Traditional construction, Haiti

From http://www.usicomos.org/haiti-conservation-and-reconstruction-efforts


Jacmel has been described as the cultural epicenter of Haiti and was inscribed on the World Heritage Tentative list in 2004. The city was nearly destroyed in a fire in 1895 and was rebuilt according to the original urban plan with prefabricated houses from Belgium. (23) During the World Monuments Fund Mission to Haiti in February 2010, serious damage was found to the city’s important monuments of Manoir Alexandra and Macri House as well as the historic streets of Rue du Commerce and Rue St. Anne (See photo to the right). (24) As one of the most visited cities in Haiti, the Inter-American Development Bank has proposed a project to improve the competitiveness of the tourism industry in the town. The project would address the hotel facilities, provide training to the employees, and increase marketing of Jacmel as a tourist destination. (25)


MIT PHD and Masters students Aaron Zinman and Greg Elliott have developed Konbit, a free skill indexing communication platform that aims to help Haiti rebuild by indexing language and construction skills of local residents so that NGOs can quickly find and employ them.  Konbit allows Haitians, their Diaspora and the international community to report their skills by phone, text message or web. The information is then translated into Creole and made into voice messages; valuable resources as an estimated half of Haitians are illiterate. Konbit intends to train and employ Haitians in relief and reconstruction work rather than outsiders from international NGOS. The database lists a range of experiences not only citizen’s primary skills, but their secondary skills as well.  Elliott and Zinman said that Konbit would progress and adapt as they learn about the skills available in Haiti. Since March, the beta version of the site has gone live, and Elliott and Zinman have partnered with DIGICEL and the U.N. Development Program to continue developing the platform. Throughout the project, Elliott and Zinman will conduct an ethnographic study of Konbit involving Haitian students to examine interaction patterns and user  experience before deploying the final system. (26)

(23) Bulletin de l’ISPAN No. 10. Jacmel Sursum Coda. March 1, 2010. In English: haiti-patrimoine.org/wp…/03/BULLETIN-DE-LISPAN-10ENGLISH1.doc.
(24) Barbacci, Norma. World Monuments Fund. Mission to Santo Domingo and Jacmel. February 18, 2010. http://www.wmf.org/field/mission-santo-domingo-and-jacmel
(25) Inter-American Development Bank. HA-M1027 Improving the Competitiveness of the Tourism Enterprises in Jacmel. June 25, 2010. http://www.iadb.org/projects/Project.cfm?project=HA-M1027&Language=English