Inveneo Training Archives
- Posted by Inveneo on February 16, 2016 in the categories: Projects
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!
- Posted by Inveneo on November 23, 2015 in the categories: News
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!
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.
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!
- Posted by Inveneo on February 10, 2015 in the categories: News
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.
TechAide’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:
- Monitoring performance to see if there is a problem.
- 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.
- 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!
- Posted by Inveneo on February 3, 2015 in the categories: News
As part of the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) project that Inveneo is doing with other partners, the next step is underway – training local technicians in Sierra Leone.
The Inveneo team has been on the ground in West Africa for several weeks now, and they recently started training the Inveneo Certified ICT Partner (ICIP) “Damsel Business Centre” on building Internet service for medical centers in Sierra Leone! To kick off this training, Damsel representatives have been meeting with Inveneo throughout this first week in February to go through a tower climbing safety course.
Inveneo’s Director of Field Operations Samuel Perales leads training and discussion with employees from Damsel Business Centre, an ICT business in Sierra Leone.
The training participants include Inveneo’s Director of Field Operations Samuel Perales, Inveneo’s Senior Field Engineers Sean Burgoyne, Matt Hulse, and Eric Kuhnke, and finally Inveneo’s ICIP partner Damsel from Sierra Leone. Damsel’s Director Eugene Tani-Luke brought with him five technicians to also take part in the training. Although representatives from AirTel and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) were invited, they were unable to make it.
After the climbing training is completed the team will continue with preparations and logistics for the first Internet connectivity site. Inveneo’s current goal is to start the first Internet installation by Monday, February 9th.
As Inveneo has been helping Damsel on safety throughout this training, they have been taking safety measures of their own. The men are washing their hands with bleach water, and when they enter a hotel nearby, a hotel staff member will take their temperatures on a regular basis. As positive as it is that Ebola infection rates have been going down, Inveneo is leaving no room for its team or its partnering teams to become sick in the process. In addition, NetHope has supplied the team with two Icelandic medics who may travel with them.
Inveneo’s Samuel Perales feels that this ICIP training process is just the beginning of a vital project that will make a big impact in Sierra Leone. He notes that Internet connectivity is always important and an issue for any humanitarian organization, no matter if they work in immediate relief or long-term development. He notes that the ERCI project is no different – connectivity will remain an important tool for years to come as communities rebuild from the devastating effects of the illness. The Inveneo team and its ICIP will continue to work long and hard to make connectivity available for those in need it most in order to make as big an impact as possible.
The Inveneo engineers have been very happy with the collaboration of this combined effort. The teamwork between NetHope, the ETC, and more has made an incredible difference in getting this project off the ground. Mr. Perales explains further, “One thing that’s been really nice is the collaboration between the ETC, NetHope, Inveneo, and Ericsson Response…we’re all out in the field, we’re all supporting each other, and we like to say that ‘There are no lines between us.’ That camaraderie is showing through as we continue to build our dedicated team.”
- Posted by Inveneo on June 16, 2014 in the categories: Education, News, Projects
One of the sessions from Inveneo’s TTT Project. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo
Inveneo has worked very hard to help teachers in rural Haiti gain adequate access to new educational tools and resources. Led by the our team’s project manager in Haiti, Michelet Guerrier, Inveneo recently held a third Tablet training event, part of the Transforming Teaching through Tablets (TTT) project. The training, which was held in a remote part of southeast Haiti called Cascade Pichon, lasted three days. It hosted a total of 15 teachers who came from three separate schools.
How are these Tablets and training session helping teachers achieve greater educational success with their students? What are teachers using them for, and what are the challenges that come with the Tablets?
Greater Access to Digital Content
A session on different learning styles. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo
Michelet reports that Haitian teachers have been using their Tablets as a resource library. They were most interested in the offline dictionaries and the digital library that offers hundreds of books right at their fingertips. In addition, the Tablets also offer French grammar content which the teachers found useful to create better lessons for their students.
