CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENCE The case of Haiti

To mark World Environment Day, June 5, 2014, Oxfam officially 
launched a report entitled "Climate Change Resilience: The Case of 
Haiti" at the Hotel Montana in Pétionville. Report in English and 
French:
http://policy-practice.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/rr-climate-change-resilience-haiti-260314-en.pdf
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A “personal” Message….from the Government.

My friend wrote to tell me about this:

So, I got a text message last night on my Haitian cell phone from “Gouvernman”: aka Government.
Here’s what it said:
“Gouvènman Martelly/Lamothe ap vanse TET DWAT sou chimen eleksyon nan ane 2014 la.”
Translation: “The Martelly / Lamothe government is advancing with good sense down the path for election in 2014.”
A few things I found interesting about this:
The sender is identified not as the Martelly / Lamothe campaign, not as Martelly, but as the very official “Government.”
“Government” is spelled two different ways (note the difference in spelling between the sender and the content of the message.
“good sense” is the literal translation my friend Fefe gave me for “TET DWAT.” The literal translation is “right head” – “right” as in “not left. Martelly’s campaign message is “Tet Kale,” another phrase involving “head.” It can mean “bald head”, “thoroughness”, and has other meanings as well…
It’s hard to interpret the message. Does Martelly mean that his party is finally working with the rest of the government to ensure an election happens in 2014? Or does it mean Martelly thinks his party stands a good chance to win in 2014?
I guess I’m just interested in how the government is making use of new technologies like cell phones, and I was very intrigued to get a text message from the “government.”
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News from Nepal

Just amazing to hear about my son’s travels with friends in Nepal. My son sent me this URL by a friend, saying it is the short version. (I fear what he means by this…)
Thank you Nick!
These photos and text are MARVELOUS!

https://medium.com/p/543a97d19c00

They will be teaching children about laptops before returning home.

 

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Haiti town hall initiative further connects government with communities

March24-2014HaitiDreams1Haitian government cabinet members hold a town hall meeting in the southern town of Jeremie

By Joe Colas

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) — An initiative to organize a series of town hall meetings in different regions of Haiti has created more proximity between the Caribbean country’s government and communities which have engaged in an open dialogue over actions to be taken to meet people’s real needs, officials say.

…..

“It makes such a difference when you go on the ground, hear firsthand the demands and the priorities expressed by those who are targeted by the government’s actions,” Lamothe said.

…..

During the sixth meeting of the kind held on Saturday, Lamothe announced measures to support and help increase local agricultural production in Jeremie and surrounding districts, to increase police personnel, build more road infrastructure, hospitals, to set up community restaurants, computer labs, professional schools etc.

After each meeting, a follow-up commission is formed to make sure commitments made are materialized.

 

Read more: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Haiti-town-hall-initiative-further-connects-government-with-communities%2C-officials-say-20391.html

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Haiti: Cazeau Project in Review

By Sora Edwards-Thro

The other day, Adam and I spoke with the teachers from Cazeau about how classes are going there. This is their sixth week with this group, which means they’re midway through the new lesson guide, and so far, so good. With half the course behind us, it’s a good time to take a look at everything that came together to make this happen.

Step 1: Get a good group to work with. 

You’ll notice that every step of the process is, in the end, a combination of both social and technical engineering. Luckily, we had people on our side with the range of skills we needed.

First off, none of this would have happened without our experienced, enthusiastic partners, Hope for Haiti’s Children. Special thanks to Ken Bever, who orchestrated it all (and bonus, can successfully navigate Haitian traffic jams to do it), and Lisa Hendrick, who first reached out to us.

March19-2014HaitiDreams2

Ken meets with local teachers, principals, and directors about the project.

All the Haitians behind this project are the true reason for its success. Thanks to them and our Haitian trainers, Junior and Jeanide, for welcoming us to their country and making the learning happen.

Student portrait of a teacher as a hero wielding his secret weapon, the XO laptop.

Student portrait of a teacher as a hero wielding his secret weapon, the XO laptop.

