Could an Education App Make Haiti Prosperous Again?
On January 12, 2010, a record 7.0 Richer sale earthquake devastated the people Haiti. The catastrophic consequences of the earthquake claimed 200,000 lives. This tragedy hit very close to home when among the thousands missing my 87-year-old grandfather could not be contacted or found for three days. According to Marie Burge from The Guardian “by contrast, the quake that hit California’s Bay Area in 1989 was also of magnitude 7.0 It killed only 63 people.”
Haiti’s abysmal infrastructure has been suffering for centuries. The misinformed subscribe to the mindset that the earthquake was the catalyst for the devastation in Haiti. Haiti has been riddled with political and economic unrest, poor housing construction, and disease for decades which was exacerbated by the quake. The whole world and its mega powers were finally forced to take a look at what centuries of slave trades, corrupted politicians, have kept the Haitian population in social and economic poverty.
Upon reading the article The Digital Divide: Perspective from a Public Relations Practitioner by Michael Gines Munsayac, Doctoral Student, Faculty of Information & Communication Studies UP Open University, the access to new media has in one hand has created a multitude of opportunities for information to be disseminated virtually to anyone anywhere in the world, conversely it has also created a different kind of segregation. “80% of the world’s users of the Internet are drawn from only 20% of the world’s population. The digital gap does as much to accentuate and aggravate the north-south divide as the traditional inequality between rich and poor – 20% percent of the population of the rich countries own 80% of the world’s wealth. If nothing is done cyber technologies will leave the inhabitants of the least advanced countries outside, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where scarcely 1 percent of people have access, and those are mostly men.”
In impoverished countries like Haiti, the greatest issues that plague the inhabitants are mostly environmental, poor medical care, and poor housing construction. I would want to bridge that gap. With the increased access to mobile devices, I would create a mobile site and corresponding app that would give Haitians the ability to get training on several subjects including how to filter water with basic materials, basic farming skills, how to detect early signs of common diseases and create cures using holistic treatments in lieu of the lack of access to proper medical care, video instructions on how to build tiny homes— the new wave of small homes ranging from 95 square ft. to under 500 square ft. that can be built quickly, properly, and economically.
I would design the app to be graphic driven— in case some of the directions are lost in translation, even the most remote users could follow the directions through pictures. Haiti has an incredible amount of resources in time could be a prosperous nation again. It is inhabited by a people that have endured and survived environmental catastrophes, political unrest, and food scarcity for decades. The power of new media can be used as a developmental tool to educate and empower the Haitian people by giving them the opportunity to achieve independence and solidarity.
Burge, M. (2010, March 19). Building of Haiti: Of Haitians, for Haitians, by Haitians. Retrieved June 12, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2010-03-19/article-1379645/Building-of-Haiti:-of-Haitians,-for-Haitians,-by-Haitians/1