: Digital Payments in Developing Countries
December 4, 2014
9am-10:30am PST (17:00 GMT)
Join with the hashtag #ICTchat

See you on December 4th!

DadaabNet Project Report

  1. Posted by Inveneo on April 2, 2014 in the categories: Publications
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DadaabProjectReportThe refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya saw a population spike from 300,000 to over 500,000 after famine, drought, and civil war resulted in a humanitarian crisis. In order to serve Dadaab refugees, Inveneo and partners NetHope and USAID identified opportunities to bring better, more reliable Internet and interagency communications to the many humanitarian agencies working in Dadaab.

NetHope recently published a March 2014 DadaabNet Project Report to offer an extended list of the project’s results. Read the report here or find out more about Inveneo’s work within the project here.

The Dadaab Connect project was funded by Inveneo’s Broadband for Good Program, Cisco, Microsoft, NetHope, Craig Newmark, the Orr Family Foundation, UNHCR, and USAID’s Global Broadband Innovations Program.

Digital Literacy for Haiti Rebuilding

  1. Posted by Aaron Mason on April 15, 2013 in the categories: News
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Mercidieu François assisting two DLHR participants at College Mahatma Gandhi
Mercidieu François assisting two DLHR participants at College Mahatma Gandhi

The riverside city of Hinche sits high on Haiti’s fertile central plain, sixty miles northeast of the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince. A rural community of roughly 50,000, Hinche has remained untouched by many modern conveniences. Before municipal electricity became available in 2012 townspeople would gather outside the mayor’s office to watch a single television screen swiveled to face out into the street. A few of the city’s central streets have been paved with concrete, but many of the city’s straining oxcarts and pickup trucks still travel over knobby dirt and gravel roads. And while many carry mobile phones, access to computers and the Internet has been nearly nonexistent.

In the spring of 2012 Inveneo and NetHope launched the Intel-funded Digital Literacy for Haiti Rebuilding (DLHR) program, providing basic computer training to more than a thousand community members in rural Haitian communities like Hinche. The majority of participants come directly from the small, rural communities where the training center computer labs are located; some ford rivers and walk for several hours to attend the trainings. For many, this is their first time touching a computer. Learning quickly, they use their new skills to further their education, improve their businesses or hunt for a job.

The DLHR program builds off of one of Inveneo’s previous projects: the Haiti Connected Schools (HCS) program. Through the HCS program Inveneo and their Haitian IT partners deployed solar-powered computer labs in schools in 40 locations across rural Haiti. Connected to the Internet, these labs provide an opportunity for students, teachers and administrators to augment academic lessons with computer-based technologies.

By making use of resources already deployed in the field, the DLHR program expands accessibility to community members based near these schools. Both schools and communities benefit from the program: schools gain long-term financial sustainability of the computer labs by offering computer training beyond the school population; community members learn computer and Internet basics, skills that help them participate in a modern economy. Local teachers, technicians and interested community members also have opportunities to participate in advanced training modules and become Community IT Instructors. These Community IT Instructors form the backbone of the program, inspiring other community members and acting as a local resource to provide computer training long beyond the limited timeframe of the program.

One of these Community IT Instructors is Mercidieu François. Mercidieu was hired as a lab administrator at College Mahatma Gandhi in Hinche after the school received a computer lab through HCS. The young Haitian had previously completed a year of Microsoft Office training at a local vocational school and had some experience teaching, but had never received formal training as a teacher. Mercidieu jumped at the opportunity to participate in the training to become a Community IT Instructor.

Mercidieu presenting at the December DLHR workshop
Mercidieu presenting at the December DLHR workshop

Together with teachers and technicians from all over Haiti, Mercidieu participated in two workshops on teaching techniques. He learned about lesson planning, teaching methods and pedagogy and how to use IT in the classroom. Mercidieu says the workshops helped him formalize his understanding of what it means to be a teacher.

“It was a good experience for me,” said Mercidieu. “I learned some strategies I can use with my future students and I love the simplicity of the documentation they used to teach… From these workshops, I learned about questions to ask myself when I have to plan a lesson… What makes me happy about participating in this program is that it has helped me to learn how I can teach effectively.”

During the first community training in Hinche, Mercidieu started as an observer, quickly moving into more active roles, first as an assistant instructor and then as lead instructor. Today Mercidieu coordinates and teaches computer classes for students and community members, and uses his experience to coach other teachers.

