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WLRN Miami Herald Radio Konbit Podcast (original)

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"Because you know US ways of doing things are different" Yanick Landess is telling a literacy class at a Little Haiti community center about a special project: "Beta, beta Test" (testing out a software). They are testing out "Konbit", a new program designed to give Haitians jobs. in rebuilding from the January 12 earthquake. It's like "Monster.com" for developing countries. "Welcome to Konbit. Konbit is a program that will allow you to offer your services to the NGO's involved in rebuilding Haiti." That's what you would hear if you called up "Konbit". It was developed after the earthquake by Aaron Zinman and Greg Elliot: Two graduate students at the MIT Media Lab. Here is Aaron Zinman: "I think what we're trying to do is combat a major issue where NGO's would come in, they don't know who to hire. So, rather than trying to be able to find out which Haitian Nationals have the skills that they need, and there is no good way to do so; they would just bring in outside labor. "If you are a female, press 2" (over the phone in Creole). Here is how "Konbit" works: Haitians can call the system and answer a series of automated questions about their work experience. "Thank you" (heard over the phone in Creole). Konbit records those answers. Then, they get transcribed into English and then turned into a database. Aid organizations can reference that to hire Haitians for relief projects. Greg Elliot from the MIT Media Lab: So, by sort of combining some pre-screened interview questions, it also helped determine expertise. We're actually doing a lot of the work that NGO's would have to do, I think this is relevant, you know, even beyond Haiti. You don't have to be able to read or write to use it because the system is over the phone. And, thanks to a partnership with Jamaica based telecom company Digicel, "Konbit" will be free to use. Three organizations in Miami are teaming up to help beta test the system: They are two community centers: Konbit for Haiti and the Haitian Women of Miami; and Koze Ayiti, a media collaboration with University of Miami. The organizations are partnering with MIT to provide the software with Creole speaking beta testers before the software goes to Haiti. "What's your name?" (question heard over the phone) "Press 9 when you're done". "Evelt Jeudy" (said the caller). Evelt Jeudy is trying out Konbit. He said he has his doubt whether Haitians will take the program at face-value. Evelt: "Well, I think Haitians are kind of skeptical when it comes to promises." But Elliot Zinman said they are doing their best to win Haitians trust. And the first step of that process is happening in Miami. The beta testing data will help develop the next version of the software. Konbit will do another trial in P-au-P in August. And they will use those results to partner with Aid Organizations. And with any luck, they can start bringing jobs to Haitian workers. Reporter: Flora Thompson- DeVeaux, WLRN-Miami Herald News. English Transcriber: Yanick Landess for KozeAyiti.org/ Video Produced by KozeAyiti.org/

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 58 seconds
Year: 2010
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: WLRN Miami Herald Radio
Director: KozeAyiti.org
Views: 120
Posted by: koze on Aug 10, 2010

This is a podcast that originally aired on WLRN Miami Herald Radio. During the month of July 2010, three Miami-based organizations: Koze Ayiti, Konbit for Haiti and FANM, were working with MIT students to test out a new program called Konbit. For millions of illiterate Haitians, it could make finding work significantly easier. WLRN-Miami Herald News reporter Flora Thomson-DeVeaux has more. And KozeAyiti covered the story.

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