Developing telecommunications for those who need it most

More than two billion people in the world have no access to information and communication technologies (ICT), such as telephone and internet... This makes daily life more difficult (healthcare, emergency services), particularly in the developing word. Inveneo is an American non-profit social enterprise which designs and delivers sustainable ICT tools to those who need it most. The Petzl Foundation has supported Inveneo since 2011 by providing verticality training and climbing equipment.



  • Project partner:  Inveneo
  • Country: Philippines / Ouganda, United States
  • Project type: Accident prevention
  • Budget: €14,000 since 2011, Work-at-height equipment
© Inveneo

Picto Info 
Tower climbing and work-at-height are critical components of Inveneo's work in telecommunications. The technologies they work with require clear line-of-sight to operate, which means installing antennas on towers high above mountains, trees and other obstructions. Safe climbing is of great importance - whether by their own engineers or local partners who will carry on the work.

Training emergency response teams in the field

Under the Foundation's support program, a training course was organized in January 2011 by Petzl in the USA for field response teams. Its goal was to train instructors and to develop training sessions in safety techniques and the use of personal protective gear for local emergency services.

Haitian technician on a Telecom tower © Inveneo The goal is for them to eventually become autonomous in terms of safety in vertical terrain . A first training session was organized in February 2011 in Haiti, where Inveneo has been working regularly since the January 2010 earthquake. The island's communication network has been extended to cover several areas that are difficult to access.

With the Petzl Foundation's support, Inveneo has expanded the work already accomplished in 2011. Newlyhired engineers have been trained on safe tower climbing techniques and the train-the-trainer capacity of Inveneo's team has also progressed. No-cost or low-cost access to high quality tower-climbing equipment has also been facilitated. Inveneo has pledged to develop a take-away training manual that trainees can use for ongoing self-support and maintenance.

In March 2012, Inveneo was invited by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to survey and deploy wireless broadband Internet networks in Dadaab, northeast Kenya. Dadaab is home to the world's largest refugee camp, which is estimated to hold over 400,000 people who have fled conflict, famine and drought in nearby Somalia. NetHope, a consortium of large humanitarian agencies, worked alongside Inveneo to bring connectivity to NGOs operating in the camp. The engineers involved were trained on safe climbing and hauling techniques.

Stephanie Seale, senior manager, program development at Inveneo, said:

"Our work in Dadaab is great because even though it's not a permanent infrastructure installation, it alleviates the lack of ICTs and other communication services within the camp, providing connectivity both to relief workers and ultimately to camp residents."

Support from the Petzl Foundation has enabled Inveneo to bring local partner training programs into the vertical world. In 2013, Inveneo engineers climbed towers and delivered the jointly developed Inveneo / Petzl Tower Safety Workshop to tower climbers and engineers in 5 countries: Micronesia, Palau, Uganda, Kenya and the Philippines.

Inveneo tour internet © Inveneo Inveneo has experience supporting NGOs with emergency communications, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. It proved vital when Typhoon Haiyan devastated large areas of Leyte and Samar islands in the Philippines in November 2013, and Inveneo was asked to respond. Inveneo had an assessment team on the ground a week after the typhoon struck. Following the assessment, they provided relief workers with essential technical tools, including high quality headlamps and solar chargers provided by the Petzl Foundation and Goal Zero.

Inveneo also engaged with a local Internet Service Provider (ISP) called Innovate ICT. Prior to the typhoon, Innovate's network provided broadband services to schools and local NGOs across Leyte and Samar. Innovate's network was devastated by typhoon winds (which gusted as high as 370 kph). Innovate is rebuilding with tower construction teams working to get masts back up.

Inveneo ran the Innovate team through an intensive "wireless ISP bootcamp" that included the Inveneo / Petzl Tower Safety Workshop, and hands-on training in network deployment and network design with the goal of enabling Innovate to build back connectivity in the region more robustly, efficiently, and safely.

Engineer Jane checks elevation on a Ubiquiti Rocket-Dish on the Internet tower at Gulu University, Uganda.

Jayson Orebia, Inveneo partner and founder of the local wireless ISP called Innovate ICT, in Philippines, says:

Jayson Orebia, Innovate ICT © Overgaag "I would like to say thank you for all your efforts helping our people through ICT, here in Philippines. None of us will forget the training that Inveneo gave us to use safety gear in our future installations. My team cannot wait to get started!"

© Inveneo

Petzl Foundation involvement:
The Petzl Foundation has supported Inveneo since 2011 by:
  • working with Inveneo to develop a training program providing local technicians with the proper tools, techniques, and best practices for tower climbing safety.
  • donating Petzl Equipment for Tower Access Kits to be left with technicians following training and initial installation.

Inveneo: a non-profit social enterprise

Inveneo is a non-profit social enterprise which designs and delivers sustainable information and communication technology (ICT) tools to those who need it most in the developing world.

Inveneo team © Inveneo

Since 2006, Inveneo and their partners have delivered projects in more than 25 countries which have improved the lives of over 3 million people in some of the poorest and most challenging regions of the world.

60 projects are ongoing in 24 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East. Inveneo's network grows from year to year. Nearly 25 companies specializing in ICT are now Inveneo partners.

To get the tools of Information CommunicationsTechnology such as computers, telephony, and Internet access to those who need it most - people and organizations in rural and highly underserved communities of the developing world.

Our objective: To train trainers and develop training sessions in safety techniques and the use of personal protective equipment for local engineers and technicians. The medium-term goal is to empower those working in the vertical environment.

In January 13, 2011, Andris Bjorson, Technology center manager of Inveneo, said:

Andris Bjorson, Inveneo © Inveneo
"Sincere thanks for the training and support your staff provided us.
Our first training of telecom workers in Haiti will take place soon, and it's something that would have been difficult or impossible to make happen without your help. I am enthusiastic about our continued collaboration and its potential benefit for our international technology partners.
Your support is unprecedented in lnveneo's experience dealing with the private sector. We are so pleased that you have strived to use your expertise to make a positive impact on the world, and honored that we can be a channel for this support."

For more information:

© Inveneo

Updated in september 2014



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