With this experience and training, Mercidieu has become known in his community as a capable and qualified computer instructor, with schools and colleges in and around Hinche asking him to teach classes. The additional income from teaching these courses allows Mercidieu to continue his studies at Queensland University in Hinche. In addition to the financial benefits, Mercidieu values the way the DLHR program has grown his ability to share his enthusiasm for learning and teaching computer concepts:

“As a teacher of computers and Microsoft Office, after completing two sessions on the techniques of teaching, there is in me a kind of metamorphosis. That is to say, a transformation in the way I expose courses now in different institutions in my home area… I am practicing [different techniques of facilitation] and I am teaching in a better way.”

All told, DLHR is expected to train 40 IT instructors, providing skills and access to over 3000 community members throughout rural Haiti. With 30 trainers working and over 700 students enrolled so far, Mercidieu and his cohort are well on their way.

Mercidieu and a fellow community IT instructor prepare a lesson plan for a class on Microsoft Excel 2010.
Mercidieu and a fellow community IT instructor prepare a lesson plan for a class on Microsoft Excel 2010

Digital Literacy for Haiti Rebuilding

  1. Posted by sguser on April 15, 2013 in the categories: News
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Mercidieu François assisting two DLHR participants at College Mahatma Gandhi
Mercidieu François assisting two DLHR participants at College Mahatma Gandhi

The riverside city of Hinche sits high on Haiti’s fertile central plain, sixty miles northeast of the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince. A rural community of roughly 50,000, Hinche has remained untouched by many modern conveniences. Before municipal electricity became available in 2012 townspeople would gather outside the mayor’s office to watch a single television screen swiveled to face out into the street. A few of the city’s central streets have been paved with concrete, but many of the city’s straining oxcarts and pickup trucks still travel over knobby dirt and gravel roads. And while many carry mobile phones, access to computers and the Internet has been nearly nonexistent.

In the spring of 2012 Inveneo and NetHope launched the Intel-funded Digital Literacy for Haiti Rebuilding (DLHR) program, providing basic computer training to more than a thousand community members in rural Haitian communities like Hinche. The majority of participants come directly from the small, rural communities where the training center computer labs are located; some ford rivers and walk for several hours to attend the trainings. For many, this is their first time touching a computer. Learning quickly, they use their new skills to further their education, improve their businesses or hunt for a job.

The DLHR program builds off of one of Inveneo’s previous projects: the Haiti Connected Schools (HCS) program. Through the HCS program Inveneo and their Haitian IT partners deployed solar-powered computer labs in schools in 40 locations across rural Haiti. Connected to the Internet, these labs provide an opportunity for students, teachers and administrators to augment academic lessons with computer-based technologies.

By making use of resources already deployed in the field, the DLHR program expands accessibility to community members based near these schools. Both schools and communities benefit from the program: schools gain long-term financial sustainability of the computer labs by offering computer training beyond the school population; community members learn computer and Internet basics, skills that help them participate in a modern economy. Local teachers, technicians and interested community members also have opportunities to participate in advanced training modules and become Community IT Instructors. These Community IT Instructors form the backbone of the program, inspiring other community members and acting as a local resource to provide computer training long beyond the limited timeframe of the program.

One of these Community IT Instructors is Mercidieu François. Mercidieu was hired as a lab administrator at College Mahatma Gandhi in Hinche after the school received a computer lab through HCS. The young Haitian had previously completed a year of Microsoft Office training at a local vocational school and had some experience teaching, but had never received formal training as a teacher. Mercidieu jumped at the opportunity to participate in the training to become a Community IT Instructor.

Mercidieu presenting at the December DLHR workshop
Mercidieu presenting at the December DLHR workshop

Together with teachers and technicians from all over Haiti, Mercidieu participated in two workshops on teaching techniques. He learned about lesson planning, teaching methods and pedagogy and how to use IT in the classroom. Mercidieu says the workshops helped him formalize his understanding of what it means to be a teacher.

“It was a good experience for me,” said Mercidieu. “I learned some strategies I can use with my future students and I love the simplicity of the documentation they used to teach… From these workshops, I learned about questions to ask myself when I have to plan a lesson… What makes me happy about participating in this program is that it has helped me to learn how I can teach effectively.”

During the first community training in Hinche, Mercidieu started as an observer, quickly moving into more active roles, first as an assistant instructor and then as lead instructor. Today Mercidieu coordinates and teaches computer classes for students and community members, and uses his experience to coach other teachers.

