Haiti and the Dominican Republic: Same island, different societies?

September 15th 2011

On the 18th March, 2011, I arrived in Santo Domingo after a nine-hour bus ride from Port-au-Prince. I had been visiting the Dominican capital for years, but I had never arrived from Haiti. \

Entering Santo Domingo was a shock to the system after spending two months in a Haitian disaster zone. Newly painted glass-and-concrete buildings stood in neat rows, nestled in tropical foliage. Well-dressed pedestrians flowed sparsely and smoothly along the evenly-paved sidewalks.

It struck me that a parent could actually push a pram along one of these sidewalks with no difficulty at all. Luxury vehicles were directed along well-maintained roads by instructional signs and physical barriers. It was eerily quiet. Santo Domingo appeared to my Haiti-filled senses to be a strange, shining example of order, governance, and care. It looked, I thought at the time, like California.

Mobile money as material culture at the British Museum

September 10th 2011

If you do an internet search on mobile money, you will find that most results displayed deal with issues about technology, security, and socioeconomic development. Few people stop to think about mobile money as a cultural product or a material thing.

After all, it is meant to be a tool to move money around, not an artifact that expresses our social relations. Plus, the whole idea of mobile money is to make money less material as it reduces our dependence on cash, right?

Kids on the frontline of Haiti's fault line: Working with children in post-earthquake camps

August 29th 2011

Guest blog by Talitha Stam

On January 12th, 2010 an earthquake shock Haiti for 35 seconds. My child-centered research immediately took off as I tried to understand how the earthquake affected the social networks of children.

From January until August 2010 I lived in Port-au-Prince, Belladere and at the Haitian-Dominican border conducting child-centered-research on the earthquake relocation of Haitian children. 

Their stories provide an insider perspective on how children shaped and negotiated their social networks in the immediate post earthquake environment.

New report on mobile money in Haiti by InterMedia

August 25th 2011

InterMedia have recently released a report for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation entitled 'Mobile Money in Haiti: A Baseline Analysis of Access, Use and Barriers to Adoption' (July 2011).

Based on 1,008 face-to-face surveys across Haiti's departments, the report confirms our own findings presented in our April 2011 report on early adopters of mobile money in Haiti: the importance of security issues, the predominance of 'me-to-me' transactions over more traditional remittances, and willingness to try the new technology.