During Inveneo’s training sessions, not only were teachers provided the apps and tools to work on their Tablets, but they were also given a session on professional development. Michelet held a few sessions where he presented apps on the Tablet to model how some of the apps can be adapted for teaching, learning, and evaluation. To gain practice the teachers did a simulation class for each other, and feedback was then offered from their peers.
The school under construction. This is what the school looked like on May 30, 2014. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo
Awareness of ICT Issues
The teachers in Haiti were very happy with the Tablets and tablet training process. It’s been reported that they are using Tablets at least five days per week! With all these positive points there are also a few problems that go along with using Tablets.
Internet connectivity is not very strong but very much a challenge in Cascade Pichon. During the training Michelet and a few others traveled to nearby hills to see if there was a better connection. A weak signal was available (at times) but it wasn’t good enough to send emails or to use Google’s search engine.
The second issue at hand is the lack of electricity. The school nearby is currently under construction and does not yet offer the community electricity. This gives the teachers limited time that they can use the Tablets. To charge up, teachers end up going outside of Cascade Pichon to charging stations (where they also charge their phones). To charge a Tablet it costs 25 Haitian gourdes which equals about $0.55 USD.
Michelet left the latest TTT training session in Haiti on a positive note. He describes “after these sessions, we are convinced that the decision to bring the Teacher Tablet project to this remote community was a complete gain considering the long-term impact that [it] should have on the teachers, students, and the community as [a] whole.”
Inveneo is proud to partner with other organizations to make this project possible. We would like to thank UMCom, Library for All, Gumdrop Cases, Heart to Heart, the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Google, and the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection for being a part of this continued project in rural Haiti.
- Posted by Inveneo on May 8, 2013 in the categories: News
Mevaly Tokyo, 10, and Lima Souneng, 16, at the UFO school on Fefan. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
The tropical islands of Chuuk, part of the Federated States of Micronesia, remain largely disconnected from the Internet. More than an hour flight from Guam and over 3,400 miles (5,400 km) from Hawaii, most of the islands in Chuuk are isolated in a way that is hard to envision. While the main island of Weno (pronounced Wena) has a population of almost 14,000 and basic Internet access, most of the surrounding islands have only 350 to 4,000 people per island, limited cell phone service and are accessible only by boat. Students on the islands may have seen people use computers and the Internet on television but most of them have never actually touched one or been online.
“A few [students], maybe 1%, have ever used computers, but most have not seen them,” one teacher on the island of Eot said.
“We often work in areas with limited internet access, but the environment in Chuuk poses very unique challenges to improving connectivity,” said Andris Bjornson, Inveneo’s CTO. “I’ve rarely seen anything like it.”
In late March Bjornson travelled with Bruce Baikie and Prairie Summer to Chuuk to conduct a site survey and local partner training as part of phase two of the Pacific Islands Schools, Connectivity, Education, and Solar (PISCES) Project. PISCES is a multi-stakeholder initiative to demonstrate how low cost wireless networking and solar-powered computing infrastructure can be scaled to serve educational professionals and students across the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and similar remote island settings. PISCES I, the first phase of the project, was implemented in 2012 and demonstrated that alternative, low-cost wireless networking and solar-powered computing infrastructure offer reliable and affordable computing and connectivity options for many remote and off-grid schools.
The goal of this second phase (PISCES II) is to identify, connect and equip at least three schools on these remote islands, strengthen the local ICT capacity and increase digital literacy among teachers.
K-8 School on Tsis, which has 87 kids, 5 teachers and no computers or internet access. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
For this project Inveneo’s team focused in on building the capacity of our local partner iSolutions and members of the local telecom to conduct site surveys, design wireless networks and install long-distance wireless links. Dr. Laura Hosman from Inveneo partner Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) was also present, following up on the 6 low-power, ruggedized computers that were deployed in PISCES I on the island of Udot and assessing lessons learned during the first phase. Dr. Hosman also gathered data to inform the design of trainings for teachers on computer skills and the deployment of additional computers in the new locations.