With this experience and training, Mercidieu has become known in his community as a capable and qualified computer instructor, with schools and colleges in and around Hinche asking him to teach classes. The additional income from teaching these courses allows Mercidieu to continue his studies at Queensland University in Hinche. In addition to the financial benefits, Mercidieu values the way the DLHR program has grown his ability to share his enthusiasm for learning and teaching computer concepts:

“As a teacher of computers and Microsoft Office, after completing two sessions on the techniques of teaching, there is in me a kind of metamorphosis. That is to say, a transformation in the way I expose courses now in different institutions in my home area… I am practicing [different techniques of facilitation] and I am teaching in a better way.”

All told, DLHR is expected to train 40 IT instructors, providing skills and access to over 3000 community members throughout rural Haiti. With 30 trainers working and over 700 students enrolled so far, Mercidieu and his cohort are well on their way.

Mercidieu and a fellow community IT instructor prepare a lesson plan for a class on Microsoft Excel 2010.
Mercidieu and a fellow community IT instructor prepare a lesson plan for a class on Microsoft Excel 2010

Digital Literacy Brings Hope to Women in Rural Haiti

  1. Posted by Michelet Guerrier on March 19, 2013 in the categories: News, Uncategorized
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nancy_speaking
Nancy Jean-Pierre speaking on the last day of her training on how much she’s learned.

The Haitian town of Dessalines sits in the middle of the country’s northern Artibonite Department. Spread out over 460 square kilometers the rural countryside around Dessalines is home to just over 12,000 people, as well as two of the 25 schools participating in a digital literacy program funded by the Intel Foundation. Launched by Inveneo and NetHope, Digital Literacy for Haiti Rebuilding (DLHR) offers basic computer training in Haitian communities like Dessalines and provides schools with the resources to continue the courses once the program ends. To date more than 500 people have taken part in the training, nearly 60 percent of whom have been women.

Nancy Jean-Pierre is one of these women. 20 years old, single and without children, Nancy was among the 27 attendees at the program’s first course given earlier this month at Institution Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In 2012 the school received a solar-powered computer lab as part of Inveneo’s Haiti Connected Schools program and is one of the many sites that DLHR uses as community training centers.

Having not yet passed the state exams, Nancy’s still considered an 11th grade student.

“After I failed the baccalaureate last year,” Nancy said, “I felt ashamed and hopeless. I did not want to go back to school. I wanted to learn something to be my profession. I went to a computer course for several months but did not learn much because the school did not have computers for practice.”

“So when I learned about Inveneo coming to give a special course here in Dessalines, I did not want to miss it. I came and I have learned so much with the instructors that I feel I can teach now. I would have lost a big part of my life if I had missed this course. I will continue to learn computers and help others who do not know. And that will be my profession.”

Nancy believes technology has the power to change her own life as well as the lives of people in her community. Dessalines may by a rural farming center, but there is overwhelming interest in learning how to use computers and the Internet. Farmers and businesswomen alike have taken the course, wanting to stay current with technology to make sure they’re not left behind. They hope that their experience learning to use computers will open their eyes to better ways to do their jobs and run their businesses. Younger participants are considering entirely new career paths focusing on IT.

The standard computer course involves 24 hours of class time and covers computer fundamentals (mouse, keyboard, etc.) and the basics of Microsoft Word, email and the Internet. Two sections of twelve students each – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – ensure that 24 participants get hands-on training with computers throughout the entirety of each course.

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Nancy receiving her certificate. From left: Rigaud Bel, Nancy Jean-Pierre, Michelet Guerrier

And while providing substantial benefit to participants, the courses are also proving to be economically sustainable. Attendees at Institution Jean-Jacques Rousseau paid 400 HTG, the equivalent of roughly US$10, for the full course. Future classes – which are already filling up – are being offered at 750 HTG. With the course fee that the schools collect, they can pay for trainers, Internet connectivity and ongoing maintenance of the lab.

Looking back at the training, Nancy feels she’s learned most of the important basics:

“I can type and format all kinds of texts. At least I can work as a typist now and I will make some money. I know how to do research on the Internet, which I think is very important for everyone because here we do not even have libraries. But with the Internet, we can find information about everything.

“For this reason, I am in this computer lab almost every day. Sometimes I stay here on the computer 3 or 4 hours a day to do typing exercises and research on the Internet. And with the Internet, email and Facebook, I am happy that I can connect with people everywhere. I am a member of a Facebook group that has many people with whom I can share everything I want. I love the Internet!”

Inspired by the patience and teaching skills of her instructors, Nancy offered to assist in future classes at Institution Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In response the school has agreed to hire her previous instructor and to bring Nancy on as an assistant. Nancy will have access to technology, mentorship of her instructors and the possibility of a small salary.

