I recently had the pleasure of meeting Neelley Hicks of United Methodist Communications. I was looking for people who work at the intersection of technology and education in developing regions. Her energy, compassion and dedication to this work is quite inspiring. As it turns out, the UMC team was in Haiti this week and I wanted to provide a brief update of their trip.
The team arrived on Monday and traveled to Thomas, LeVegue, Mizak and Petit Goave through the week. Their objectives were to assess and report on how new technology is changing lives. This is an anniversary trip where they will check in on last year’s programs, and start new ones. The team posted a great summary of this week’s work on their website.
“These centers give people who are otherwise off-the-grid access to information through the Internet that can help them live more productive and economically viable lives,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “This is a key tool for the church to use for human empowerment.”
Inspiring a Community of Entrepreneurs
Through daily text message exchanges with Neelley I was able to get real-time updates, and learn how the children were responding. One memorable exchange was with a 12 year old girl who when asked what she wanted to learn said “everything, I want to know everything about computers.”
Visits to rural and under-served communities by organizations such as UMC provide local community members with opportunities to learn what other regions are doing. One leader told Neelley “there is no lack of resourcefulness, only lack of resources.” This is so very true, and it describes the need for durable development and a desire for long term success. People want to be self-sustaining, and recognize that technology is a means by which they can create new economic opportunities.
It’s not enough to provide equipment and infrastructure. Inspiring a community of entrepreneurs (even if they’re 12 years old) is how permanent change is made, and how global shifts come about.
Sustainable Support Comes in All Forms
Even with our focus on how technology, the same can be true of other contributions. L’Auchard Fatal received a goat from the sustainable agriculture project supported in part by the United Methodist Committee on Relief at the Vialet Center in Vialet, Haiti. Mr. Fatal said his life has been made better because he can now buy food and send his children to school.
Did You Know? Cisco’s VNI Service Adoption Forecast. In Latin America, laptops will be the largest residential device/connection category with 126 million by 2016. This is up from 24 million laptops in 2012.
Photo credits: Mike DuBose of UMNS.
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What is VNI-SA? It is the Service Adoption forecast portion of our popular VNI research. VNI-SA studies the end user adoption rate for a wide variety of services around the world. Read more at http://www.cisco.com/go/vnisa