From Haiti to Indonesia and Togo, I stay in touch with staff and supporters via Skype.
Twelve years ago I formed a network of orphan care facilities, Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW), which has worked in Africa, Asia, and the Americas to “Raise Global Citizens.” Connectivity alone allowed me to build this unlikely network. I began following up my trips via e-mail and Yahoo IM; now I communicate with my kids and staff via Facebook and Skype, and keep supporters abreast of developments via Twitter. I can relocate to Haiti only because we have field-tested connectivity in LÃ©ogÃ¢ne — the epicenter of the earthquake.
During the last 20 years, the Internet and cell phones have reshaped our world. From 2006-2009, the number of cell phone users in the developing world soared to 2.2 billion, with projections putting it at 3 billion very soon. I have seen cell phone technology used in Sri Lanka and Indonesia after the Tsunami, across West Africa, in Latin America and, of course, Haiti. The mobile applications that excite me most are the ones that impact health, education, and finance. In Haiti, those are the only paths to recovery.
In the next three months, we will begin the Global Center in LÃ©ogane – an Internet-connected facility that will serve as the nexus of the local and international development community. Aid, development and research professionals will be able to stay, meet and have local logistical support — as well as share practical ideas and coordinate future work.
The Global Center will offer reliable access to communications and transport. It will match on-the-ground workers with international partners directly. It will distribute web-based media (text/audio/images/video) to build global awareness, and help support working coalitions. This infrastructure will be set up with the aim of replicability throughout Haiti.
None of this could happen without connectivity.
Connectivity is part of our natural evolution as human beings to become one world living in peace and harmony. In Haiti, it is essential for reconstruction: in LÃ©ogÃ¢ne, long-distance learning, mHealth (the practice of medical and public health supported by mobile devices), and other high-tech applications will help build the New Haiti. It will not be accomplished in our lifetime, but this trajectory will change the world for future generations. My team and I intend to be there to help in whatever ways we can.
Stories by Jim Luce:
Jim Luce on Connectivity (Stewardship Report)
Jim Luce on Haiti (Stewardship Report)
Jim Luce on Social Responsibility (Stewardship Report)
Follow Jim Luce on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimluce
Thought Leaders and Global Citizens