Internet connectivity helps lift rural Quintana Roo community
NOH-BEC, Q.Roo — A small ejido with a forestry-based economy in Quintana Roo is making use of advanced technology to become more efficient and to reduce its environmental impact as a result of the initiative of a young accountant.
Javier Blanco always had a vision for helping his small town, Noh-Bec, to grow and prosper.
As a young boy he noticed that since the town didn’t have an accountant, one had to be brought in from elsewhere when needed. The only solution he could see was to become one himself.
Once that need was covered, the young man realized that the town needed internet connectivity, especially since all fiscal procedures must by law be filed online.
After looking for connectivity alternatives that were available for his community, Blanco’s efforts produced the Training Center of Noh-Bec, created with the help of Fundemex, the Entrepreneurial Foundation of Mexico.
The town also obtained the support of Microsoft, which provided the necessary funds to build and equip the center, including computer equipment and software and connectivity infrastructure such as towers and antennas. The company also trained residents in the basics of computer and internet use.
Once the facility was up and running, the logging industry found internet connectivity allowed it to be more productive and efficient. By mapping the forest with GPS data it could engage in better planning and environmental care.
The loggers now tag trees with GPS transceivers for the purpose of locating which and how many trees can be exploited for controlled logging, and to keep track of how many new trees have to be planted to keep the town’s main industry going.
Now that it can control its reforestation measures, it has committed to replant 40,000 new trees for every 800 mahogany trees that are felled. The saplings are not only mahogany, but include chicozapote (Manilkara zapota) and ciricote (Cordia dodecandra).
Just in the last year, the 2,500 inhabitants of Noh-Bec replanted 280,000 trees, which in some 30 years will be ready to be harvested.
The availability of internet has also opened new opportunities for its youths: the Technology Institute of the Maya Zone will offer three higher education career courses, forestry and agronomy engineering and business management, remotely, said Blanco.
“Students will come to the Training Center and attend their classes, and a professor from the institute will come once a week and lecture them,” he explained.
Blanco says the Noh-Bec model could be replicated elsewhere in the country, and in neighboring countries such as Belize and Guatemala.