When I visited Haiti in November, I saw one of the most effective weapons in the fight against poverty -- an intervention that may well be the key to Haiti's long-term recovery. It wasn't a doctor combating cholera, a new shelter for the homeless, or food being distributed to hungry families. It was a cell phone.
Cell phones are very popular in Haiti. Haitians -- like most people around the world -- use phones to keep in touch, find jobs, and maintain networks during times of emergency. Cell phones are substantially cheaper than in the U.S., and in a country where land lines are sparse, cell technology has allowed Haitians to leapfrog the lack of a wired network. It is estimated that 85 percent of Haitians have access to a cell phone.