Rigaud Bel, one of the program’s community IT instructors, hopes to help Nancy develop the confidence needed to take over the course entirely, teaching future classes on her own.

Women like Nancy are inspiring examples of how DLHR is changing lives. With more than 500 past participants and another 200 women expected in the coming weeks, schools are looking to expand their programs to include courses in Microsoft Excel and advanced Internet usage.

With these skills women coming out of the program will be able to do more than simply compete in Haiti’s emerging job market. They’ll know they’re not alone, and they’ll be able to stay connected online where collaboration, sharing and learning continue to thrive.

Michelet Guerrier is a project manager for Inveneo working in Haiti.

How Better Connectivity Can Help Dadaab, the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 6, 2012 in the categories: News, Projects, Relief
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The worst drought and famine in more than 60 years have threatened the livelihood of 9.5 million people in the Horn of Africa since early 2011. Refugees from Somalia continue to arrive in Kenya by the tens of thousands, making the Dadaab complex now the world’s largest refugee camp ever with almost 500,000 counted and perhaps as many as 100,000 more unregistered.

UNHCR (the UN High Commission for Refugees) is the lead agency responding to this crisis, and many major humanitarian agencies including Care, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee are operating in Dadaab providing critical services such as food distribution, housing, sanitation and medical relief. The teams are stretched to their limits. To make matters even more difficult Al Shabaab, the Somali-based terrorist group, recently escalated its activities in and around the camps, making the operations more dangerous for the refugees and the agencies providing vital assistance.

How Better Connectivity Can Help

In the fall of 2011, Inveneo was invited by NetHope, a consortium of 34 member Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Program to identify opportunities to bring better, more reliable Internet and interagency communications to the many humanitarian agencies working in the region. Inveneo and NetHope mobilized teams to travel to arid northeast Kenya, to assess the situation in detail, and to determine what could be accomplished.

On the ground in Dadaab, it was clear from the United Nations (UN) and NGO community that bringing incremental, reliable and affordable Internet access would lead to better overall communications, coordination and security thereby increasing the staff capacity to deliver critical and life-sustaining food, housing, sanitation and medical care. Inveneo, working with Cisco’s TacOps could install and configure a local high-speed network, the Dadaab organizations could immediately begin to collaborate and share information more effectively. An existing UNHCR-led network initiative for smaller NGOs and community centers needed to be reviewed substantively to ensure that any new networking designs would be compatible, complimentary and synergistic.

NetHope, Inveneo and TacOps obtained commitments from Cisco to donate equipment, and from USAID and UNHCR to provide funding. It was determined that there were two major areas where Inveneo could bring technical and strategic expertise to make a real difference.

  1. First, we initiated and led a strategic business and engineering partnership with Orange, a local Kenyan mobile and landline telecommunications service provider, to extend new data services into the Dadaab compound using our long-distance WiFi solutions. NetHope aggregated the demand for the new service among the Dadaab aid community, and we secured agreement from Orange to a preferred pricing arrangement as well as to adequate initial and ongoing capacity. Orange is making their highly reliable Internet connectivity available by providing backhaul from their existing Dadaab tower to international fiber networks. We designed a detailed, local distribution network and training plan to enable Orange and prequalified Dadaab IT staff to quickly grasp, support and connect to the Inveneo-designed access solutions.
  2. Second, Inveneo and TacOps would co-design a high-speed network to connect the Dadaab agencies locally and to enable bandwidth-intensive, intra-agency collaboration technologies like file sharing, video conferencing designed by Cisco and voice over IP telephony applications. This collaboration network, DadaabNET, would also provide a Cisco router-based failover configuration to switch agency traffic to a 4-Mbps, UNHCR-provided satellite system in the event of primary connection failure. This effort involved IP addressing and configuration support from both Cisco and Inveneo as well as consultative engineering support from UNHCR and the Dadaab Aid Agency IT staff.

Status and Results

Inveneo’s work was successfully completed in March 2012. During the week of March 12, we trained in-country technical teams from Orange, from the Dadaab-based NGO technical staff, and from our local Inveneo Certified ICT Partner Setright. Orange hosted the classroom training session in Nairobi that provided hands-on instruction on long distance WiFi. We offered our custom practical curriculum in both network design and installation. Then the training moved outside to physically install equipment on buildings and way up on an Orange telecommunications tower. Inveneo has a strong partnership with Petzl to share safe climbing at height techniques in developing countries with communications workers. The trainings were held in Nairobi because a risk assessment determined Dadaab too insecure at that time.