Chuuk Lagoon with pins showing survey locations. The pieced-together nature of Google’s area maps highlights the remote nature of the islands.
With the ambitious goal of conducting site survey training, six site surveys on six islands and installing one point-to-point link, the week was packed and the team was at the mercy of the weather. The heat, humidity, heavy rainfall (almost 200 inches per year) and unique challenges of making long-distance wireless links work over water make this equatorial island nation a difficult environment. Most of the smaller islands have no electricity and the vegetation is thick.
Operations began with Bjornson conducting a full day of training with three iSolutions staff and two members of FSM Telecom followed by guided site surveys. These guided surveys allowed trainees to test their new skills while gathering valuable data necessary to design the wireless links.
The training started with an in-depth session on the connection between tower equipment and a computer lab. Classroom time was balanced by hands-on training and exercises with the team conducting test surveys at various locations on Weno. In addition to learning many of the standard survey tools (including GPS and compass basics), the team also tested Inveneo’s new Smartphone-based Android application for conducting site surveys. The group of workshop participants from both iSolutions and Telcom FSM are the first worldwide to use this new tool, integrating survey-specific GPS, camera, and note-taking capabilities into one convenient handheld device. Previously an engineer needed to bring an individual compass, GPS unit, camera, paper and pencil to collect all of the data. These Google-donated Android phones use a combination of services including Formhub and odkcollect to make site surveys faster and more accurate.
Bjornson leads the classroom portion of our local partner training program. Photo: Laura Hosman
Bjornson training local engineers to perform site surveys. Photos: Laura Hosman
With the training complete the team headed out to the surrounding islands to begin the site surveys. Heavy rain poured during the first three days, but not enough to stop the team from boating out to surveying the first three islands. When the rains let up the sun emerged giving the Inveneo team the opportunity to experience the full spectrum of weather challenges. From torrential rains to blazing sun, each day added to the understanding of what networks need to endure to function in Chuuk. Site visits to Romanum, Udot and Eot islands were completed via boat in one day despite constant rainfall. The islands of Fefan, Tsis and Tonoas were surveyed on the following day.
Left: Bjornson, Balkie, Dr. Laura Hosman from IIT and the trainees from iSolutions and FSM Telecom boarding the boat on Udot. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo Right: Bjornson and TR from local partner iSolutions conducting a site survey on Romanum. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
Left: Site sketch in Bjornson’s notebook of Romanum. Photo: Andris Bjornson / Inveneo Right: GR from iSolutions taking measurements at Romanum. Photo: Prairie Summer / Inveneo
Baikie surveys a potential computer lab site at Romanum School. Photo: Laura Hosman
Bjornson, Summer and Baikie discover a few of the different ways that getting around in Micronesia can be a wet affair. Photos: Laura Hosman
While each school and site has unique assets and challenges, all six of the locations surveyed are viable potential link locations. Many of the schools are conveniently located on the edge of the islands, clear of the dense vegetation that covers most of the islands, and even at the schools farther inland feasible locations were identified. This is exciting news for the PISCES team and the schools who will benefit from the link when it’s established.
“What we are doing now is we are trying to improve our students’ performance, and it would be good to search what other schools are doing…on the curriculum and find ways to improve our teaching,” Nancy Seymour, principal and 1st-2nd grade teacher on Eot said. Her school does not have enough books and resources and she believes having Internet access could make all the difference – providing her and the other teachers a source for new lesson plans and ideas and introducing the students to new and foreign things.
Nancy Seymour, principal and 1st-2nd grade teacher on Eot. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
At every school the team visited there was a keen interest in connectivity and a universal belief that technology would make an impact on the quality of education. In addition to the academic potential, every single student and teacher indicated that they had family living either on other islands or abroad, and there was a great deal of excitement around the potential for communication with loved ones.
