Building Haiti Back Better

Kristin Peterson, Inveneo CEO and Co-Founder

The Haitian education system had its challenges before the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Eighty percent of schools were private. Both public and private schools were under-resourced in basic infrastructure – from classrooms to teachers – and had little, if any, access to information and communication technologies (ICT).

"It wasn't easy for young people to get an education in Haiti, and forget ICT. Haiti didn't offer it formally, we had to leave the country to learn," explained Jerry Joseph, a young Haitian ICT expert.

A temporary classroom in post-earthquake Haiti

After the earthquake, what educational infrastructure that did exist was decimated – half the nation's schools and the three main universities in Port-au-Prince were destroyed or badly damaged in the earthquake. While other organizations focus on repairing basic school infrastructure, Inveneo and Microsoft are working closely together to build Haiti back better.

We've partnered to build a model for future school computer lab deployments at 40 schools throughout Haiti, combining Microsoft's innovative approach to expanding educational access and Inveneo's technical know-how in implementing ICT in schools cost effectively over the long term. In fact, we've already started with school site assessments to gauge the readiness of educational organizations to incorporate ICT into their existing infrastructure.

Our 2011 Commitment

At Inveneo, we are committed to bringing real opportunity to Haiti in 2011 through a rural broadband connectivity program we are deploying in partnership with local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Haitian entrepreneurs.

Our partnership with Microsoft is one component of this program, which is supported by an innovative collective of organizations whose focus is ICT entrepreneurial capacity building, rural economic development, and education through ICTs. The collective includes the USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Alliance, NetHope, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, The EKTA Foundation, and Google, in addition to Microsoft.

Together, we will build a connectivity model that will reach and serve clients (schools, NGOs, enterprises and others) cost effectively, through:

  • accelerated deployment of a high speed, broadband wireless network in rural population centers
  • training and certification of Haitian IT entrepreneurs (like Jerry) to deploy, operate and support this network
  • a sustainable business model of local network ownership and operations for the broadband wireless network
  • deploying new, appropriate technology in education to increase ICT knowledge and usage

The net effect of our efforts will be broadband Internet connectivity that stimulates economic growth, develops stable professional jobs, and supports decentralization of the Haitian economy. We also believe that the innovative tools and solutions we are offering in partnership with Microsoft will together transform education in Haiti, bringing about a brighter future for Haiti's youth.

Kristin Peterson is a co-founder and CEO at Inveneo.

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