Archive for category Mobile Technology

Auxiliary Nurse Training

Training day!  We all met up at a cute/sweltering hot meeting center a few miles away from the hotel.  Over the course of the day we showed~40 auxiliary nurses how to use the app. They speak little to no English, but luckily we had some worldly coworkers along to help us:  Sheena speaks Haitian Creole and Alex speaks French, both of which are common languages in Haiti.   Eldivert, the tech guy from Acdivoca and mastermind of TBS, their current data storage system, helped to lead the training session.

A thoughtful Morelli looking over the shoulders of the auxiliary nurses

A thoughtful Morelli looking over the shoulders of the auxiliary nurses

Though many people in Haiti know how to use basic cell phones, most of the nurses had no experience using a touchscreen or a smart phone.  We went through basic smart phone 101 (turning it on and off, using the touchscreen, menu/home/back buttons) and then moved into how to use the app (all the while standing as close to the AC unit as possible). After picking up the basic features of a smart phone, most of the nurses seem to catch on very quickly.
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Day 1 Training at AcdiVoca Headquarters

Today we trained around 20 AcdiVoca staffers ranging from senior staffers to agronomists to data entry personnel to doctors. It was quite an experience.  The morning session was done in English but the afternoon session was done in French and Creole.  Alex and I shared the French explanations and Eldivert Savoit did most of the heavy lifting in Creole.

Training Acdi/Voca staff at Headquarters in Jacmel.

Training Acdi/Voca staff at Headquarters in Jacmel.

We were supposed to start at 10:00 AM, but we didn’t arrive at the headquarters until close to 8:30.  That left us only an hour and a half to get the phones initialized and to test the system — clearly not enough time. (We thought we were going to do that yesterday afternoon or last evening.)   Our challenge was compounded by the fact that the room we were presenting in had very poor cell phone reception.  We worked furiously to get the phones set up.  That entailed putting SIM cards in the phones, initializing the SIM cards, installing the application, making sure the app’s database was wiped clean.
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Trinity HFOSS Team Travels to Haiti

It was a long day but an HFOSS team is now in Haiti and preparing for end-user training tomorrow at AcdiVoca Headquarters in Jacmel.

The team includes current Trinity students Tina Lipson, ‘14, Alex Zhang, ‘14, Sheena Elveus, ‘12, and is led by recent alumna Rachel Foecking, ‘11, and HFOSS project leaders Trishan de Lanerolle, ‘04, and Ralph Morelli.

We left Hartford on a 6 AM flight (getting up at 3:30 AM or, in some cases, not going to bed at all the previous night).  We arrived, via a stopover in Miami, in Port au Prince at 11:30 AM.  It took about an hour to clear customs — they didn’t like it that a couple of us filled out our immigration forms in pencil –  and then another 4-1/2 hours to drive to Jacmel.  The traffic in Port au Prince was awful.  They are finally working on repairing the main road along the coast, which was damaged by the earthquake.  Here’s a shot from the drive.  Check out the little boy sitting on the dump truck.  After each shovelful his job was to jump down on the dirt and pick out the big rocks and throw them on the ground.

boyontruck

Road construction, Haiti style.

Emmet Murphy, Chief of Program for AcdiVoca-Haiti met us for dinner at our hotel, the Hotel Cyvadier, right on the beach (and on a nice surf spot).   It’s hot here, probably low 80s at 9 PM.  We had a nice dinner of lobster, conch and other seafood dishes.

Dinner at Cyvadier

Dinner at Cyvadier (L to R: Trishan, Sheena, Tina, Emmet, Alex, Rachel, Ralph)

We worked out a plan for tomorrow’s training sessions. Eldivert Savot and some of the other AcdiVoca team members joined us later.  Eldivert brought along the SIM cards he purchased and we loaded them in to a couple of phones and tried the app. Tomorrow the training sessions start at 10 PM.  Before that we’ll be loading the app on the phones and setting up the server.

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HFOSS builds mobile application for Haiti based Project

In March an HFOSS team traveled to Haiti to observe and collect requirements for a new mobile  application to be development by the HFOSS to support beneficiary registration and tracking for ACDI/VOCA to assist with a food aid distribution program for expectant mothers and infants in the eastern region of Haiti.

Presidential Palace after Earthquake in Port-a-Prince haiti

Presidential Palace after Earthquake in Port-a-Prince Haiti

ACDI/VOCA is a private, nonprofit organization that has been managing a USAID-funded Food for Peace program, the Multi Year Assistance Program (MYAP) in the Southeast Department of Haiti since 2008. It currently provides a food ration to over 10,000 registered beneficiaries and their families on a monthly basis.

On their visit the team observed the present system in operation and met with ACDI/VOCA’s Chief of Party, Commodity Manager, MIS manager and potential end users. The goal of the visit was to finalize use cases and requirements for the application and to conduct field tests of various aspects of the overall system using a proof-of-concept prototype that the team developed before heading to Haiti.

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UCOSP and HFOSS

Just wrapped up an interesting project with five students from various universities in Canada as part of the UCOSP project (Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Project).  UCOSP was the brainchild of Greg Wilson of the University of Toronto and is now managed by Karen Reid and Michelle Craig (Toronto) and Eleni Stoulia (Alberta).  It’s a great project, although it is currently limited to Canadian universities.

L to R: Anna, Derek, Edward, Greg, and Yang.

L to R: Anna, Derek, Edward, Greg, and Yang.

My participation involved mentoring five students — 2 from University of Toronto, 2 from Waterloo, and 1 from Alberta — who signed up to work on our POSIT/Android project.  The project kicked off with a weekend code sprint in October at the University of Toronto.  I brought 5 Android phones with me and we spent the weekend getting the phones set up and getting up to speed on POSIT.  The students were all very capable and, despite having no prior experience with Android, they managed to fix several simple bugs and/or implement a few simple enhancements during the weekend.

After a couple of weeks, the students each proposed specific projects and spent the rest of the semester working on them.  We meet for a weekly half-hour Skype chats where we discussed various issues.  We used POSIT’s Google code repository to manage and document the work.   Here’s a list of the projects with links to the students’ code and write ups:

Overall this was a great experience. The various contributions to POSIT were substantial and significant.   I hope the students got as much out of it as I did.  HFOSS should initiate something like this for our schools.

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Collabbit used by NYC Salvation Army to help serve 10,000 Thanksgiving dinners

On Thanksgiving day Eli and I were in New York city to observe the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner program, feeding more than 10,000 New Yorkers across the boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester – up from 800 meals in 2008 and one of the largest Thanksgiving Dinners in the Division’s 129-year history. (http://standtogethernewyork.org/10000-new-yorkers-join-us-for-thanksgiving-day-meal )

The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services team coordinated the one-day event in a style similar to an emergency mass feeding. A work force of 500 volunteers and employees served food across the various sites. The Emergency disaster services team used an instance of Collabbit (http://collabbit.hfoss.org) to plan and track the event as it happened.

Zach posting an update at Harlam site

Zach posting an update at Harlem site

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Open Mobile Camp, NYC

A group from the HFOSS Project (Antonio Alcorn, Chris Fei 2010, Prasanna Gautam 2011, Trishan de Lanerolle, Ralph Walde and I)  attended a Mobile Tech for Social Change BarCamp at the UNICEF building at the United Nations Plaza in New York City.  The meeting was organized by Katrin Verclas,  co-founder and editor of mobileactive.org and co-sponsored by HFOSS and the Open Mobile Consortium.

This was our first BarCamp, a participatory workshop whose content is determined by the participants.  As Katrin put it in the invitation “There are no tourists at this Open Mobile Camp.

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