With the site surveys completed, the next focus was to establish a long distance wireless link from the main island of Weno to the school on Udot. This link, temporarily established during PISCES I, needed to be moved to a more permanent location and the team had received permission from FSM Telecom to place the link on the telecom’s existing tower.
This new position, higher on the island, allows for a stronger connection and will be the point that all six of the surveyed islands will link to when the project is completed. To install this long-distance link half of the team went to the tower on Weno and the other half to the site on Udot, coordinating via radios and cell phones. First the Udot team installed a small link on the side of the school. On Weno, the team put together a small dish, then mounted it on the tower and pointed it toward Udot. The positioning is critical and must be painstakingly adjusted to the most accurate position possible. Access to the tower was provided by FSM Telecom, which has a strong relationship with iSolutions. Inveneo has found through past experience that strong collaboration with the local telecommunications provider can be a powerful tool in creating sustainable projects.
Mangoki Shirai assembles dish for the long-distance link from Weno to Udot, then climbs the FSM Telecom tower on Weno to install the link. Photos: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
View of Udot from the base of the tower on Weno. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
Left: Team putting together the dish on Udot for the link to Weno. Photo: Laura Hosman/IIT Right: Installing the link on top of the school on Udot. Photo: Laura Hosman/IIT
The team on Udot then adjusted the link on their end and the connection was established! Both the FSM Telecom and iSolutions teams did an incredible job.
With the training completed and the first link established, and data gathered for five additional sites to be linked as soon as the funding is secured, PISCES II has the potential to provide unprecedented levels of connectivity and access to schools and communities throughout Chuuk. The project has also gained support and interest from the FSM Department of Education.
In addition to improving the educational resources and access to information, every single student, teacher and administrator the team met on this trip said they have family on other islands or in other countries. With this long-distance wireless network in place they will all have new ways to communicate with their loved ones in other places, and that may be the best motivation to learn of all.
If additional support for this project can be secured, the Inveneo team plans to return and install links to the remaining five sites in the summer of 2013.
Left: View of the tower on Weno from the boat. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo Right: View of the boat on Tsis. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
The PISCES Project has received funding support from Google, the Pacific Telecommunications Council, and the Internet Society. PISCES Project partners include: Inveneo, the University of Guam, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) Organization, Green WiFi, iSolutions, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, the University of California, Berkeley’s TIER research group, FSM Department of Education, FSM DTC&I.
- Posted by Inveneo on July 11, 2012 in the categories: Economic Development, News
Inveneo launched the Bati Anfòmatik Teknisyen yo ak Inveneo (BATI) Program to train and certify rural Haitian IT entrepreneurs to deploy and support a high speed, broadband wireless network in rural population centers across Haiti. BATI participants are rural youth who have experience in information technology and an interest in becoming entrepreneurs. Through the BATI program, Inveneo trained youth in the technical skills needed to deploy broadband and computers in rural areas, and how to run their own ICT businesses, graduating 64 new Haitian ICT entrepreneurs.
To help jump-start their businesses and provide support to the broadband network, Inveneo brokered meetings between the newly trained ICT entrepreneurs and local ISPs to create partnerships to expand the broadband network and serve rural clients. The match-making was a success – the network, supported and deployed by Inveneo-trained ICT entrepreneurs, now provides access to broadband Internet to over 20% of the Haitian population, ensuring that rural schools, healthcare centers, non-profits, and enterprises can help Haiti build back better after the devastating earthquake.
Yet, training and business leads alone do not create sustainable entrepreneurs. Long-term mentorship is crucial for entrepreneurs to survive and expand in the competitive ICT marketplace and in Haiti’s under-developed business climate. To help the entrepreneurs, Inveneo launched a partnership with MicroMentor in May 2011 to build a mentor-support network for the business aspects of the BATI program.
