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How Digicel, AccessHaiti, Natcom could help transform lost territories, Village of God, Canaan and other areas occupied by armed gangs into safer, more prosperous and resilient spaces

  • May 18, 2024
  • 13 Min
  • 21

By Marcelin Montaigne

Businesses in the area of ​​Canaan, Downtown, Delmas, Croix-des-Bouquets have been very hard hit by the activities of armed criminal gangs which reign over a large part of the Metropolitan area of ​​Port-au-Prince.

Some of them, after trying (as best they could) for a while to survive under the protection of the gangs, were either forced to leave or were simply vandalized and looted.

Certainly, Valerio Canez, Toyota at the bottom of Delmas, the branches of Unibank and Sogebank in Bon Repos are the most representative examples of this disaster caused by armed gangs at the level of large companies, but all business people (large, medium or small) are targeted by these armed men looking for means and economic spaces to strengthen their autonomy and continue to live and develop.

The consequences of this harmful work of these armed groups do not stop at the business level. Legal or illegal banditry penetrates the minds and mentality of our youth and is sold by the media as a value if not a virtue.

Little by little, but certainly, citizens living in these spaces controlled by armed gangs and abandoned to their fate by the State or what remains of it, as well as organized civil society, are transformed by the force of things , either as collaborators of armed gangs or even as notorious bandits.

However, framed by a responsible political power, the actors in the Telecom sector, in particular the Telecom operators, Natcom, Digicel, AccessHaiti, due to their importance and their national scope, are also threatened in their existence by the activities of Jeff Canaan to Bon Repos, ISO 5_Second at Village of God, Barbecue in the City Center, can play a crucial role in transforming these areas into economically viable and socially responsible places by adopting an integrated and multi-faceted approach.

The program ” Fight for Change “and other projects of the” Fondation Digicel “are steps in the right direction. But they are largely insufficient.

Natcom and AccessHaiti have a lot of work to do. They must take social responsibilities.

Digicel Natcom and AccessHaiti are to launch social responsibility initiatives to support local communities, such as health, education and community development programs.

They will need to adopt transparent and ethical business practices to gain the trust of local communities and avoid complicity with gangs in “lost territories” while supporting educational programs for children and adults, including scholarships and training. professionals. (Balance difficult to find in current conditions in Haiti)

Here are some key strategies they could implement:

1. Infrastructure and connectivity Infrastructure development : Invest in the installation of telecommunications towers and fiber optic networks to improve connectivity in remote and affected areas. Public-private partnerships : Collaborate with government and NGOs to secure investments and share the costs and risks of infrastructure development. Infrastructure development Installation of telecommunications towers : Set up relay antennas in remote areas to improve network coverage. This includes choosing strategic locations to maximize reach and minimize costs. Fiber optic networks : Deploy fiber optic cables to guarantee high-speed Internet connection, essential for economic and social development. Renewable energies : Use renewable energy solutions, such as solar panels, to power infrastructure in areas where access to electricity is limited. Public-private partnerships Grants and funding : Work with government to obtain grants or funding for infrastructure projects. Synergies with NGOs and international organizations : Work with NGOs and international organizations to obtain technical and financial support, and share best practices. 2. Education and formation ICT training programs : Provide information and communication technology (ICT) training programs to local residents to develop their skills and improve their employability. Digital schools : Support the creation of digital schools and provide computer equipment and Internet access to promote the education of young people. ICT training programs Training centers : Establish ICT training centers to teach basic and advanced digital skills to local residents. Certification programs : Offer recognized certification programs to increase participants’ chances of employment. Digital schools Equipment and Internet access : Provide computers, tablets and internet connection to local schools. Digital educational content : Develop or adapt digital educational content, such as online courses, tutorials and interactive learning platforms. 3. Job creation and entrepreneurship Encouragement of local entrepreneurship : Establish start-up incubators and accelerators to encourage local innovation and support small businesses. Microcredit programs : Offer microcredit programs to help local entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Encouragement of local entrepreneurship Start-up incubators and accelerators : Establish incubators to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas and accelerators to support them in the growth of their businesses. Mentoring Programs : Connect local entrepreneurs with experienced mentors to advise and guide them. Microcredit programs Access to financing : Provide low-interest microcredits to help local entrepreneurs launch and develop their projects. Financial management training : Provide training in financial management and business planning to ensure the success of funded projects. 4. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives RSE : Launch social responsibility initiatives to support local communities, such as health, education and community development programs. Transparency and ethics : Adopt transparent and ethical business practices to gain the trust of local communities and avoid complicity with gangs. Initiatives RSE Health programs : Launch health awareness campaigns and mobile clinics to provide basic healthcare. Educational projects : Support educational programs for children and adults, including scholarships and job training. Transparency and ethics Codes of Conduct : Establish and adhere to strict codes of conduct to avoid involvement with criminal groups. Transparency of operations : Publish regular reports on the company’s activities and their social and environmental impacts. 5. Security and resilience Infrastructure security : Work with law enforcement and communities to secure telecoms infrastructure against gang attacks. Resilience plan : Develop business continuity plans to ensure that telecommunications services remain operational even in the event of a crisis. Infrastructure security Collaboration with law enforcement : Work with local authorities to secure telecoms installations. Surveillance Technologies : Install surveillance systems to protect critical infrastructure. Resilience plan Business continuity plans : Develop plans to maintain essential services in the event of a crisis. System redundancy : Set up redundant systems to ensure continuity of services in the event of a breakdown. 6. Community engagement Dialogue with communities : Establish an ongoing dialogue with local communities to understand their needs and concerns and respond appropriately. Community Partnerships : Work in partnership with community leaders to implement local development projects. Dialogue with communities Regular community meetings : Hold meetings with community leaders and residents to discuss local needs and concerns. Surveys and studies : Conduct surveys and studies to collect data on community expectations and needs. Community Partnerships Local development projects : Collaborate with communities to identify and implement local development projects, such as basic infrastructure (water, electricity, roads). Support for local initiatives : Financially and technically support local initiatives that aim to improve living conditions. 7. Technological innovation Technological solutions : Develop technological solutions adapted to local contexts, such as mobile banking services to facilitate financial inclusion or e-commerce platforms for local products. Technological solutions Mobile Banking : Develop mobile payment solutions to facilitate financial transactions in unbanked areas. E-commerce platforms : Create e-commerce platforms to allow local residents to sell their products and services online. Conclusion Digicel, Natcom, AccessHaiti and other players in the Telecom sector in Haiti can play a transformative role in areas weakened by armed gangs by investing in infrastructure, supporting education and entrepreneurship, adopting practices of CSR, ensuring the security and resilience of infrastructure, and actively engaging in local communities.

By taking a holistic and collaborative approach, they can help create safer, economically vibrant and socially responsible environments.

By adopting a global and integrated approach, these important players in the Telecom sector can not only help improve connectivity and infrastructure, but also play a central role in the economic and social development of areas weakened by armed gangs. These efforts can transform these regions into more secure, prosperous and resilient spaces.

Marcelin Montaigne, Ing