Solar powered phones for disaster relief in Haiti
Date: Wed, 01/20/2010 - 15:18
Intivation has, in cooperation with one of its shareholders DOEN Participations and client Digicel, donated one thousand solar powered mobile phones to the Dutch Cooperating Aid Organisations and Haiti's largest micro-finance institution in Port au Prince
UN PHOTO/MARCO DORMINO
Good communication is an absolute necessity in disaster relief but Haiti currently has a tremendous power problem, which impedes charging mobile phones. The mobile network itself still functions in many instances due to backup generators, or it can be repaired much quicker than the electricity grid.
Intivation is a Dutch company that has invented a technology to enable mobile phones that can be charged exclusively on solar power. Mobile phones that use this technology have been deployed worldwide since 2009, predominantly in regions that do not have reliable electricity girds. Over half a million of these devices have been sold worldwide in the last six months.
DOEN Foundation, financed by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, joins the effort at the urging of Intivation shareholder DOEN Participations; normally the foundation does not focus on disaster relief. DOEN foundation has been a longstanding investor in Haiti, among its participations is Sèvis Finansye Fonkoze (SFF), the country's largest micro finance institution. This organisation helps mostly women in Haiti with small loans so they can start businesses, and it has 37 branches that can be called on for the distribution of the solar phones.
Digicel is the largest mobile network operator in the Caribbean. Digicel has lost employees and their family members in the current disaster. The company has begun an extensive aid program, in which two private planes are being used for the relief effort to transport goods, and also the solar phones, to the Port au Prince area. Once a landing slot has been granted Digicel will ensure that the solar handsets will be delivered to SFF and Cordaid, which is coordinating the effort on behalf of the Cooperating Dutch Aid Organisations.