Finally, our crack team of volunteers… Adam Holt, Tim Moody, George Hunt, Curt Thompson, and his wife Chi worked under the beating sun and long into the night to get electrons flowing and signals broadcasting.

March19-2014HaitiDreams1

Tim, Curt, and Adam up on the roof to get a better vantage point.

Step 2: Get to know the place and people

One of the first things I did when I got to Haiti, a month before training even started, was visit the site accompanied by Junior and Jeanide. There are lots of questions to answer when you’re attempting something like this. Things like “What happens if the electricity cuts out?” and “Will the wireless signal reach from the school to the church?” but also “What does the principal of the school think of this program?” and “Will we be working with kids from the school, or just from the orphanage?” Visiting early was a way to get a head start on finding the answers.

I ended up climbing onto the roof twice to get information about these batteries...Adam wanted the exact model numbers.

I took photos of the electrical set-up to give our team a better idea of what to prepare for.

Step 3: Get ready

The week before the big launch, six teachers attended training sessions with me, Junior, and Jeanide. Teaching computers is about so much more than the correct button to press.

Even the teachers sometimes get stumped on our Haiti map quiz.

Even the teachers sometimes get stumped on our Haiti map quiz.

This group caught on to the basics quickly and then impressed me with creative cartoons, flowcharts, and pictures. They even started getting ahead of us – one teacher asked me if instead of connecting the computers one to another, they could all connect to a central computer. “What you just described is a server,” I told him. “We’ll  be getting it here next week.”

Step 4: Get set

“Getting it here” is actually a pretty complicated process, of course. First, the pieces flew down with our tech team. These guys don’t waste time – their first hours in Haiti were spent surveying the site.

The kids are accustomed to working on homework right on this landing - we knew it would be important for the wireless connection to be strong there.

The kids are used to doing their homework on the landing, so we made sure the connection would be strong there.

The job was made harder by the fact that we were technically dealing with two locations. The school and orphanage are right next to each other, but the directors didn’t want students crossing into the orphanage side. So we adapted and ended up installing two different access points, one for each place.

George stringing cable over the wall.

George stringing cable over the wall.

Access point installed in the main school room.

Access point installed in the main school room.

I should also mention that the team put together software customized for our Haiti course, so another task was spending a few hours updating all the computers with it.

Chi and Sora testing laptops. That stack in the back is all the ones we have left to do.

Chi and Sora testing laptops. That stack in the back is all the ones left to do.

Go!

The first day of class, we divided the kids into teams and had a competition to see which one could take the best photos.

Off to take photos.

Off to take photos.

Teacher guiding the mouse.

Teacher guiding the mouse.

Picking out the best photo.

Picking out the best photo.

Listening to photo presentations.

Listening to photo presentations.

Team with the most votes gets a prize.

Team with the most votes gets a prize.

Show’s not over.

Our work doesn’t end when we leave the location. For one thing, after Cazeau, the team visited three more schools in three days, installing solar power in one and a server at another. But also because even after they got home, they continue to tackle issues like wireless connection difficulties that are so complex they can only be resolved after a stream of emails between smart people all around the world. And, of course, in our monthly conversations with the teachers, they report on their own progress and give us inspiration for new improvements that will make things easier for them and more fun for their students.

It’s been great to be a part of this work and watch the pieces come together. Seeing the kids smiling, sharing, and learning makes all the work worth it.

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Dominican Republic’s plans to recover and preserve Los Haitises National Park

A plan has been launched by the Dominican Government to recover and preserve Los Haitises National Park in the northeast of the country – a beautiful area  which is the island of Hispaniola’s only rainforest.

To ensure the protection of the area, a 3-year deadline to halt all human activity within the protected area, has been put in place.

The Los Haitises National Park boasts unrivaled biodiversity fed by 110 rivers and streams and the most rainfall in the entire island of Hispaniola.

Read more: http://casadecampoliving.com/this-week-dominican-republic/

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UN slapped with another lawsuit over Haiti cholera

March 13, 2014  Reuters

MIAMI : Lawyers filed a federal class action lawsuit against the United Nations on Tuesday to seek compensation for almost 1,500 Haitian victims of a cholera epidemic blamed on UN peacekeepers.

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