The Internet Society has awarded a Community Grant to a partnered project that will bring Internet connectivity to Lascahobas, Haiti, in August 2011. The partners in this project are: Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT Empowering Haiti), Green WiFi, OLPC Haiti, and Inveneo
Pictured Above: Ecole St. Gabriel, Ecole Baptiste
The schools in the village of Lascahobas are part of a One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project in Haiti. At present, the schools lack two key conditions for realizing project success: electricity and Internet connectivity. The “IIT Empowering Haiti” team has been working with OLPC Haiti, under the mentorship of Green WiFi, to design and implement a solar powering solution so that the laptops may be charged at the schools. The Internet Society Grant will enable an after-school cyber-learning center and two primary schools to be connected to the Internet.
Pictured Above: the Computer-Learning Center, Lascahobas
The solar-powering project team is partnering with Inveneo to carry out this complementary Internet connectivity project. For its part, Inveneo is doing great things on the ground across Haiti. In March 2011, Inveneo began holding technician-training programs in Haiti, as the starting point for the Rural Broadband Connectivity Program (RBCP), which is being deployed by Inveneo in partnership with local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Haitian entrepreneurs (the RBCP program is funded by the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Microsoft, and the EKTA Foundation).
The purpose of the training sessions is to prepare a cadre of trained and certified Haitian technicians who are capable of deploying, operating, and supporting a wireless-backbone of Internet connectivity for connecting NGOs and other small businesses across Haiti. In order to promote local capacity building and sustainability, Inveneo recruits, trains, and certifies local ICT professionals. In turn, after hands-on guidance with their first project, these trained entrepreneurs subsequently themselves perform the installation, maintenance, and support for ongoing and future endeavors. These local technicians will spearhead the technology deployment to connect the Lascahobas schools to the Internet, the OLPC Haiti team will receive training in basic technology maintenance, while the team from IIT will carry out a baseline survey, so that progress reports can document achievements and ongoing usage patterns.
The image above depicts the long-distance WiFi link from Mirebalais to the Lascahobas After School Computer Center, and the point-to-point links that will connect the schools. The solar powered WiFi used in this project will be approached and documented as a repeatable model for the other +40 schools in Haiti that will receive the 14,000 OLPC XO the Haiti OLPC office is rolling out.
In December 2011, the IIT team plans to carry out an additional assessment survey to gauge connectivity quality, level of Internet use (demand for and type of use), and support and maintenance performed by the OLPC Haiti team, and make recommendations for improvements as the project continues and scales.
Stay tuned for updates–deployment takes place in less than 2 months!!!