Inveneo Intel Archives

Remembering Willy Agatstein

  1. Posted by Aaron Mason on June 27, 2013 in the categories: News


We at Inveneo are very sorry to share with you the death of our board member and dear friend Willy Agatstein who passed away unexpectedly on Monday June 24th.

Willy was a valued member of our board and a wonderful champion of our cause. He brought to our team many years of experience from Intel, most recently leading the development of computer platforms for emerging markets – many of which have been used by Inveneo in our projects around the world.

He was a passionate advisor to Inveneo on how to best assist the rural communities in some of the most challenging and under-served areas around the world. Together, we helped transform lives through access to technologies. His efforts throughout his life have ensured that appropriate technology will positively impact the lives of millions. We’ll miss Willy greatly and we want to express our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Kristin Peterson, Mark Summer, Bob Marsh and the entire Inveneo Team

Digital Literacy for Haiti Rebuilding

  1. Posted by Aaron Mason on April 15, 2013 in the categories: News

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

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.

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.

Inveneo Solar Power Deployment Guide for ICT Projects

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 28, 2011 in the categories: News, Publications

Many people believe that solar power is too expensive to use for powering computer installations in remote or rural areas that are without a connection to the AC grid. However, there have been two recent developments that have significantly lowered the cost of solar.

  1. The power consumption requirement of low-cost computers and peripherals has come down considerably.
  2. The cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically, with some panels selling in the US for as much at 70% less than typical 2008 prices.

If you are thinking about deploying computers in remote rural locations or in countries with erratic grid power, the cost of reliable, long-term, low-maintenance power has never been lower.

Inveneo Solar Power Deployment Guide

The Inveneo Solar Power Deployment Guide will show you how to specify, design and build your own small-scale self-contained solar power system. The guide’s purpose is not to make you a world-class expert on solar technology. Rather, we will take a “hands-on” approach, emphasizing a step-by-step method to designing and building truly practical solar systems.

As there are a large number of “tricks of the trade” involved when installing a solar system, we do not usually recommend a do-it-yourself approach for beginners. It is better to work with an experienced solar installer, especially if you have never worked with solar or other power systems before.

After reading this guide, you should be able to estimate the size, level of complexity and cost of small to medium- sized PC installations, and you will understand the basic theory and practice. This guide is focused on completely battery-operated PC and network installations. It does not discuss battery backup systems for generator- or AC- grid-powered locations.

More Information

If you would like to read a high-level summary on the viability and usefulness of solar power systems, you can refer to the Intel Corporation paper, “Solar Power for PC Deployments: Enabling ICT Beyond the Grid“. We have also developed a list of Solar Power Resources for Designing PV Systems in Rural Computer Projects

Classmate PC: Inveneo Mobile Computing Solutions

  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 19, 2011 in the categories: News, Publications

Inveneo Mobile Computing Solutions are rugged, energy efficient netbook computers designed for use in rural and other off-grid locations where electrical supplies are limited or unreliable.

Inveneo now features two full-featured netbook reference designs from Intel Corporation that have been carefully selected and integrated into two configurations optimized for durability: the Classmate PC Clamshell & Classmate PC Convertible.

The benefits of the Classmate PC designs include:

  • Mobility: Lightweight design with handle, screen that rotates from laptop to tablet PC, and up to 7.5 hours of battery life.
  • Ruggedness: Durable construction with water resistant keyboard, touch pad, and LCD screen, capable of withstanding a drop from 70cm.
  • Versatility: Convertible transformation to table PC for multi-modal input: ergonomic stylus for writing directly on screen, built-in speakers, microphone, and rotational camera.

Inveneo Mobile Computing Solutions can be further optimized for education. Pre-loaded with education-focused content and software, they are powerful enough to support a wide variety of educational applications and activities.

Education-specific features and software can be combined with Intel® Learning Series solutions to support interactive, individualized and peer-driven learning environments.

Inveneo Becomes an Intel Learning Series Alliance Member

  1. Posted by Inveneo on October 28, 2010 in the categories: Education, News, Projects

For immediate release: San Francisco, CA. October 28th 2010 – Inveneo, a non-profit social enterprise committed to deploying appropriate information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the developing world, announced today that it is working with Intel® as part of the Intel Learning Series Alliance as an Education solution deployment member.

“Our ethnographic research in classrooms around the world highlights the need to minimize the technical burden so teachers can focus on delivering a rewarding learning experience for students. These research results led us to work with technology implementers like Inveneo to deliver Intel-powered education solutions that makes it easier for teachers to focus on teaching, not technology administration, so they can create 21st century educational environments.” Frederico Carvalho, Intel

As an Education Solution Provider, Inveneo and its Certified ICT Partners (ICIPs) will now be able to implement state of the art education solutions using Intel’s reference design of the Intel-powered classmate PCs and other tools in over 26 African countries.

Inveneo and its 65 ICIPs will include Intel Learning Series products in professional turnkey education solutions. These can range from a basic site survey, installation and support all the way to complete project design, software and hardware systems integration and project management.

“We are honored to be an Intel Learning Series Alliance member and work with Intel in deploying appropriate educational technology in schools across Africa. We see a strong demand for these solutions – UltiNetS, our partner in Malawi, is already installing two Intel Learning Series mobile e-Labs in a USAID-funded education project there.”
“Kristin Peterson, CEO and co-founder of Inveneo

Inveneo has a strong history of deploying effective and appropriate technology that addresses local needs.

About Inveneo

Inveneo is a 501(c)(3) non-profit social enterprise whose mission is to connect and empower rural and underserved communities in the developing world with information and communications technologies (ICTs). We work with and serve organizations that deliver vital education, healthcare, economic development and relief services to some of the poorest communities in the world, enabling these organizations – NGOs, governments and others – to more effectively serve people in need through technology.

We partner with local ICT entrepreneurs though our Inveneo Certified ICT Partner (ICIP) program, now active in 24 countries, to deliver and support these solutions locally.

Since 2006, Inveneo and its partners have delivered solutions with ICTs reaching more than 1,500,000 people in over 500 rural and underserved communities in 25 countries, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.