Keen on Cellphones for Haiti

I heard the National Public Radio story on your cell phone project. Hurray! I have been to Haiti several times, and with the trip I conceived that wireless communications hold great promise for the developing world. I expected opportunities to open up when the planned satellite networks were in place. This would preclude the land towers of present cell networks. You must be installing these land towers; the radio story said you use radio waves. I did not know how accessible the satellites would be, i.e., whether they would be priced too high for poor people.

Other people are trying to copy your success with Grameen Bank. How much interest is there in your phone project? Do you have folks from other countries visiting you, or looking over your shoulder from a distance?

I have a BS in Electrical Engineering. Since last August, I have been studying international public health, in Tulane University's MPH program. We have studied basic economics of developing countries, including the Grameen Bank. I am an investor in Catholic Rclief Service's DEVCAP fund, wich helps fund their micro-enterprise activities. Is the Grameen Bank a necessary component to your phone project? Would a similar phone project be possible in Haiti, where no Grameen Bank exists? I would be interested in any information you can provide.

It is great you are moving ahead. More power to you. 

David E. Volk          
Tulane University School of Public          
Health & Tropical Medicines          
February 7, 1998