During the week of March 19, Inveneo, NetHope, Setright and Cisco’s local gold partner Dimension Data teams traveled to Dadaab. Monday and Tuesday, our team worked side-by-side with the newly trained NGO, Orange and Setright teams in Dadaab, giving them the guidance and confidence to successfully complete the Orange and UNHCR tower installations.

The Orange tower is the hub for the access network and the UNHCR tower is the hub for DadaabNET. Dimension Data was also busy meeting with IT staff at the installation sites: consulting with Cisco-led TacOps engineers, training local staff and completing the initial router configurations.

As part of the training and skills building plan, we left Dadaab late Tuesday afternoon to cover training the Orange Network Operations Center in Nairobi. While away, the six newly trained agency staff were charged with the installation of Customer Premise Equipment for both the access and DadaabNET networks. The team includes staff from UNHCR, World Food Program, Norwegian Refugee Counsel, Care, Oxfam and Kenya Red Cross so it was truly an interagency support group. The expectation was that four or five sites could be installed, and then reviewed and verified after our return. On Thursday in Dadaab, we found our expectations were far exceeded.

The DadaabNET team installed 19 radios at ten agency locations. For two days, we verified the work and fine-tuned the implementations. Future installs and troubleshooting can now be completed by the local IT team with our team positioned to provide remote support for existing and ongoing humanitarian agency installations. The DadaabNET team has taken full ownership of the networks.

All future troubleshooting, support and installations will be managed frontline by the local DadaabNET interagency team. By the same count, Dimension Data, working with Cisco TacOps successfully implemented and tested routing at all ten newly installed locations and ensured a good hand-off to the DadaabNET team.

The initial bandwidth contracted was fully installed. Orange is on track to add triple the amount available to keep pace with demand and to meet new service order expectations.

This connectivity is already enabling the humanitarian agencies to function better, to communicate between agencies, and to support overall operations. They also have plans to move more costly VSAT systems to failover mode. As the new network architecture is tried and proven to be more reliable and cost effective, it will be extended to the general population via sustainable outreach community centers that support learning, resettlement and economic empowerment.

As a result of this project, Inveneo, Cisco, NetHope and Orange will also continue to grow their partnerships and collaborations so that there will be ever increasing opportunities to extend broadband across rural Kenya and beyond.

The Dadaab Connect project is funded by Inveneo’s Broadband for Good Program, Cisco, Microsoft, NetHope, Craig Newmark, the Orr Family Foundation, UNHCR, and USAID’s Global Broadband Innovations Program.

How Better Connectivity Can Help Dadaab, the World's Largest Refugee Camp

  1. Posted by sguser on June 6, 2012 in the categories: News, Projects, Relief
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The worst drought and famine in more than 60 years have threatened the livelihood of 9.5 million people in the Horn of Africa since early 2011. Refugees from Somalia continue to arrive in Kenya by the tens of thousands, making the Dadaab complex now the world’s largest refugee camp ever with almost 500,000 counted and perhaps as many as 100,000 more unregistered.

UNHCR (the UN High Commission for Refugees) is the lead agency responding to this crisis, and many major humanitarian agencies including Care, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee are operating in Dadaab providing critical services such as food distribution, housing, sanitation and medical relief. The teams are stretched to their limits. To make matters even more difficult Al Shabaab, the Somali-based terrorist group, recently escalated its activities in and around the camps, making the operations more dangerous for the refugees and the agencies providing vital assistance.

How Better Connectivity Can Help

In the fall of 2011, Inveneo was invited by NetHope, a consortium of 34 member Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Program to identify opportunities to bring better, more reliable Internet and interagency communications to the many humanitarian agencies working in the region. Inveneo and NetHope mobilized teams to travel to arid northeast Kenya, to assess the situation in detail, and to determine what could be accomplished.

On the ground in Dadaab, it was clear from the United Nations (UN) and NGO community that bringing incremental, reliable and affordable Internet access would lead to better overall communications, coordination and security thereby increasing the staff capacity to deliver critical and life-sustaining food, housing, sanitation and medical care. Inveneo, working with Cisco’s TacOps could install and configure a local high-speed network, the Dadaab organizations could immediately begin to collaborate and share information more effectively. An existing UNHCR-led network initiative for smaller NGOs and community centers needed to be reviewed substantively to ensure that any new networking designs would be compatible, complimentary and synergistic.

