Haiti: Where Batteries Go to Die

  • Posted on: 1 June 2007
  • By: Bryan Schaaf
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batteriesTake a walk through a Haitian village and you are very likely to see batteries strewn alongside the road. Electricity is minimal meaning that radios, flashlights, and other devices we take for granted require batteries. And somehow the batteries we were able to get in Haiti were always of questionable quality.

Solar power has never been utilized the extent possible in Haiti nor has wind power. I've seen both wind up and solar powered models of radios, but not on a large scale.
I recently learned about solar powered flashlights called SunNight Solar. There is some interest in using these in refugee camps as they would be a valuable tool for protection. The trick is that everyone must have one or those who do have one could ironically become more vulnerable. SunNight Solar is also planning to build lantern-type units which could light a small room adequately.
I think these flashlights would have real value in Haiti as the electification process has been slow at best. They have an interesting promotion going on right now where if you buy one for 25 dollars, one will be donated to the charity of your choice.
You can find more information on these solar powered flashlights at http://bogolight.com. If you know of other examples of appropriate technology that could be useful to Haiti, please let us know.




First, I would like to commend you for your efforts in Haiti. I think that Haiti is one of the most beautiful places in the world and will again someday be able to show the world what it has to offer.

With that being said...my name is Paul H. Pearson. I work for a large wireless provider in the U.S. as a Transport Engineer, (I design the path for Cell Phones to get from Cell towers to switches).

I am also previ to the # of cell phones we purchase for our store on a quarterly basis due to the fact that I have to build capacity on the network to exceed the # of units that we see coming onto the network.

Which lead me to inquire, because we never have as many units sale as purchased...what happens to the phones that don't get sold...after a fiscal period. What I found was that these phones along with those of most cell phone companies are sold for pennies on the dollar to whole-sellers who often raise the price and cell them to foreign markets.

My girlfriend (She's Haitian from Jacmel) and I went to a wedding recently and saw first hand what people were paying for phones there and I instantly though about the possibility of getting some of the surplus equipment to Haiti.

I can get wholesale phones both CDMA and GSM quad-band for export to Haiti for as low as $2.80 per unit plus shipping and handling. I can sell in bulk only and the order must be for at least 100 units. Does anyone know of a service provider/distributor who would be interested?

I look forward to your response,

Best regards,

Paul H. Pearson

Hello Paul,

Please contact me at chenardc@yahoo.com to discuss. I may be able to work something out with you for a distributor of phones in the Caribbean.

Voting someday with cell phone in Haiti ? Why not !

M. Pearson,

I read somewhere that a US credit card company seeks to use cell phone (joint venture with a cell phone company) to ease banking operations for poor people living in isolated rural areas around the world.

Is that possible to use the same technology to give those people access to the bulk when the time of elections come for them to vote their president and others representatives ?

Is that possible ? Can you make a pilot project in Haiti to verify this possiblity ?

Because in Haiti, voting is so important but so expensive for the country ressources... !



I'm interested in marketing your phones in Haiti. I have a foundation there with a staff who may be able to market these phones. I would need more information on the phones to insure compatability with the phones currently being used by the Haitian cell phone companies.

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