Technological development in Haiti – BORGEN

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti is a country that remains among the poorest and most unequal countries in Latin America. This comes especially after suffering the devastating setback of the 2010 earthquake. There is ample evidence of progress, with increased sanitation, education and employment. However, inequality and poverty are still evident. Although all regions experienced growth in one way or another after the earthquake, urban areas in Haiti are experiencing more robust development. The introduction of digital literacy ushered in a technological era for Haitians. As Haiti continues to recover and eradicate poverty by introducing technology into its economy, private groups and public entities are beginning to invest efforts in the development of the country. These five facts about digital literacy and technological development in Haiti are integral to understanding the country’s changing economic state and its way out of poverty.

5 facts about technological development in Haiti

  1. Haiti, despite its progress and digitization, remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. About 80% of the population lives in poverty and about 50% of the population is illiterate. Overcrowded classrooms have resulted in less than satisfactory levels of education, with less than 1% of Haitians pursuing higher education. Many young Haitians have been unable to develop the digital literacy necessary for survival in the New World. In response to the devastating earthquake of 2010, many groups pledged to support the Haitian people in their recovery and development as a people and nation.
  1. A new initiative has emerged to address the problems posed by the lack of technological devices. This new idea is the “Information and Communication Technologies for Education” initiative. It is also known as the “Project of Hope”. The main objective of ICT in Haiti is to offer a means of acquiring resources and technologies to increase digital literacy. By making computers easier to use and allowing students to develop technological skills, poverty will be reduced and the development of the standard of living in Haiti can continue. Students, teachers and parents all need to develop skills in technology, which is the end goal of Project of Hope.
  1. Another idea that is gaining traction is to train younger women in information technology services. These computerized jobs would primarily increase the digital literacy of the workforce. In addition, it would provide a stable income for a traditionally marginalized group. But it also serves a second purpose. Through outsourcing of tech jobs by companies, women in Haiti can leverage their new skills to capitalize on a growing market. The International Development Research Center has provided approximately $ 800,000 for research into this potential employment opportunity.
  1. The tablet / PC company Surtab has taken a strong place in the Haitian technology sector. Initially born with a grant of $ 200,000 from USAID and $ 250,000 of private investment, the company works to connect urban and rural areas of Haiti. For the public, Surtab helps health officials provide adequate nutrition, family planning and pregnancy support. For its employees, Surtab offers solid health benefits and a respectable salary (well above the minimum wage). Linking new economic opportunities with better health in Haiti, Surtab is just a company working to rebuild Haiti’s frail infrastructure.
  1. About 20% of the Haitian population has no access to any sanitation. As a result, infection and disease rates are high in the country. To fight against this deficit, an effort by professors at the University of Maryland to develop “biodigestor” reservoirs is underway. This development would transform bacteria into natural gas. Thus, allowing a two-pronged solution to the sanitation and energy problems in Haiti. More than 30 students have been trained through three pilot projects in Haiti so far. There are also plans to further develop and expand the model. Improving sanitation in Haiti is a crucial factor in reducing poverty and increasing scientific knowledge. This new project may have great implications for the betterment of the country.

Although progress has been limited in Haiti due to natural disasters and infrastructure issues, continued efforts are being made to restore and improve the country. Many agents, natives and foreigners of Haiti, work so that the country can eliminate its problem of chronic poverty. The continued technological development in Haiti will help the nation to prosper.

Pratik Koppikar
Photo: Flickr