The Unique Challenges of Making Technology Work in Developing Countries

Making technology work in the rural and developing world is a process full of unique challenges. I am Andris Bjornson, Inveneo’s Chief Technology Officer and practicing project engineer. As an Inveneo engineer, I have to be prepared for it all. Recently in Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Preserve, I had what I’d call in rock climbing terms an “epic” day traveling to bring the Cisco Community Knowledge Center (CKC) in Sekenani, Kenya (photos) online with high speed terrestrial broadband Internet.

This is not by far the most difficult deployment (that would be 3 weeks in Nepal dealing with monsoon rains and leeches) nor the most chaotic (probably our Haiti Earthquake disaster response) However, the condensed timeline, wild game, and bad weather combined to make this a good story.

I had arrived in Nairobi after finishing a week-long wireless connectivity assessment in the UNHCR Dadaab refugee camp and I was asked to tack on an additional day of work for this special project, to make the final adjustments to bring the connection live. This was the first time in Kenya that we would be connecting one of the CKC’s with broadband Internet by partnering with a local carrier at their tower and then using long distance wireless (WiFi) to connect to the CKC facility 20 kilometers away. It was supposed to be a quick in-and-out flight into the Masai Mara Game Preserve, as the CKC is just inside one of the Park’s eastern gates.  More>> 


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