NetHope, Inveneo and TacOps obtained commitments from Cisco to donate equipment, and from USAID and UNHCR to provide funding. It was determined that there were two major areas where Inveneo could bring technical and strategic expertise to make a real difference.

  1. First, we initiated and led a strategic business and engineering partnership with Orange, a local Kenyan mobile and landline telecommunications service provider, to extend new data services into the Dadaab compound using our long-distance WiFi solutions. NetHope aggregated the demand for the new service among the Dadaab aid community, and we secured agreement from Orange to a preferred pricing arrangement as well as to adequate initial and ongoing capacity. Orange is making their highly reliable Internet connectivity available by providing backhaul from their existing Dadaab tower to international fiber networks. We designed a detailed, local distribution network and training plan to enable Orange and prequalified Dadaab IT staff to quickly grasp, support and connect to the Inveneo-designed access solutions.
  2. Second, Inveneo and TacOps would co-design a high-speed network to connect the Dadaab agencies locally and to enable bandwidth-intensive, intra-agency collaboration technologies like file sharing, video conferencing designed by Cisco and voice over IP telephony applications. This collaboration network, DadaabNET, would also provide a Cisco router-based failover configuration to switch agency traffic to a 4-Mbps, UNHCR-provided satellite system in the event of primary connection failure. This effort involved IP addressing and configuration support from both Cisco and Inveneo as well as consultative engineering support from UNHCR and the Dadaab Aid Agency IT staff.

Status and Results

Inveneo’s work was successfully completed in March 2012. During the week of March 12, we trained in-country technical teams from Orange, from the Dadaab-based NGO technical staff, and from our local Inveneo Certified ICT Partner Setright. Orange hosted the classroom training session in Nairobi that provided hands-on instruction on long distance WiFi. We offered our custom practical curriculum in both network design and installation. Then the training moved outside to physically install equipment on buildings and way up on an Orange telecommunications tower. Inveneo has a strong partnership with Petzl to share safe climbing at height techniques in developing countries with communications workers. The trainings were held in Nairobi because a risk assessment determined Dadaab too insecure at that time.

During the week of March 19, Inveneo, NetHope, Setright and Cisco’s local gold partner Dimension Data teams traveled to Dadaab. Monday and Tuesday, our team worked side-by-side with the newly trained NGO, Orange and Setright teams in Dadaab, giving them the guidance and confidence to successfully complete the Orange and UNHCR tower installations.

The Orange tower is the hub for the access network and the UNHCR tower is the hub for DadaabNET. Dimension Data was also busy meeting with IT staff at the installation sites: consulting with Cisco-led TacOps engineers, training local staff and completing the initial router configurations.

As part of the training and skills building plan, we left Dadaab late Tuesday afternoon to cover training the Orange Network Operations Center in Nairobi. While away, the six newly trained agency staff were charged with the installation of Customer Premise Equipment for both the access and DadaabNET networks. The team includes staff from UNHCR, World Food Program, Norwegian Refugee Counsel, Care, Oxfam and Kenya Red Cross so it was truly an interagency support group. The expectation was that four or five sites could be installed, and then reviewed and verified after our return. On Thursday in Dadaab, we found our expectations were far exceeded.

The DadaabNET team installed 19 radios at ten agency locations. For two days, we verified the work and fine-tuned the implementations. Future installs and troubleshooting can now be completed by the local IT team with our team positioned to provide remote support for existing and ongoing humanitarian agency installations. The DadaabNET team has taken full ownership of the networks.

All future troubleshooting, support and installations will be managed frontline by the local DadaabNET interagency team. By the same count, Dimension Data, working with Cisco TacOps successfully implemented and tested routing at all ten newly installed locations and ensured a good hand-off to the DadaabNET team.

The initial bandwidth contracted was fully installed. Orange is on track to add triple the amount available to keep pace with demand and to meet new service order expectations.

This connectivity is already enabling the humanitarian agencies to function better, to communicate between agencies, and to support overall operations. They also have plans to move more costly VSAT systems to failover mode. As the new network architecture is tried and proven to be more reliable and cost effective, it will be extended to the general population via sustainable outreach community centers that support learning, resettlement and economic empowerment.

As a result of this project, Inveneo, Cisco, NetHope and Orange will also continue to grow their partnerships and collaborations so that there will be ever increasing opportunities to extend broadband across rural Kenya and beyond.

The Dadaab Connect project is funded by Inveneo’s Broadband for Good Program, Cisco, Microsoft, NetHope, Craig Newmark, the Orr Family Foundation, UNHCR, and USAID’s Global Broadband Innovations Program.