Since the program’s inauguration, 46 Inveneo-trained BATI entrepreneurs, representing 72 percent of the entrepreneurs trained by Inveneo in Haiti, have joined the program as entrepreneurs seeking advice from seasoned businesspeople. Twelve local Haitian business professionals and staff of Inveneo Certified ICT Partners (ICIP) around the world have signed up as mentors to provide advice to the entrepreneurs, resulting in a total of 26 mentoring relationships.
BATI entrepreneurs use the MicroMentor website to find and engage with professional mentors. In addition, the BATI entrepreneurs can pose specific questions related to their businesses and mentors can post responses, starting a dialogue that can be viewed by all entrepreneurs. There are also groups where members are able to participate in discussions and find resources specific to their program, such as Inveneo products and business plan templates.
The program is providing much needed encouragement as well as start-up expertise to the entrepreneurs. The feedback has been very positive. Here are a few examples:
«Il est toujours disponible pour moi quand j’ai des questions”. – It [the website] is always available to me when I have questions.»
«Je profite encore de vous féliciter pour ce programme, il est vraiment utile à tous ceux qui font partie et il porte du succès dans leurs entreprises » – I would like to again take this opportunity to thank the program; it is truly useful for everyone and the help that is needed to create a successful business.
« Nous avons beaucoup parlé de mon business, et elle m’a donné des bons conseils. » – We have spoken a lot about my business, and [my mentor] has given me a lot of great advice.
Overall, the program has been very successful in supporting Inveneo-trained entrepreneurs. The ultimate gauge of its success will be the number of entrepreneurs whose businesses survive the crucial first two years of operations.
Beyond Haiti, one of Inveneo’s aims over time has been to promote and strengthen collaboration among Inveneo Certified ICT Partners in the twenty plus countries in which they work. This initiative is our first opportunity to build collaboration among the francophone countries of Africa and with Haiti. Through MicroMentor, we are beginning to see trans-Atlantic mentoring matches being formed, and are very excited about the potential impact.
Inveneo partners can now support one another and share their expertise. They may be small businesses, but we see big impact in reaching our ultimate goal of improved ICT entrepreneur economic self-sustainability.
- Posted by Inveneo on April 13, 2011 in the categories: Economic Development, News
Inveneo recently completed its first BATI training (Bati Anfòmatik Teknisyen yo ak Inveneo) in Mirebalais, Haiti on March 18, 2011. After a week of classroom and hands-on training modules, 11 participants graduated as certified BATI IT technicians.
The Inveneo training is designed to give each BATI a head start in his technology business, and, judging from the feedback of the participants, this first session achieved its goal:
The BATI training had a big impact on the technical interns in helping us get started in the IT markets of Haiti. It helped us perfect our skill by teaching us technology philosophy, its practical usage, and simulations of real-world events. It was also taught in both Creole and French which was greatly appreciated.
One key objective of the BATI program is to address the problem of chronic unemployment among Haiti’s youth through entrepreneurship opportunities. Of the 15 participants who started the BATI training, 11 were unemployed at the time, yet all had graduated high school. Inveneo will continue to train candidates in other provinces of the country, covering 22 communities across six regions.
The BATI program strives to deploy connectivity through an entrepreneurial model that will reach and serve clients (schools, NGOs, enterprises and others) with cost-effective Internet. Each BATI IT technician will work on connectivity and computing support issues with network subscribers, largely nonprofit and community groups throughout Haiti. They will operate as independent consultants, earning revenue from installation and support contracts.
The BATI program is one component of Inveneo’s overall approach in Haiti, which will:
- Accelerate deployment of a high speed, broadband wireless network in rural population centers
- Train and certify Haitian IT entrepreneurs to deploy, operate and support this network
- Develop a sustainable business model of local network ownership and operations for the broadband wireless network,
- Deploy new, relevant technology in education to increase ICT knowledge and usage.