Thursday, April 1, 2010

News events and other things

I see it has been six weeks since I posted.

Haiti has fallen out of the twenty four hour news cycle. A bit of coverage this week as the UN Donor conference was held in New York.

Living conditions are horrible in Port au Prince as had been predicted. I am not working that much but rather putting lots of hours into long term planning. There is great concern everywhere that I go that the money Haiti will recieve be used properly.

The government of Haiti is slowly putting together the broad outline of the reconstruction plan. That is not an accurate name as the initiative is to build a totally new Haiti.

The picture on technological infrastructure and operations in Haiti has cleared up somewhat. There are a couple of broadband vendors in operation: AccessHaiti and MultiLink with whom I worked in February. Inveno, a telecoms charity, has a rural broadband project in conjunction with MultiLink. That project is in need of funding. The dollars are low ($ 300,000) in comparisson to the hundreds of thousands who will receive service. That project is 'shovel ready' so to speak so if anyone knows of a donor interested in fundamentally changing the future of tens of thousands of people let me know. I can make the connection.

I continue to work on the plan for a technical academy for Haiti. This academy will train Haitians first to teach other Haitians. The technical focal points will be skills necessary to provide outsource technical services to clients around the world. There is an excellent article on the power of broadband to change a society in the Economist of London newspaper (it's actually a weekly newsmagazine) this week. That project will be submitted to IBM Corporation's community and humanitarian organization for funding. I expect IBM will come through on some of the project however I will have to find funding for a lot of it. The phase one plan is finally complete in draft and out for comment to the Haitian government and some interested parties. Once that document is in 'gold' state I will post it here and on Facebook.

Lastly I am working with Save the Children and the Haitian Ministry of Education. The project there is two part: There is a need for technological capability in the Minstry itself. The earthquake destroyed the building and computers of the Ministry therefore they need the whole infrastructure. The second part is to put a 20 computer lab in each of 150 schools in Haiti. Again I am going to IBM for their KidSmart program; I haven't had any response on that project as yet. I did meet with IBM's VP of corporate giving in February and was given strong encourgement both on the academy and on the children's computers for schools. Take a look at IBM's KidSmart devices they are fascinating. Google IBM KidSmart.

I am planning to be in Port-au-Prince late next week for meetings with Save the Children; the Ministry of Public Works ( on the academy); the Minsitry of Education (Ministry infrastructure and school labs); a small orphanage that I a going to look at and assess need.

I will try and do a better job of keeping this up. I am using Facebook as a consolidator of Haitian and non-Haitian contacts so anyone wanting to keep up daily is welcome to friend me. What a term eh?

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I welcome comments, questions or anything anyone wishes to post on the situation in Haiti.